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Wisconsin men's hockey: Badgers shutout Spartans for first Big Ten win

Wisconsin's freshmen impressed in the Badgers' victory over Michigan State.

After a disappointing Friday night loss to the Michigan State Spartans, the Wisconsin Badgers respond with their first win in Big Ten play Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich.

Before the Badgers secured their 3-0 win, both teams played to a quiet first period as the goalies -- UW's Matt Jurusik and MSU's Jake Hillenbrand -- turned away a total of with 16 shots.

The Badgers (3-7-5, 0-2-1-0) offense ignited, however, early in the second period when freshmen Seamus Malone's shot-pass, intended for senior Grant Besse, deflected off a Spartans (5-9-2, 1-2-0-0) defender into the net. Sophomore Tim Davison made a move around the Spartan defender at the blue line and was tripped, resulting in a delayed penalty. Falling to his knees, Davison slid the puck over to Malone on the high right wall, and he tried to hit Besse breaking towards the front of the net. Davison assist extends his point streak to five games.

Davison and the rest of Badgers' blue-liners have combined for 10 goals and 17 assists through the first 15 games of the season. Last season, the defense had just 11 goals and 31 assists in 35 games.

With seven minutes left, the Badgers created some offense off their fore-check. Freshmen Matt Freytag picked the pocket of the Spartan defender right in front of Hillenbrand and fired a quick wrister for his second of the weekend, extending the Badgers' lead to 2-0.

Wisconsin's offense wasn't finished with its breakout second period. With just 58 seconds remaining in the period, freshmen Luke Kunin tipped a shot from the point for his team-leading sixth goal of the season to make it 3-0.

The explosive second period was all the Badgers needed to secure the win. In fact, the second period has been a bright spot for the offense all season. Coming into Saturday's game, Wisconsin had scored 25 times in the second period while only scoring eight times in the first and third periods, respectively.

The third period came and went rather quietly. Michigan State was awarded its fourth and fifth power-play opportunities of the game, but Wisconsin's penalty kill -- just as it has all season -- shut down the opponents' man-advantage. Michigan State's power play went 0-5 Saturday.

All three UW goals came from freshmen and the freshman goalie, Jurusik, earned his first NCAA shutout. The 3-0 victory is Wisconsin's first shutout since Jan. 3 of last season vs. Michigan Tech.

The Badgers now head into their break for the holidays with a few successes they can build off for the second half. The next matchup comes on New Year's Day against Trinity Western.