The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (10-15-5, 6-9-5 Big Ten) had a respectable trip to South Bend, Indiana this weekend — defeating the No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (16-11-3, 9-9-2) by a score of 2–1 Friday before losing by a score of 5–2 Saturday.
Wisconsin forward Linus Weissbach put the Badgers on the board less than six minutes into Friday’s game with a power-play goal. The Fighting Irish answered late in the period to tie the game at one apiece.
The game was scoreless throughout most of the second period before Roman Ahcan regained the lead for the Badgers with just under three minutes to play. This would serve as the game-winning goal, as Wisconsin held Notre Dame scoreless in the third period to preserve the victory.
The highlight of Friday’s game came from the spectacular performance between the pipes from Wisconsin goalie Daniel Lebedeff, who saved 30 of 31 shots.
The Badgers’ special teams played a large factor in the game, as they went one-for-three on power plays and went two-for-two on penalty kills — both were improvements considering the team’s recent struggles in the special teams department.
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Wisconsin captain Peter Tischke credited the Badgers’ effort after the win.
“Everything was clicking tonight,” Tischke said. “It started with our goaltending. Daniel played unbelievably, and then from the D corps on, we played really well. The forwards did a great job of getting open for us. Our special teams did great.”
In Saturday’s affair, Wisconsin came out of the gate strong once again, with Matthew Freytag scoring just two minutes into the game. Despite the Badgers outshooting the Fighting Irish 34-31, Notre Dame went on to score five goals to win the game by a score of 5–2.
Lebedeff was pulled following 40 minutes of play after allowing four goals on just 18 shots and was replaced by Jack Berry, who finished with eight saves on nine shots.
Sean Dhooghe scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season late in the third period, his first in 11 games.
The story of the game was opposite that of the first game, as the Badgers failed to connect on three power plays and allowed the Fighting Irish to capitalize on three of their five chances with the man advantage.
Head Coach Tony Granato gave his takeaways on Saturday’s game.
“Tonight, they were great on the power play, and we weren’t as good as we were last night on those special teams,” Granato said. “That’s really the difference in the game. We had lots of chances on five-on-five. We knew they would come out and play better, and they did. We had our opportunities to stay in the game.”
Wisconsin now sits in seventh place in the Big Ten with 25 points. With four games remaining before the Big Ten Playoffs, Penn State, who currently sits in fifth place in the Big Ten standings, awaits the Badgers in Happy Valley.
Puck drops are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. Friday’s game is available on Big Ten Network and can be listened to on 1310 WIBA and Saturday’s game can be listened to on 1070 WTSO.