Wisconsin Badgers hockey and the Resch Center have a love-hate relationship as of late, the Resch Center loves having the Badgers visit, but thereâ€™s little doubt the hockey team hates playing there these days.
It wasnâ€™t always that way though, as the Badgers won three of the first four games at the Resch, starting their time out there 3-0-1, but lately it hasnâ€™t been fun being in Green Bay for Bucky.
After being swept by Northern Michigan two years ago in Green Bay, the Badgers return to the Resch Center was just as horrific in the 2-0 loss to the Wildcats on Friday. It ran UWâ€™s record at the arena to 3-3-1 all-time.
One period was all it took for the Badgers to wilt away, as NMU netted both of its goals in the opening stanza and continued to press Wisconsin the rest of the night.
â€śThere are moments of truth in the game when two combatants come together, whether itâ€™s in front of the net or the corner or coming out of the zone or when you block a shot,â€ť head coach Mike Eaves said, via the Wisconsin State Journal. â€śThere were too many moments of truth that werenâ€™t on the winning side.â€ť
The scoreline couldâ€™ve been a lot worse had it not been for the excellent play of Joel Rumpel between the pipes. He saved 26 of 28 shots on the night, but took his second consecutive loss as the starting goaltender.
It didnâ€™t take long for the 3,526 in attendance to figure out the Badgers were in trouble. Thatâ€™s because Northern Michiganâ€™sÂ opening goal was waived off Â byÂ Brock Maschmeyerâ€™s interference call and UW failed to do anything with it. Sure they fired two shots, but both werenâ€™t a bother to NMUâ€™s 23-year-old sophomore netminderÂ Mathias Dahlstrom.Â
Dahlstrom would stand tall against a weak Badger offensive attack, saving 15 shots on goal in getting the win in NMUâ€™s season opener.
From that penalty kill on, the Badgers played on the back foot and were made to pay for a series of bad plays and questionable calls by the refs on the ice. With nearly half the first period gone, the Badgers began to fall apart.
NMUâ€™s Shane Sooth took a faceoff from the right of Rumpel, passed it to an open Dominick Shine at the top of the circle and he wristed one past Rumpelâ€™s glove, off the post and in for a 1-0 lead at the 9:27 mark of the 1st period.
It took just a few more minutes for things to unravel further for the Badgers. Forward Aidan Cavallini was called for a very questionable slashing penalty at the 12:54 mark of the first period.
#Badgers Cavalini going for slashing. Too bad refs missed NMU a player taking his stick & holding him on the play. Refs not good.
â€” MadTown Badgers (@MTBadgers) October 18, 2014
UW tried to keep the Wildcats off the scoresheet, but it was to no avail as the defense couldnâ€™t clear the puck and eventually the pressure was too much. Darren Norwick netted his first goal of the season standing right in front of the net.
Norwick was fed a great pass by teammate Gerard Hanson, who controlled the puck behind the net and patiently waited for the right moment and slotted the pass to Norwick, who one-timed it past a helpless Rumpel at the 14:16 mark of the first period.
From there it was the Wildcats who battened down the hatches and continued to press thanks to a Badger offense that was afraid to attack for most of the game.
It showed in the final stats, as UW was outshot 28-18 and Northern Michigan won 33 of 52 faceoffs in the game.Â Wisconsin was outshot in every period on the night, failing to reach double digits in shots in any periods.
The Badgers and Wildcats will end the series on Saturday night at 7pm CT, there is no TV for this one, but Brian Posick will have the call and you can find the game via uwbadgers.com.