The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (12-8-1, 5-2-0-0 Big Ten) continued their impressive play Thursday night, upsetting No. 8 Ohio State (12-5-6, 3-3-1-1) to mark their second straight victory over a Top 10 team.
After an exciting weekend in which the Badgers split games with top-ranked rival Minnesota, UW looked to continue its strong Big Ten play in Columbus taking on the eighth-ranked Buckeyes.
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Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead, a nice response after they found themselves trailing at the end of the first period in both games last weekend. The breakthrough came just 3:24 in on a short-handed goal by captain Luke Kunin, his 15th on the season.
The sophomore slotted home a beautiful centering pass from junior defenseman Jake Linhart to extend his point streak to seven games.
It didn’t take long for the Badgers to add to their lead, as Cameron Hughes took advantage of a turnover 5:22 later by finding sophomore Matthew Freytag in the middle, who put it past Christian Frey for his second tally of the season.
Wisconsin went into the second period on top 2-0, with freshman goalkeeper Jack Berry stopping a perfect seven of the seven shots he faced.
OSU pulled back within one goal 4:28 into the second period with a score from Matthew Weis. The game would remain a one-goal contest for the rest of the period and most of the third, before Ryan Wagner put the game out of reach with an empty-net goal in the last minute.
The Badgers defense and Jack Berry did well stifling the second-ranked OSU offense, who are averaging 4.09 goals per game this season. Berry finished the game with a .96 save percentage, stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced to improve his record to 6-4-1 on the year.
“Confident, relaxed, doesn’t get rattled,” Granato said about Berry. “It settles our team down. He was outstanding again, certainly the number-one star in the game today.”
The Badgers will have their hands full in the second game of the series on Saturday.
“I know they’re going to be better on Saturday,” Granato said. “I would expect us to be as well and it should be a more entertaining game even though I liked this game tonight.”