The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (8-15-3, 5-10-1-1 Big Ten) has been very streaky in Big Ten play coming off of their victory at the Kwik Trip Holiday Faceoff at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

This trend continued against the Penn State Nittany Lions (14-12, 5-11) last weekend. The Badgers dropped a pair of games at Pegula Ice Arena in State College. 

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The Badgers were outscored 11-3 by the Nittany Lions throughout the two games — a vast difference from the December 10-11 series in which Wisconsin outscored Penn State 8-6. Prior to this series, the team had lost and tied against the Ohio State Buckeyes and then swept the Michigan State Spartans at home. 

In the first game of the series, the Badgers fell behind 2-0 just 15 minutes into the game — a deficit they would not be able to recover from. To make matters worse, Penn State added two more goals in the second period, making it 4-0 in favor of the hosts. Forwards Ryan Kirwan and Connor McMenamin each had two goals for the Nittany Lions.

Wisconsin starting goaltender Jared Moe was pulled from the game after allowing the first three goals. Cameron Rowe allowed just one goal in his relief appearance. The Badgers avoided being shutout in the third period when Corson Ceulemans scored to make it 4-1 for the final tally. 

The Badgers were able to keep the Nittany Lions off of the score sheet during the opening 20 minutes Saturday, skating to a 0-0 tie in the first period. The second period brought a much different dynamic as Penn State piled on three goals in the period, including two from Kirwan, who continued his hot hand.

Entering the final period, Wisconsin had their work cut out for them and responded quickly, netting two goals in the first three minutes to cut the deficit. Carson Bantle scored both goals for the Badgers, making it 3-2.

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Penn State closed out the game strong, scoring four unanswered goals with two on the powerplay, putting away the game for good with a final score of 7-2. Starter Moe was pulled from his net once again after giving up five goals. Rowe gave up two goals in his 14 minutes of play.

Looking to bounce back from setbacks at the hands of the Nittany Lions, Wisconsin will host the Michigan Wolverines at the Kohl Center Jan. 28 and 29.