The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (13-18-1, 6-15-1-1 Big Ten) took on the Arizona State University Sun Devils (22-11-3) in the season’s final home series at the Kohl Center. Riding a seven-game win streak, the Sun Devils entered the Kohl Center on Friday night expecting to do nothing less than continue their winning ways.
In their second straight season with 20 or more wins, the Sun Devils weren’t able to secure a win in either game, delaying their run at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. In front of a sold-out Kohl Center crowd, the Badgers knocked down the Sun Devils and improved their own postseason potential in the Big Ten Conference playoffs.
Men’s Hockey: Experience gained this season cannot be overlookedGoing into the 2019-2020 season, the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (10-17-1, 5-14-1-1 Big Ten) faced high expectations from Read…
In a back and forth high scoring game, it took until the last minute of the game for the Badgers to sneak past the Sun Devils with a final score of 7-6. With two goals from freshman Alex Turcotte and a hat trick from sophomore forward Roman Ahcan, the young Badgers’ core looked like their preseason hype made them out to be as they lead the push in game one.
Ahcan’s hat trick was the first of his career and this was his third multi-goal game. He paired well with Turcotte’s first goal in 16 games. After missing several games with a leg injury, Turcotte appeared to shake off the pain against the Sun Devils this weekend.
Two of the three stars of the game were given to the Badgers’ Turcotte and Ahcan for their tremendous effort. The third star was given to Sun Devil forward Johnny Walker who scored twice, reaching 20 goals on the year.
In the final home game of the season for the Badgers — senior night — the team aimed to finish the series strong and send the seniors off as winners at home. Senior Max Zimmer scored twice in a 6–2 rout of the Sun Devils, completing a stunning upset over their ranked opponents.
Daniel Lebedeff saved 28 shots in goal after letting up six goals the night before, stifling the Sun Devil’s offensive firepower. He allowed just one goal in the first two periods of play, entering the third period with a 5–1 advantage. Allowing just two goals overall, Lebedeff allowed fewer than three goals for the first time in 10 games, a major step in the right direction for the goalkeeper, who had a 4.82 goals-against average heading into Saturday night’s bout.
Scoring both of his goals in the power play, Zimmer helped the Badgers take full advantage of the mounting frustration from the Sun Devils, who spent over 19 minutes in the penalty box and tallied three ejections for major penalties.
Having lost six of their last seven games, this series sweep came at the perfect time, helping the Badgers to right some of their earlier season wrongs and build some momentum as they head to Columbus to face off against the Ohio State University Buckeyes. This series serves as their final chance to make a statement before the end of the regular season.
Both of these games will be covered on Big Ten Network and radio 1310 WIBA, with Friday’s matchup against the Buckeyes starting at 5 p.m. and Saturday’s tilt starting at 7 p.m.