The No. 15 University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (5-5-0, 0-2-0 Big Ten) split their weekend series for the second time in three weekends against the No. 19 University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (5-2-1, 0-0-0 NCHC) on the road at Baxter Arena.
Wisconsin started the weekend on a strong note with a win Friday following a disappointing weekend against No. 8 Penn State.
Wisconsin took the lead in the first period of Friday’s contest and never looked back, as they defeated the Mavericks 5–2. Junior Ty Pelton-Byce scored late in the period to make it 1–0, but Omaha tied the game at one apiece on a power-play goal in the second period.
Freshman Alex Turcotte delivered a goal in four-on-four play to take the lead back for the Badgers, not long before sophomore Roman Ahcan added a goal to double the Badgers’ lead. Omaha was able to cut the lead to one late in the third period, but Ahcan and junior Sean Dhooghe sealed the deal for Wisconsin with a pair of empty-net goals.
Once again, Wisconsin struggled on the power play, failing to create scoring chances and capitalize on each of their six opportunities.
While their power play was lacking, their penalty kill was thriving. The Badgers killed six of seven Maverick power plays, one of which was a five-minute power play late in the second period.
Wisconsin was outshot 29–21 by Omaha, but the Maverick offense could not solve sophomore goaltender Daniel Lebedeff.
Wisconsin also dominated the faceoff category, as they won nine more faceoffs than the Mavericks overall and won in the faceoff category in all three periods of the game. 11 Badgers came away with points and one of these players, freshman Mike Vorlicky, contributed his first point in the Cardinal and White with an assist to Ahcan in the second period.
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Wisconsin left Baxter Arena Friday night with all of the momentum in the series, but Omaha came out hungry and firing Saturday. The dynamic of the game flipped, and this time, Wisconsin was defeated 5–2.
Omaha took the lead about halfway through the first period, but Turcotte tied the game less than 30 seconds later. The Mavericks proceeded to score two more times in the first half of the second period.
Turcotte found the back of the net for his second of the night on a power-play goal to cut the lead to one, but this wasn’t enough, as the Mavericks iced the game with two goals in the first six minutes of the third period.
Wisconsin connected on one of their five power-play opportunities but killed off both Maverick power plays. This power-play tally served as the Badgers’ lone goal in 11 attempts during the weekend.
The Badgers allowed five different Mavericks to find the goal on 42 shots. After saving 27 of 32 shots, Lebedeff was relieved early in the third period by senior Jack Berry, who stopped all 10 shots he faced.
The Badgers have had an extremely difficult schedule thus far, but their lack of consistency has shown to be detrimental to their ability to develop as a team.
Wisconsin will look to improve on this issue in their return to the Kohl Center, as their schedule does not get much easier. The Badgers will play their second Big Ten opponent of the season against the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-0-1, 3-0-1) Friday and Saturday.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game can be viewed on Fox Sports Wisconsin and Saturday’s game can be streamed on BTN+. Both games can be followed live on Twitter @BadgerMHockey.