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No. 18 Wisconsin men’s hockey lights up Michigan State 6-3

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Wisconsin piles it on the Spartans in East Lansing.

Wisconsin captain Luke Kunin.
UW Athletic Communications

A Friday trip to East Lansing saw a scoring outburst from No. 18 Wisconsin men’s hockey.

The Badgers entered Friday’s play nationally ranked for the first time since October 2014. The co-Big Ten leader, Wisconsin (14-8-1 overall,7-2-0-0 Big Ten) had won three straight games, all against top-10 teams.

On the other end of the spectrum, Michigan State (5-16-2 overall, 1-7-1-0 Big Ten) started the day in the basement of the Big Ten. Despite the dismal record, the Spartans, coming off a bye week, had grabbed three points in a home-and-home series with Michigan two weekends ago.

Just a day after the death of Hall of Fame coach Jeff Sauer, the Badgers took the ice with a special patch on their jerseys honoring the legendary coach.

Wisconsin poured it on early and often. Freshman Trent Frederic got the scoring underway for the Badgers at 5:28 in the first period. The freshman took a Jake Linhart pass, flicking a wrister past Spartan junior goaltender Ed Minney from the top of circle.

Captain Luke Kunin put the Badgers up 2-0 midway through the period on a nice crossover that he put past Minney low.

Redshirt junior defenseman Tim Davison left the game late in the first after MSU freshman forward Taro Hirose was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing.

On the ensuing penalty, sophomore forward Will Johnson added to Wisconsin’s 10th-ranked power play conversion, putting a wrister past Minney from inside the offensive-zone circle.

The third goal chased Minney, who was replaced by freshman John Lethemon to start the second period. The change didn’t matter, however, as senior Aidan Cavallini took a bouncing puck and blasted it past Lethemon to put the Badgers up at 6:11 of the second.

MSU’s Patrick Khodorenko finally put the Spartans on the board after a 2-on-1 breakaway. Ryan Wagner answered not long after with a top-shelf wrister that put the Badgers up 5-1 midway through the second.

Khodorenko made it 5-2 at 9:59 in the third, banking it off the back of freshman goaltender Jack Berry. MSU freshman forward Sam Saliba made it a two-goal game, scoring just a few minutes later.

After Michigan State pulled Lethemon with about two minutes to go, the Badgers missed multiple opportunities at the empty net before Trent Frederic buried his second goal with 12.4 left in the game to make it a 6-3 final.

The 6-3 victory extends Wisconsin’s winning streak to four games, its longest in two years. The six goals expanded the Badgers’ seventh-ranked scoring offense. Coming into the game, Wisconsin averaged 3.59 goals per game and was one of four Big Ten teams in the top seven nationally in goals scored per game.

The Badgers and Spartans run it back Saturday in East Lansing; the puck drops at 6 p.m. CT. The radio broadcast starts at 4:30 p.m. CT with a tribute to Jeff Sauer.