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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s Hockey: Badgers sweep Penn State, set up series for Big Ten next weekend

Continued dominance on ice sets stage for Big Ten Championship clash
Bennett Waara

Similar to last week, the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team’s task was simple. Win, and give yourselves a chance to win the Big Ten title at home next weekend. Unlike last week, they got it done this time.

The Badgers (24-8-2, 15-6-1 Big Ten) swept Penn State (13-16-3, 5-14-3 Big Ten) on the road in University Park last weekend, earning five of the possible six points in the Big Ten standings. Aided by a Friday night loss by Michigan State to those same Buckeyes that troubled Wisconsin last week, UW sits just two points behind the league-leading Spartans. It has set up what will be the biggest series at the Kohl Center perhaps since the inception of the Big Ten (the 2021 Big Ten champion Badgers played their home games at neighboring LaBahn Arena in front of no fans).

“You want to have that opportunity [to win the Big Ten],” UW head coach Mike Hastings said, following game one’s 3-2 overtime victory. “Going through the weekend, we give ourselves that chance.”


Here’s how the weekend in Happy Valley went.

Game 1: Wisconsin 6, Penn State 0

How the Badgers would respond after getting swept by Ohio State was the talk of the locker room last week.

“It was time for a little adversity to hit us, I think personally,” UW forward Mathieu De St. Phalle said this week. “I think we’re gonna respond really well to that.”

Boy did they ever. 

Game one was all UW, dominant from the opening puck drop in a 6-0 victory, their most lopsided win of the season. The Badgers struck twice in each period, with two goals each from their reunited top-line wingers De St. Phalle and Cruz Lucius, snapping twin five-game goal droughts for both.

In the penalty-filled bout (16 combined penalties), the Badger power play made its mark, scoring twice in six opportunities.

William Whitelaw and Carson Bantle scored Wisconsin’s other two goals to make the 6-0 final score. David Silye also pitched in three assists.

UW goalie Kyle McClellan made 27 saves, recording his NCAA-leading seventh shutout of the season. The next closest goalie has four.

Game 2: Wisconsin 3 (ovetime), Penn State 2

Penn State tightened up defensively in the second game, peppering the Badger goal with shots and making the game much more competitive. In fact, it was Penn State who struck first. Dylan Lugris put the Nittany Lions up 1-0 with 2:54 left in the first period.

In the twilight of the second period, the Badgers eventually tied it up, thanks to Silye, off of a beautiful feed from defenseman Daniel Laatsch. UW’s Carson Bantle then took a five-minute contact-to-the-head major penalty that UW would need to kill off.

They did, and then took the lead later in the third period on a power play of their own. Christian Fitzgerald gave UW the 2-1 advantage on a wicked snipe from the right circle, with an airborne Charlie Stramel setting a screen out front.

Penn State did not go quietly though, and evened things up at two with 7:33 left. That’s how regulation would end and the game would head to overtime.

In overtime, Ben Dexheimer found some space in a zone entry and slid one through the five-hole of Penn State goalie Liam Souliere to give the Badgers a 3-2 win.

McClellan made 38 saves of the 40 shots on goal he faced to finish off his second win of the series.

Quick Hitter

The Badgers played this weekend’s series without forwards Jack Horbach, Owen Lindmark and Sam Stange.

Horbach, injured last week after a heavy hit by Ohio State’s Scooter Brickey, practiced in the week leading up to the series but did not play. Lindmark and Stange were both given no shot to play last weekend. According to BadgerExtra’s Todd Milewski, Lindmark is targeting the playoffs for his return, meaning he is likely a no-go this upcoming weekend against Michigan State as well.

Anthony Kehrer did return for Wisconsin after a week’s absence, recording an assist and a +2 rating for the weekend.

Stars of the Weekend

3 – Cruz Lucius, Wisconsin. It was a four-point weekend for Lucius, which included two goals in the opening game.

2 – Ben Dexheimer, Wisconsin. His overtime game-winner in game two finished off a three-point weekend, and gave the Badgers a critical game two win and sweep.

1 – Kyle McClellan, Wisconsin. Stopped 65 of 67 shots in a weekend that included his seventh shutout.

Up Next

It’s a big one. No. 6 Michigan State (21-8-3, 15-5-2 Big Ten) comes to town with the Big Ten title on the line. The teams are separated by just two points in the standings with the Spartans having 49 points and UW 47. A reminder that a team gets three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime or shootout win (if in a shootout, game is recorded as a tie), one for an overtime or shootout loss and zero for a regulation loss. Here are the clinching scenarios for this upcoming weekend.

  • UW gets 5 or 6 PTS: Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, gets number one seed in the Big Ten tournament and first-round bye.
  • UW gets 4 PTS: Teams share regular season title, Michigan State gets number one seed in the tournament by virtue of head-to-head record vs UW. Wisconsin would play Ohio State in the first round next weekend.
  • UW gets 3 or less PTS: Michigan State wins the Big Ten, gets the number one seed in the Big Ten Tournament and first-round bye. Wisconsin would play Ohio State in the first round next weekend.

Both games in this classic Friday/Saturday series will drop the puck at 8 p.m. and both will be streaming exclusively on Big Ten Plus (subscription required).

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