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Friday, February 23, 2024
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Wisconsin continues breaking records with sweep of Notre Dame

The Badgers won both games against the Fighting Irish to secure the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten and extend their winning streak to nine.

The No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team swept the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the road Friday and Saturday to extend their win streak to nine.

The Badgers came into the series after a strong performance to win the Kwik Trip Holiday Faceoff in Milwaukee. They gathered a lot of momentum for this series, posting two straight shutouts against Air Force and Northeastern.

The Badgers haven’t won nine straight games since the 1989-90 season, and they have continued to break decades-old records all season. The two wins against Notre Dame were enough to move them six points ahead of Michigan State at the top of the Big Ten.

The Badgers fought hard to barely squeeze past the Fighting Irish 2-1 in game one. Highlights included goaltending, with another great performance from Badger starting goaltender Kyle McClellan and quality defensive performances on both sides of the puck. Not much separated the teams until Wisconsin’s Owen Lindmark opened scoring 12 minutes into the second period.

Notre Dame’s Hunter Strand responded shorthanded with a rebound off McClellan’s pad into the back of the net. The Badgers responded to their special team blunder with a power play goal in the third period to seal away the game. 

The Badgers put a season-high seven goals past Notre Dame in game two but also allowed four goals — tied for the most they’ve allowed all season. In good news, they still lead the NCAA in goals allowed per game at 1.64. 

The Badgers secured a 5-1 lead over the Fighting Irish three minutes into the third period, but they allowed Notre Dame to score three straight to get back within one. 

McClellan stepped out of the game at that point with a minor injury to his glove hand. Training staff were seen tending to the injury earlier in the game, though its severity and impact are unclear. William Gramme took over to keep Notre Dame out of the net on all 23 shots he saw.

The best news out of this series for the Badgers is they demonstrated the ability to face a  high-powered offense and a staunch defense. They adapted their playstyle to what Notre Dame was giving them. And apart from a slip in the second period of game two, Wisconsin’s goaltending and defense continue to be team highlights.

Wisconsin’s next series is at home on Jan. 12 and 13 where they’ll face the Lindenwood Lions. The Badgers won’t play a Big Ten opponent again until they face Michigan on Jan. 26 and 27 at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor. 

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Ian Wilder

Ian Wilder is a senior staff writer and current men’s hockey beat reporter for The Daily Cardinal. He’s a former state politics and features reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @IanWWilder.


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