After a disastrous first half of the season, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team (8-13-3 overall, 5-8-1 1-1-0 Big Ten) has shown an incredible improvement since returning from winter break. This weekend at the Kohl Center, UW continued their upward climb and swept the Michigan State Spartans (11-12-1 overall, 5-9-0 Big Ten), winning 5-2 on Friday night and 3-2 on Saturday night.
Sophomore forward Mathieu De St. Phalle super-charged Wisconsin’s offense, scoring twice on Friday night and notching a power play game-winner on Saturday night. De St. Phalle leads the team with seven goals on the season.
With the sweep, the Badgers moved into fifth place in the conference, passing the Spartans, and they will have a chance to pick up more points next weekend when they travel to play last place Penn State on Friday and Saturday nights.
The series against the Spartans started off about as well as Tony Granato could’ve hoped as Wisconsin had their best opening period performance of the season, scorching the nets with three goals. Wisconsin was also effective on the power play, scoring twice in five attempts, and goalie Jared Moe stopped 28 of 30 shots on the evening.
Top plays from a B1G 5-2 win at the Kohl Center pic.twitter.com/sPxjuAwbLw— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) January 15, 2022
On Saturday, the game started off as a more cagey affair with nobody scoring until halfway through the second period. However, once the scoring started there were three goals scored in about three and a half minutes. MSU entered the second intermission up 2-1, with Max Johnson scoring for the Badgers to keep them withing striking distance.
Things turned around in the third period when MSU’s Kyle Haskins got a game misconduct for contact to the head which gave Wisconsin a five minute power play. UW took advantage and scored twice, with Brock Caufield and MDSP tallying goals, and then Wisconsin held on for the win and the sweep.
️: Go little Brock-star— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) January 16, 2022
: Baker, Bantle pic.twitter.com/CzowiJ8Jfm
Moe had another great game between the pipes, stopping 24 of 26 shots on Saturday night.
The Badgers have only lost one game in regulation since the returned from break, to second place Ohio State, and seem to have turned things around from their rough start. If the Badgers can have a successful weekend at Penn State, that sets up a massive series the following weekend against the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines at the Kohl Center.