This weekend, the No. 7 University of Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team (14-8-0, 12-6-0 Big Ten) traveled to Ann Arbor to face the No. 8 University of Michigan Wolverines (11-7-0, 9-7-0).
Saturday, the Badgers fell to Michigan 5-1 behind Michigan’s four second period goals and 29 saves from goalie Erik Portillo, keeping the high powered Wisconsin offense of Cole Caufield, Dylan Holloway and Linus Weissbach pointless.
Wisconsin took a quick 1-0 lead in the first period, keeping their momentum from their four-game winning streak and last weekend’s sweep of Minnesota alive, but they were unable to keep the offensive firepower going for the rest of the game. The Badgers are 11-4-0 when tallying the first score of games this season.
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Once the second period started, everything went downhill for the Badgers, who saw their 1-0 lead disappear within minutes. They trailed 2-1 early in the second period, followed by two more goals from Eric Ciccolini and Luke Morgan, taking the Badgers down 4-1 going into the third period.
After the disastrous period for the Badgers, Head Coach Tony Granato pulled goalie Robbie Beydoun and replaced him with freshman Cameron Rowe.
In the third period, the Badgers couldn’t muster any successful offensive attacks but played much better defense, limiting the Wolverines to only one goal, which scored off of a deflection, late in the period.
The pointless game for Caufield (12), Holloway (8) and Weissbach (8) snapped each of the players’ point streaks.
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Sunday, the Badgers looked to bounce back and break some hearts on Valentine’s Day. Historically, the Badgers have struggled on Feb. 14, with a record of (4-15-1) all-time, but this year they had a two-game winning streak heading into the game.
Stopping Michigan’s five-game winning streak and bouncing back after getting dominated the night before was no easy task, but the Badgers came to play on Sunday with hopes to get back to their winning ways.
Early in the first period, Holloway scored for the Badgers on a nice assist from Roman Ahcan, who skated the puck down the ice while Holloway managed to grab a new stick from the Badgers’ bench before giving the Badgers a 1-0 lead just moments later.
The Badgers held the lead for the rest of the first period and much of the second before conceding a late goal in the second period.
Close to the end of the second period, the Badgers’ highly-ranked power play unit took the ice and took advantage of their man advantage, scoring a second goal off a rebound from Portillo.
Less than a minute into the final period, the Badgers scored their third goal of the game off another rebounded puck, leading the Wolverines 3-1.
In a desperation attempt, Michigan pulled their goalie late in the third period and converted off the extra attacker, fighting their way back to within one goal of the lead.
After fighting off the Wolverines, the Badgers’ victory snapped a six-game losing streak to Michigan, behind Holloway’s eighth multi-point game of his last nine and Rowe’s 24 saves.
Next weekend, the Badgers play host to the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they look to pick up where they left off against the Wolverines and fight to be on top of the Big Ten.