The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team mobbed goalkeeper Jack Berry after the freshman posted a shutout in his first career start to help propel the Badgers to a 2-0 victory over Northern Michigan University Saturday night.
After losing 5-2 Friday night, the Badgers (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten) rebounded, recording their first shutout of the season Saturday to split the series with the Wildcats (3-6-1, 1-4-1 WCHA) and claimed their fifth win of the season.
It all started with freshman goalie Berry, who saw just his second game action Friday night when he came in to relieve sophomore and former freshman standout Matt Jurusik. Berry stopped all six shots he faced that night and continued his stellar play Saturday night, stopping all 22 shots that came his way in his first career start as a Badger.
The Badgers seemed to rally around Berry, whose confident play energized the UW offense to a solid performance.
“Berry played great behind us,” captain and forward Luke Kunin said. “When a goalie is playing like that for you, it makes it easy up front.”
Kunin made it look easy himself as he swiftly found the net for the Badgers late in the second period on a power-play. The Badger captain broke the tie with a powerful one-time shot off of a pass from junior defenseman Jake Linhart, a lead Wisconsin wouldn’t relinquish.
UW battled in the third period before being rewarded with a late penalty, which would prove crucial in their win. The Badgers caught Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen in no man’s land as NMU attempted to pull Tolvanen for another attacker. They were subsequently penalized for having too many men on the ice.
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The Badgers capitalized almost immediately on the penalty, with Cameron Hughes slipping in a near-post goal from a difficult angle with a little over a minute remaining to seal the victory.
Wisconsin held on for the last minute to ensure the first victory and shutout of Berry’s career. The win should be a huge confidence booster for a Badger team that is currently posting one of the best starts to a Wisconsin season in years.
The Badgers will have next weekend off as they return to the Kohl Center Nov. 18 and 19 for a two-game series against Merrimack. Both games have face-off set for 7 p.m.