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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Badgers bounce back in statement win against MSU

After losing game one, the Badgers men’s hockey team came right back to defeat MSU in an important win.

The No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team triumphed 4-1 over the No. 6 Michigan State University (MSU) Spartans at home Saturday in an important statement win.

Although the battle for the Big Ten regular season championship was decided Friday night, Saturday's victory still matters plenty, mostly for NCAA standings. Wisconsin also avoided a season sweep, going 1-3 against MSU in the regular season this year. 

Badgers bend, don’t break

Wisconsin took an early lead a minute and a half into the first period when Badgers forward Sawyer Scholl banked the puck off Spartans goaltender Trey Augustine’s pad into the net.

The Badgers doubled their lead during the power play less than two minutes later. A fight for a rebound in front of the net sparked pandemonium, but Badgers Carson Bantle found the loose puck and tucked it into an wide-open net.

“Our server was good again tonight. I hope that stays consistent,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Hastings said after the game. “When we do our job, [the fans] get into the game, and we're gonna need that as we move forward in the playoffs.”

The Badgers went down to three men on the penalty kill and the Spartans took advantage. Spartan Karsen Dorwart one-timed the puck to beat Badgers goaltender Kyle McClellan, who couldn’t get over in time to stop the shot.

The Spartans dominated offensive zone time in period two and outshot the Badgers 14-10. 

But Wisconsin took a page out of MSU’s playbook and found one golden opportunity to extend its lead to 3-1. Badger forward Jack Horbach sent a spectacular long pass across the slot, and Bantle wristed it past Augustine to tally his second goal of the night.

“That [was] an incredible play by Horby,” Bantle said after the game. “That was an unreal pass.”

Both teams played strong defense in the third period, and Scholl scored his second of the night sealing the deal on the empty net.

“I think tonight was the start of something pretty good,” McClellan said after the game. “We came out, had a really good game and we can carry that into practice on Monday and then throughout the week and be ready for Friday.”

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The Badgers will stay in Madison to face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. The series is best-of-three and will be on March 8 and 9 as well as March 10 if a tiebreaker is necessary.

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Ian Wilder

Ian Wilder is a Sports Editor and former senior staff writer for The Daily Cardinal. He’s formerly covered the men’s hockey beat, state politics and features. Follow him on Twitter at @IanWWilder.

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