Another night, another lackluster performance by Mike Eaves hockey team. In what has become all too familiar this season, the Wisconsin men's hockey team dropped a winnable game.
Inconsistent effort, defensive breakdowns, and an severe lack of goal scoring ability was on display for the paid attendance of 9,118 at the Kohl Center Friday night.
The Badgers significantly out-shot Minnesota State Friday night, but found the back of the net just twice in the 4-2 loss. So far this season the Badgers have recorded an anemic 16 goals in nine games.
Minnesota State started off the scoring in the first period on a goal by Dylan Margonari. Sophomore Matt Leitner carried the puck into the offensive zone and cut to the middle drawing Badger blue-liner Chase Drake with him out of position. Leitner then fed Margonari with a nice pass and he was able to do the rest, roofing one over the glove of Badger goaltender Landon Peterson.
Wisconsin would bounce right back a little over a minute later on a goal by Michael Mersch. Mersch was able to bang home a rebound after a shot from Derek Lee was denied. The big man has been hot lately, and the goal was his seventh of the season.
Before the first period would end, Minnesota State would jump ahead 2-1 on a goal by Leitner. Margonari--who scored MSU's first goal of the night--circled around the offensive zone and found a streaking Leitner cutting down the slot. Wisconsin's defensemen failed to puck up Leitner and he was able to redirect Margonari's pass past Peterson for the 2-1 advantage.
Wisconsin would even things up in the second period on an effort play by senior forward Ryan Little. The alternate captain and Fond du Lac native forced a turnover and fired a shot on goal. Mavericks goaltender Stephon Williams wasn't able to close his five hole in time and the puck snuck across the line to tie things up at two.
Minnesota State would pull ahead for good 5:48 into the third period. Minnesota State forward J.P. LaFontaine found a wide open Eriah Hayes on a line rush, and the senior winger was able to wrist a shot past Peterson.
The Maverick's would ice the game with under a minute to play in the third with an empty net goal by Eli Zuck.
Peterson finished the game with 20 saves on 23 shots. Maverick's goaltender Stephon Williams had 32 saves on 34 Badger shots.
The loss puts the Badger record at an embarrassing 1-6-2 on the season. Sure, a multitude of adversity has played a role in the early season struggles, but Wisconsin is off to their worst start in the modern era.
Wisconsin and Minnesota State will be back in action Saturday night. Same place, same time.
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