The Badgers took on Penn State in a Big Ten showdown between teams on opposite ends of the standings. Penn State, who came into the game tied for second place was looking for some points when talking on the last place Badgers at home.
Penn State and Wisconsin would trade leads but ultimately Penn State, lead by Casey Bailey, proved to be too much for Wisconsin as they routed the Badgers 5-2.
Penn State was the first to strike.
Junior Connor Varley came flying down the right side and threw the puck on net. Joel Rumpel gave up a juicy rebound straight into the slot and right onto the stick of a charging Tommy Olczyk.
He buried the rebound goal to give the Nittany Lions a one-goal lead early on into this game.
The Badgers, and more specifically Cameron Hughes, would respond.
Freshman Ryan Wagner gave chase on a fore check that lead to a sloppy turnover from Penn Stateâ€™s defense.
The puck bounced right below the right faceoff circle and onto Cameron Hughesâ€™ stick. Hughes then shot a rocket short side and high past PJ Musico to tie the game at one.
Ryan Wagner and Grant Besse were both credited with assists.
Penn State came close to regaining the lead after a shot went off the post leading to a scrum in front of the net where Eddie Wittchow saved a puck of the line to maintain the tie.
Shortly after the Badgers came flying down the ice. Cameron Hughes threw a shot on net and the puck bounced back on to his stick. He then displayed incredible patience skating with the puck on his backhand. He out waited Musico and tucked in the backhand for his second of the game.
The goal was only his third goal of his career and third in two games.
His late goal proved to be enough to grant the Badgers a 2-1 lead over Penn State after one period of play.
That lead would not last long.
One minute and twenty-six seconds into the second period the Nittany Lions tied it up.
The puck was thrown on net and after an attempted clear by Rumpel, the puck bounced below the goal line but it was apparent the Rumpel had no idea where it was.
The puck was played out in front of net where red shirt junior Eric Scheid was waiting. Rumpel was out of position and Scheid slid the puck into the net by to tie the game up at two goals apiece.
Connor Varley gave the Badgers a good chance to regain the lead after being called for a two minute checking from behind penalty.
The best chance on the power play was actually for Penn State. Dylan Richard found himself one on one against Rumpel but Rumpel stood tall to keep the game at 2-2.
With 5:01 remaining in the second period, the tie would be broken.
Freshman defenseman Jack Dougherty shoved PSUâ€™s Taylor Holstrom into Rumpel who was pinned down and helpless to stop a diving David Goodman who tipped the puck into a virtually open net.
The play was reviewed but it was apparent Dougherty shoved Holstrom into Rumpel and therefore goalie interference was not called.
Dougherty was given a two-minute penalty for interference as well.
The Badgersâ€™ Grant Besse had a good chance shorthanded to pull Wisconsin even but Musico stood strong.
Penn State held the one goal lead going into the third and final period.
The third period would begin with both teams going back forth for the first half but neither with great opportunities on net.
With 9:13 left in the game, the third highest goal scorer this season in the NCAA, Casey Bailey would add to Penn Statesâ€™ lead.
The Badgers suffered a mental collapse on defense as four Badgers were in the corner looking for a puck that slid out to the slot where Bailey was waiting. He clapped a laser beam past Rumpel to give the Penn State a decisive two goal lead.
The Badgers put on some pressure getting good looks on Musico but he stood strong posting thirty-five saves on the evening thanks to the Badgers putting on a season high of thirty-three shots.
Rumpel put up thirty-four saves of his own.
Penn State would add an empty netter by Tyler Holstrom with nine seconds left to ice the win for Penn State with a final score of 5-2.
The Badgers fall to 2-17-4 overall and remain winless in Big Ten play.
Another tough loss for the Badgers but what could be worse is that Freshman Cameron Hughes, after posting two goals in his first multi goal game of his career was absent from the ice after taking a rough fall into the boards in the third period.
Hopefully he will be back on the ice along with the rest of the Badgers as they take on Penn State in a rematch tomorrow at 1 PM CT.