The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (13-16-5, 9-10-5-2 Big Ten) finished the regular season on a high note this weekend with consecutive overtime victories over the Michigan Wolverines (13-14-7, 9-10-5-2) by scores of 5–4 Friday and 4–3 Saturday.
Wisconsin defenseman Josh Ess gave the Badgers the lead early in Friday’s game, but the Wolverines answered just four minutes later to even the scoreboard.
The second period featured an outburst of scoring from both sides, as the Badgers led the Wolverines 4–3 heading into the third period following goals from Matthew Freytag, Sean Dhooghe and Roman Ahcan.
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Dhooghe tallied his team-leading 12th goal of the season and the game-winning goal with just over 26 seconds remaining in overtime to grant Wisconsin the victory.
Senior forward Seamus Malone earned his 100th career point as a Badger and shared the team’s message after Michigan took the lead.
“To keep our composure and keep the energy up … we had a few unlucky bounces, but came back and competed hard,” Malone said.
Saturday’s game proved similar. Once again, the Wolverines took the lead in the second period and forced the Badgers to pull out a come-from-behind win.
After a 2–1 Badgers lead going into the second with goals from Wyatt Kalynuk and Freytag, the tides quickly turned, as the Badgers found themselves down 3–2 after the second period.
With Daniel Lebedeff pulled for an extra attacker, Wisconsin defenseman Ty Emberson remarkably tied the game with just over a minute left in regulation.
In overtime, after a Jack Gorniak goal was disallowed, Linus Weissbach scored the game-winning goal just over two minutes into the period to give Wisconsin and their six seniors one final victory at the Kohl Center.
Head Coach Tony Granato described his feelings on the Badgers’ energy heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
“I think we’re tired and beat up and a little bit sore,” Granato said. “I think some guys probably overplayed and need a good rest going into the tournament.”
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With the weekend sweep, Wisconsin finishes the regular season in fifth place in the Big Ten with 34 points. The Badgers are now tied with Michigan in points, but the Badgers own the tiebreaker based on head-to-head regular season winning percentage, as they are now 2-0-2 against Michigan this season.
For the first round of the Big Ten Playoffs next weekend, the Badgers will head back to Happy Valley, Pennsylvania as the fifth seed to play fourth-seeded Penn State in a best-of-three series.
Puck drops are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday. All three games can be viewed on Big Ten Network Plus. Friday and Saturday’s games can be listened to on 1310WIBA and Sunday’s game can be listened to on 1070WTSO. The games can all be followed live on Twitter @BadgerMHockey.