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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Wisconsin Ohio Men's Hockey 3/10 12

Badgers season ends in heartbreak tournament defeat to Quinnipiac

After a season of peaks and valleys, the Badgers season came to a close Friday as they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team season ended after a 3-2 heartbreak overtime loss to the Quinnipiac Bobcats. 

Wisconsin played their first NCAA tournament regional semifinal game since 2021, drawing a tough opponent in the defending national champion Quinnipiac Bobcats. They traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, much closer to the Bobcats’ home turf in Connecticut. 

The Badgers came within mere inches of a continued postseason run.

William Whitelaw’s breakaway in overtime finished with the puck in the crease, inches away from crossing goal line after a desperate stick save from Quinnipac’s Vinny Duplessis. A Bobcat stick knocked the trickling puck out of the crease and danger. That marked the Badgers’ last promising chance of the season.

Ten minutes later, on a Badger change, Quinnipiac’s Victor Czerneckianair found the overtime winner, sealing the Badgers’ season with a 3-2 defeat in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

The Badgers gave it their all leading up in regulation, but Quinnipiac did just enough to take the game to overtime.

Christophe Fillion put Quinnipiac on the board early as the Bobcats took a 1-0 lead just 2:12 into the first period. The Badgers rallied in the second period, and Quinn Finley showed off his skills to score an unassisted goal on Duplessis. Joe Palodichuk came up clutch soon after, giving the Badgers a fragile 2-1 lead.

The lead ended up being far too fragile as the Bobcats scored to tie it up with 1:32 to play in the second period.

Despite considerable efforts, neither team found the net in the third period, and the game went into 5-on-5 overtime, where Quinnipiac found the goal to advance to the next round against Boston College. 

Season of ups and downs end in Providence

The Badgers worked hard in the regular season to get themselves into a good position in the NCAA tournament and postseason as a whole.

They had about two weeks off to prepare for the tournament game after dropping out of the first round of the Big Ten tournament with a loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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The first-round exit in the NCAA tournament marks a simultaneously disappointing yet positive finish to the Badgers postseason. Few people expected the Badgers to make the postseason under first-year head coach Mike Hastings. Yet, Hastings beat out all expectations and proved he has what it takes to turn this program around.

The regular season featured many highlights and runs as the Badgers broke decades-old team records and had a nine-game win streak at one point. At one point, they even ranked No. 1 nationwide. Some mixed performances in 2024 meant the Badgers just missed out on the Big Ten regular season championship and then failed to make anything of the postseason.  

Despite that, the season is a net positive for the team. They finished 26-12-2, a fast turnaround from a 13-23-0 season the year prior under former head coach Tony Granato. 

The Badgers have a lot to look forward to next season as Hastings gets his first chance to bring in recruits of his own.

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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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