The UW Men’s hockey team took a beating at the hands of No. 15 Penn State. Wisconsin lost 4-1 Saturday night getting swept in the weekend series.
Possibly carrying a hang over from the loss the previous day, Wisconsin took the ice looking slow and uninterested. Penn State took advantage of Wisconsin’s slow start.
Beating Wisconsin to every single free puck and muscling the Badgers off pucks on every shift, Penn State got on the board 7:38 into the first period. Curtis Loik added his eighth of the season to give the Nittany Lions a one-goal lead with the power play goal.
Matt Jurusik played well again. He posted 37 saves overall and in the first period he was left making save after save to the score respectable. The freshman tender could only do so much and Penn State freshman Andrew Sturtz cleaned up a rebound at 12:26 in the first period. Sturtz’s goal would swell the Penn State lead to 2-0 headed to the second.
The main bright spot came from Wisconsin’s first line of Luke Kunin, Grant Besse and Adam Rockwood. The trio saw a lot of ice time throughout the game and had some of Wisconsin’s most dangerous chances.
Kunin who leads the team in goals and Besse who leads the team in points have developed a nice report with one another. With just over 14:00 left in the second period, Kunin added to his goal total, tallying his ninth of the year on a beautiful wrist shot short-handed.
It seemed clear, however, that the Badgers would need another line to step up if they hoped to be competitive in this game.
Penn State, who entered the third period undefeated when leading after two periods this season, looked strong in the final period of play.
Attacking Wisconsin’s defense early and often, the young defensemen for the Badgers were left scrambling on multiple chances for Penn State. After a couple of penalties, Penn State cashed in on a 5-on-3 chance.
Eric Schied was the Penn State player who converted on the two-man advantage for Penn State. It was Schied again late in the third who added a breakaway goal slipping it through the five-hole of Jurusik.
The Badgers managed to stop the bleeding at 4-1 and Penn State registered a sweep for the weekend series. The Badgers drop to 4-10-6 overall, 1-5-2-1 in Big Ten play.
It is obvious something needs to happen if Wisconsin wants to see any sort of turn around this season. It cannot just be Luke Kunin and Grant Besse creating the only chances. It clearly does not work.
Wisconsin returns home to take on Minnesota at the Kohl Center in a weekend series starting Jan. 22.
One has to believe Barry Alvarez will need to see something soon if head coach Mike Eaves hopes to remain at his current post long-term.