The Wisconsin Badgers (10-16-0, 3-13-0 Big Ten) showed little fight in their road series against No. 20 Notre Dame (13-12-3, 8-8-2), dropping both games to the Fighting Irish in ugly fashion.
The first time these teams convened on Jan. 6, the Badgers displayed their defensive prowess in a hard-fought 2-0 win. Friday night bore a far different contest, with both sides combining for five goals in the first period en route to the Fighting Irish claiming a 5-3 victory.
Notre Dame struck first at 6:10 in the opening period. A minute after UW’s Tyson Jugnauth was assessed a slashing penalty, ND’s Chayse Primeau tapped the puck over goaltender Jared Moe from the Badger crease.
Just 51 seconds later, the Fighting Irish added a second tally to go up 2-0. Grant Silianoff corralled the rebound of teammate Jake Boltman’s shot and dished the puck to Hunter Strand, who buried it home from the low slot.
With the contest teetering toward an early blowout, Jack Horbach gave the Badgers life at 9:51 in the first period. The freshman received a feed from Daniel Laatsch behind the goal line and skated it to the short side of the crease, where he snuck one through the three-inch seam between the goaltender’s pads and the post.
Laatsch evened the score at two less than three minutes later. With a sea of cardinal red congregating in front of the net, the sophomore uncorked a wrister that deflected off the shinpad of Charlie Stramel and past goaltender Ryan Bischel.
It didn’t take long for Notre Dame to reclaim the lead. Once again capitalizing on a one-man advantage stemming from Stramel’s roughing penalty, the Fighting Irish unleashed a barrage of shots from point-blank range. Despite three consecutive saves made by Moe and Luke LaMaster, Jesse Lansdell eventually found the back of the net at 17:32 to put Notre Dame back on top, 3-2.
Additional goals by Jack Adams and Justin Janicke at 18:16 in the second and 2:19 in the third period, respectively, dwindled the Badgers’ already slim chances at a comeback. Not to go down without a fight, however, Wisconsin scored one more power-play goal to make the score less ugly.
Corson Ceulemans threaded the puck through a crowded box to the stick of Mathieu De St. Phalle, who capped off the masterful feed with a one-timer from the far-side faceoff circle for the final goal of the 5-3 contest.
As was the case the night before, Saturday’s contest featured a plethora of power-play scores — though few in favor of the Badgers.
Landon Slaggert scored the first of four power-play goals on the night at 12:10 in the opening frame. The forward camped out beside the net and tapped in teammate Nick Leivermann’s shot to give the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead.
The Badgers continued to find themselves in penalty trouble as the game progressed. With Wisconsin once again down a man with 7:46 left in the second period, ND’s Strand emerged victorious from a net-front scrum for the puck and backhanded it home.
Notre Dame continued their complete and utter dominance on the power play at 4:36 in the closing frame with yet another PPG. Just six seconds into a Carson Bantle elbowing penalty, Chase Blackmun fired a wrister past Moe to give the Fighting Irish a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin finally got on the board with a PPG of their own at 14:46 in the third. Moments after Bantle’s turnaround shot was blocked, Brock Caufield scooped up the loose puck and wristed it over Bischel’s shoulder to bring the Badgers within two, 3-1.
Caufield’s goal was the last of the Badgers’ late-game heroics, as a five-minute penalty — the second major and ninth penalty assessed to Wisconsin Saturday night — squandered any chance of a comeback.
The Badgers will look to turn in a far better performance when they travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines. Puck drop is slated for 6 p.m. on both Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4.