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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Wisconsin men’s hockey loses to Ohio State 0-2 on January 21, 2023 in the LaBahn Area at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Badgers drop weekend series against Michigan, struggle to defend once again

Entering with a three-game losing streak, the Badgers were no match for the conference rival No. 6 Wolverines, dropping both games and surrendering 13 total goals.

In a season rife with losses and ineptitude on the ice, the Wisconsin Badgers (10-18-0, 3-15-0 Big Ten) added two more forgettable performances to their resume following this weekend’s series against the No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (18-9-1, 10-8-0).

The Badgers were severely outmatched by the Wolverines in their first go-around since splitting a series at the Kohl Center in early December, falling 6-2 Friday.

Michigan struck first at 5:01 in the opening frame. Jay Keranen slid a no-look pass to teammate Eric Ciccolini, who received the puck at the brim of the crease. Though Ciccolini’s shot was deflected by Wisconsin goaltender Jared Moe, the rebound was collected by Nick Granowicz and promptly fired in goal.    

Tyson Jugnauth evened the score at 1-1 a little over five minutes later. With the Badgers on the powerplay, Cruz Lucius sent a cross-zone feed to Jugnauth. The freshman did the rest, evading one Michigan blueliner before burying a wrister from the far side.

It didn’t take long for the Wolverines to reclaim the lead. Gavin Brindley rushed down the ice on a breakaway and attempted to lift the puck over Moe. Despite the goalie’s initial save, Adam Fantilli was right there to scoop up the rebound and add another score, 2-1.

Brindley successfully found the back of the net at 1:42 in the middle frame, hammering home yet another rebound off a save by Moe. The freshman forward wasn’t done yet, scoring his second goal of the night — a PPG at 5:38 in the period — to give Michigan a three-goal cushion, 4-1.

The Wolverines added a second PPG near the halfway point of the second period, thanks to a 5-on-3 man advantage that arose from penalties assessed to Jack Horbach and Lucius. Less than five minutes into the closing frame, Michigan scored again for their sixth goal of the night.

Wisconsin mustered one final whimper at 12:43 in the third period to pull within four. Liam Malmquist kickstarted the scoring effort by forcing a turnover in the neutral zone. Dominick Mersch corralled the loose puck and shot it off the far post, where it deflected to the stick of Malmquist for an easy tap-in goal.

Saturday’s contest was all but over before the closing horn of the first period sounded, as the Badgers surrendered five goals in the opening frame en route to losing 7-4.

Michigan wasted little time establishing a comfortable lead, netting three goals before the halfway point of the period. Dylan Duke began the scoring barrage at 1:37 with a tap-in goal at the back-door. Ciccolini followed close behind, burying two more goals — the latter being a PPG — at 3:27 and 9:06.  

Jugnauth recorded the Badgers’ first goal for the second consecutive night at 9:45 in the first. Mathieu De St. Phalle fended off several defenders behind the net and dished the puck to Lucius in the slot. Though the freshman whiffed on his shot attempt, Jugnauth retrieved the misfire and chipped the puck over goaltender Erik Portillo to pull Wisconsin within two, 3-1.  

Ensuing goals by Michigan’s Brindley and Fantilli at 12:47 and 13:50, respectively, put an end to Moe’s disastrous night. The goaltender surrendered five goals on 12 shots and was pulled by Badgers coach Tony Granato in favor of Kyle McClellan.

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Jugnauth recorded his second goal of the night at 15:56 in the first. De St. Phalle fired a cross-zone pass to Jugnauth, who skated the puck up all alone on the left side. The defenseman lined up his shot from the faceoff circle and buried it into the top-left corner for the goal, 5-2.

Following an opening frame in which Michigan fired off 20 shots and scored five goals, the Wolverines added two more unanswered scores in the second period. Ethan Edwards and Nick Granowicz were credited with the tallies.

UW’s Zach Urdahl scored at 7:16 in the closing frame to make the scoreboard more visually appealing. Jugnauth wristed a half-hearted shot onto net that Urdahl collected and fired through a sea of defenders to bring the score to 7-3.   

The final goal of the night came off the stick of Brock Caufield at 12:36. Moments after winning a faceoff battle, the graduate forward retrieved a shot deflection and hammered it home for a PPG.

The Badgers, losers of their last five, will hope to find some semblance of success when they return home to the Kohl Center to take on the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.

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