The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (9-20-3, 6-15-1-1 Big Ten) has ended their conference-season-long six game losing streak — winning a match for the first time since Jan. 15 against the Michigan State Spartans.
The end of the cold stretch was courtesy of a win over Notre Dame on Saturday night, part of a 1-1 home-stand against the Fighting Irish (21-9, 13-6). The two games against Notre Dame marked the last two home games of the season, with the Badgers honoring nine players for senior night.
Mathieu De St. Phalle opened the scoring for the Badgers in the first game of the final home series of the season. De St. Phalle has found his scoring touch down the stretch for the Badgers, leading the team in goals with 10. The goal stood as the only marker in the game until Notre Dame tied it up at one with two minutes left in the first period. Wisconsin was able to respond immediately, scoring two goals of their own in the final minutes of the period, going up 3-1 into the intermission.
The Badgers were able to extend their lead to 4-1 when senior Josh Ess found the back of the net midway through the second period. The Fighting Irish began a comeback attempt late in the third period, scoring two goals in the final two minutes of the game to make it 4-3. Wisconsin iced the game with an empty net goal with 26 seconds remaining, winning 5-3.
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The second game of the series marked the final game at the Kohl Center for the Badgers. But the team was not able to carry over their momentum from the night prior, giving up a goal two minutes into the game. Jesse Lansdell provided the goal for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish continued their offensive attack into the second period when Hunter Strand doubled the lead, making it 2-0 six minutes in. Wisconsin was able to bounce back and cut into the lead courtesy of De St. Phalle’s second goal of the weekend, making it 2-1 at the end of two periods.
The two teams traded goals in the third period. Trevor Janicke scored for Notre Dame before Zach Urdahl responded for the Badgers, bringing them within a goal. The Fighting Irish were able to hold off Wisconsin for the rest of regulation, closing out a 3-2 win in Madison.
The series split leaves the Badgers at fifth in the conference, one point clear of Penn State and three points ahead of Michigan State. Wisconsin will close out the regular season in Minneapolis Feb. 25 and 26 against the Golden Gophers, looking to hold their spot in the standings going into the Big Ten Tournament.