Forward Ryan Wagner and the rest of the Wisconsin Badger men’s hockey team poured on the offense in the second period Friday night at the Kohl Center, beating the Alaska Nanooks 4-3 in non-conference matchup.
The game started out slow, after the first period the teams had combined for a total of 19 shots. Wisconsin’s freshman goalie, Matt Jurusik made a couple of beautiful saves leading the Badgers in the first period.
The first goal of the game came with less than one minute left in the first period. Sophomore Corban McGuire, a third or fourth line staple for the Badgers played his first game on defense.
McGuire, who has earned playing time by competing hard for every second he is on the ice, was rewarded with a goal with 47 seconds to play before intermission. He gave Wisconsin a 1-0 lead, scoring off a dirty shot from the point that beat Alaska goalie, Jesse Jenks, high glove side.
Adam Rockwood and Kevin Schulze were credited for the assists.
After a generally slow first period, the second period would lend itself to a lot more offensive chances starting with Alaska.
The Nanooks took advantage of a sloppy pass by the Wisconsin power play unit and captain, Tyler Morley sniped one glove side high on Jurusik to tie the game at 1-1 at the 6:51 mark of the second period.
Just 18 seconds later however, Wisconsin’s Ryan Wagner tipped a shot from the point and into the net to regain the lead for Wisconsin — a lead the Badgers would never give up.
Freshman Jarod Zirbel scored his first goal as a Badger at the 12:13 mark of the period, giving Wisconsin a 3-1 lead.
The two-goal lead was short lived, with Alaska’s Huysmans scoring just 35 seconds later to pull the Nanooks back to within one.
Ryan Wagner would not let that stand, and added his second of the period to give Wisconsin a 4-2 lead heading into the third and final period.
A two-goal lead has been fabled to be the most dangerous lead in hockey, and Wisconsin showed why in the third.
Alaska cut the deficit to one with over 16 minutes to play in the game thanks to Morley and his second of the night. The Nanooks now had all period to claw away at Wisconsin’s lead.
The Nanooks’ comeback hopes were buoyed by a massive mistake from UW forward Jedd to Sloeway, who took a 5-minute major for checking from behind with just 1:43 to play.
The Nanooks came close in the final scramble, and Jurusik would need all of his 20 saves for the night to ice the 4-3 win for the Badgers.
The win put the Badgers at 5-12-6 and gave the team its first win since December 12. The win also gave the team more wins than it had last season.
Wisconsin will be playing for the series sweep tomorrow night at the Kohl Center, with puck drop set for 7p.m. CT.