Wisconsin looked tired and outmatched on their home ice Saturday night as they got swept by Penn State by a score of 4-2. The Badgers lost the lead and could not get it back in a overall frustrating outing for the Badgers.
“I won’t lie to you, it’s frustrating” said Wisconsin Head Coach Mike Eaves on the loss,
“(The team) is frustrated and disappointed. It’s hard to put so much effort into something and not get the result you wanted”.
The first period started with the Badgers on their heels.
Penn State looked dominant in the early minutes and the stats showed it. Halfway through the period the Nittany Lions held a 6 to 1 shot advantage over the Badgers.
The Badgers handled the immediate wave of attack well, climbing back into the game and finishing the period only being outshot 12-9.
13:48 into the period the Badgers had their first chance at the Power play. Sophomore Grant Besse had the best chance for the Badgers of breaking the 0-0 tie as he toe dragged past two Penn State defenders and had a open look from the slot.
Penn State’s goal tender, Matthew Skoff, came up with the save off of the Plymouth, Minnesota native’s wrist shot and the power play ended with no blood drawn.
Skoff ended the night with 23 saves.
With time winding down in the first, Joe Rumpel made a pair of great saves. He ended the game with 29 saves. One sprawling on his stomach and the other coming out to cut down an angle on a breakaway to keep the game tied headed into the second period.
While the first twenty minutes didn’t yield any goals, it did give way to more than a few extracurricular activities after the whistle.
Big Ten hockey is always going to be hard hitting, but it was clear that after yesterday’s loss, their was some bad blood between the two teams and neither squad was planning on backing down to any pushing and shoving.
The second period started on a positive note for the Badgers
The Badgers jumped onto the scoreboard thanks to Junior defensemen, Kevin Schultze, netting his first goal of the year 2:32 into the second period. Corbin McGuire and Matt Utaski each got credited for the helpers.
The lead was short lived.
Penn State answered just about 2 minutes later thanks to freshman forward James Robinson who got behind the Badgers defense and slid home the equalizer.
Penn state was put on the power play shortly after their first goal after Ryan Wagner for Wisconsin was called for a two minute minor for .
Penn State converted after a shot from the point was bouncing around the crease and just trickled into the net past the out stretched glove of Rumpel. The goal was reviewed but it was upheld and given to Penn State’s Max Gardiner after it was all said and done.
The Badgers had a great chance to net the equalizer as they went on the power play after a two-minute minor call for tripping was called on Penn State.
Some great tic-tac-toe passing by the Badgers had Skoff out of position but could not quite get the puck to find the back of the net.
It only got worse for the Badgers.
While on the power play defenseman, Kevin Schultze’s stick broke trying to make the breakout pass leading to a three on two short handed chance for Penn State. Chris Loik, a junior with a snipe of a lefty shot, skated in from the left of Rumpel and ripped a wrist shot to the blocker side past Joel and in to put Penn State up 3-1.
The Nittany Lions would ride that two-goal lead into the final period of play.
A dejected and lack luster Badger team took the ice in the third period and Penn State took advantage of it. A wrap around chance for Scott Conaway gave way to a juicy rebound in front of a wide open net and Sophomore Ricky DeRosa cleaned up the mess 7:53 into the third and took a commanding 4-1 lead.
The Badgers showed a little fight, however, answering the bell thanks to the first line. All three Badgers were involved as Morgan Zulinick pulled the Badgers to within two at 14:46 by converting on a string of nice passes from Besse and Joeseph Labate.
“It’s all about moving forward” said Zulinick following the loss.
“We have to continue to get better, it is all about moving forward” Zulinick reitirated.
The goal proved to be a spark for the Badgers who went on the power play shortly after, generating numerous chances but none could fall and the gap remained at 2 goals. The Badgers went 0 for 4 on the power play on the night.
With just over two minutes to play, Eaves pulled Rumpel giving the Badgers an extra attacker.
The Badgers were able to keep it in Penn States zone for the rest of the game, but couldn’t find the goals needed losing the game 4-2.
The Badgers were outshot 25-33 in their second straight loss at home dropping to 1-10-1, 0-2 in Big Ten play. Penn State improved to 9-4-2 and 3-1 in Big Ten play
Badgers take the ice again, Friday December 12th in an exhibition game against the U.S Men’s under 18 national team at The Kohl Center.