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No. 20 Wisconsin men’s hockey sweeps Michigan

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The Badgers defeated the Wolverines 6-4 to take the season series.

Wisconsin goaltender Matt Jurusik
UW Athletic Communications

It’s starting to feel like the good old days in the Kohl Center again for men’s hockey.

In front of an announced attendance of 13,326, No. 20 Wisconsin (17-10-1 overall, 10-4-0-0 Big Ten) knocked off visiting Michigan (9-16-3 overall, 2-10-2-2 Big Ten) 6-4, taking the season series from the Wolverines.

Freshman forward Trent Frederic entered play having tallied 10 points in his past five games. The 2016 first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins kept his streak extra hot on Saturday, kicking off the scoring with a goal just eight seconds in-the fastest goal ever scored by the Badgers to start a game.

Michigan quickly erased the deficit, tying the game less than a minute later on a goal by James Sanchez. Sloppy defensive play allowed Cutler Martin to add a goal just four minutes later to give the Wolverines an early 2-1 lead.

Frederic struck again at the end of the first period, however, grabbing a shorthanded goal to tie the game at 2-2. It was Frederic’s second straight multi-goal game and the third time in six games that he lit lamp twice.

Senior Aidan Cavallini put the Badgers up 3-2 in the second period, snagging a rebound and putting the shot past Michigan goaltender Zach Nagelvoort.

The Wolverines once again tied the game midway through the period when Joseph Cecconi beat Badgers sophomore netminder Matt Jurusik to knot the game at 3-3.

Junior defenseman Jake Linhart put Wisconsin up 4-3 in the third, coming in tight and sneaking one past Nagelvoort to give the Badgers the lead.

After the Badgers conceded yet another game-tying goal to the Wolverines, Wisconsin finally grabbed the lead for good on a redirected goal by sophomore defenseman Peter Tischke.

Cavallini iced the game for the Badgers with under a minute left, grabbing an empty-net goal to seal the victory for Wisconsin.

It was Cavallini’s first multi-goal game as a Badger. The senior has had an amazing 11-game run. After managing only 37 shots and zero goals in three years, Cavallini now has five goals in 11 games.

With the victory, Wisconsin stays just three points back of conference leader Minnesota (20-8-2 overall, 11-3-0-0 Big Ten), who completed a home sweep of now fourth-place Penn State (18-8-2 overall, 7-6-1-0 Big Ten) on Saturday 4-3 in overtime.

The Big Ten now boasts four of the top six scoring offenses in the country: Penn State (4.18 goals per game), Ohio State (4.10), Minnesota (3.97) and the Badgers (3.75).

As Wisconsin’s breakdowns against Michigan this weekend show, however, the defense remains suspect. The Badgers are 46th out of 60 teams in scoring defense (3.29 goals allowed per game). Jurusik (3.57 GAA, .883 SV%), who just a few games ago appeared to have gotten past his early-season woes, has now allowed five goals to Penn State and four goals to Michigan in back-to-back starts.

The Badgers enter a brutal final six-game stretch, with games on the road at No. 5/No. 5 Minnesota and at No. 9/No. 8 Penn State, before coming back home March 10 and 11 to close the regular season at the Kohl Center against No. 14/No. 14 Ohio State (16-8-6 overall, 7-6-1-1 Big Ten). As of Sunday, all three teams are projected ahead of the Badgers in Pairwise, the NCAA’s system for selecting tournament participants.

Wisconsin finished the day projected 20th in Pairwise, four spots behind the 16-team cut. The Big Ten tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.