Wisconsin hockey frozen out by Michigan in 3-1 loss

The old idiom is that your best opportunity is often your opponents best opportunity too. On Friday night those words were prophetic as Wisconsin blew it's chances, and were made to pay in a 3-1 loss to Michigan in a battle for second place in the Big Ten. 

Wisconsin (14-8-1, 5-4-0-0 B1G) had the better run of play in the first few minutes of the first period, but that was about the only advantage it would have on the night. After starting the game with a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal, Michigan woke up. 

After killing off the first penalty of the night, Wisconsin gave away the puck in its own end and Michigan's Tyler Motte made UW pay for it's mistake, lighting the lamp for a 1-0 lead at the 13:10 mark of the 1st period. 

From there it was a string of bad breaks and plays that plagued the Badgers. Less than 90 seconds later the Wolverines lead would double, as Alex Guptill took advantage of a Wisconsin offensive rush gone bad. He made it 2-0 at the 14:30 mark of the first period, with an assist from JT Compher. 

Wisconsin settled down for the final 5:30 of the period, but they had no answer on the offensive end. It wasn't for a lack of effort, as the Badgers got off 13 shots in the period. 

The first period ended 2-0 and with shots on goal tied at 13-13. 

Unfortunately, the Badgers came out flat again in the second period, and it resulted in some sloppy play. 

Michigan took advantage of that play, and Zach Hyman netted the Wolverines third goal of the night at the 12:05 mark of the period. 

After that turn of events, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves made a tactical time out call, gathering his charges and hoping to turn some of the momentum UW's way. It appeared that the motivation had worked wonders, because just 1:11 later the Badgers made it 3-1. 

Somehow that goal was officially credited to Jedd Soleway, making it his first career goal for the Badgers. It was originally credited to Joseph LaBate, but changed following the period. Ironically, Soleway's first goal may not have actually been his, this coming after he had goals taken away from him on three other occasions this season. 

However, that was the end of Wisconsin's momentum, as they simply couldn't solve the puzzle that was Zach Naglevoort in net for Michigan. 

Michigan led the shots on goal battle on the night, 34-27, and bruised the Badgers in face-offs going 33-of-53 on the night. 

The biggest highlight of the night for UW was Joel Rumpel, who stopped 31 shots, but had his NCAA-best record drop to 11-3-0 on the season. 

The Badgers and Wolverines will square off for second place again on Saturday, with puck drop scheduled for 5:30pm CT on NBC Sports Network. 


*Photo courtesy UW Athletics

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com