The No. 7 University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (4-2-0) responded well Saturday after laying a goose egg on Friday against No. 11 Clarkson University (3-2-1). In the latest national rankings, the Badgers fell one spot while Clarkson rose by two.
The Badgers were held scoreless Friday night, as the Golden Knights defeated them, 4–0. The loss marks the first time the Badgers have been shut out at home since Jan. 2018 when they lost 2–0 to Michigan State.
Wisconsin’s offense had many opportunities throughout the game, but Clarkson goalie Frank Marotte stopped all 38 Badger shots to secure the win for the Golden Knights. Despite 14 of these shots coming from seven power plays, the Badgers failed to capitalize with a man advantage for the first time this season.
Sophomore goalie Daniel Lebedeff made 20 saves for Wisconsin, but Clarkson’s attack proved to be too strong and consistent for the Badgers to shut down, in which they scored in each period of the game.
Wisconsin Head Coach Tony Granato discussed the team’s difficulties on Friday.
“They frustrated us. Their penalty killers and our lack of execution on our power play kind of fed into their momentum,” Granato told Regional Radio Sports Network.
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While no Badgers found the scoresheet, they peppered Marotte and killed both Clarkson power plays. These positive elements translated to a solid performance on Saturday, in which the Badgers got back on track by defeating Clarkson by a score of 4–3.
Both squads had trouble finding the back of the net early, but forward Roman Ahcan opened up the scoring for the Badgers in the second period. Wisconsin jumped to a 3–0 lead less than halfway through the period, as defenseman K’Andre Miller potted a goal and forward Cole Caufield scored his nation-leading seventh goal this season.
The Badgers’ lead and momentum were short-lived, as the Golden Knights battled back and went on to score three straight goals. Clarkson scored just 11 seconds after Miller in the second period and another midway through the third period.
With less than two minutes left to play, Clarkson pulled Marotte for an extra attacker, and Devin Brosseau cashed in with a goal to tie the game at three apiece.
However, freshman Owen Lindmark was able to put an Ahcan rebound past Marotte with just 6.1 seconds left to play in regulation for the game-winner and his second goal of the season.
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Ahcan led the Badgers with a career-high four points, scoring a goal and assisting on each of the other three Wisconsin goals. Caufield and Lindmark each had two points, and Miller, Wyatt Kalynuk and Tarek Baker each had a point as well.
Despite having 41 shots on Marotte and three power plays, the Badgers failed to capitalize with a man advantage for the second straight game.
On the bright side, the Badgers killed all three Golden Knight power plays, and Lebedeff had 31 saves to match his season-high and earn the win.
Lindmark commended the Badgers for their effort and their ability to make adjustments throughout the game.
“The desire to not give up by our team, I think was the biggest thing. It was also shown last Saturday against Duluth. Our willingness to bend but not break. That’s going to be really key for us going forward just to keep sticking with that mindset to win games.”
The Badgers will travel east to Happy Valley to begin Big Ten play against No. 12 Penn State University (4-1-0) Thursday and Friday. Wisconsin will seek to get revenge, as the Nittany Lions eliminated the Cardinal and White in the first round of the Big Ten Playoffs last season.
Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday. The games can be viewed on the Big Ten Network and listened to live on WIBA. Both games can be followed live on Twitter @BadgerMHockey.