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Wisconsin men’s hockey: UW splits with Notre Dame in last home series of the season

The Badgers won big on Saturday but their comeback fell just short on Sunday night.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: FEB 12 Notre Dame at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In their final home series of the season, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team (9-20-3 overall, 6-15-1 1-2-0 Big Ten) battled the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-9-0 overall, 13-7-0 Big Ten) to a split. Before the game on Saturday the Badgers honored the seniors on the team. Four seniors (Jack Gorniak, Roman Ahcan, Josh Ess, Dominick Mersch) posted points in the Badgers’ 5-3 win on Saturday.

The Badgers offense was extremely efficient in the first game of the series, scoring those five goals on only 15 shots. Gorniak and Mathieu De St. Phalle each recorded a goal and two assists for a three-point night on Saturday. Goalie Jared Moe made 38 saves to make Wisconsin’s victory a reality.

Wisconsin was winning 4-1 in the third period and held on to win after the Fighting Irish made it 4-3 with just over a minute remaining. Gorniak’s empty net goal sealed the deal for UW.

The game on Sunday, which took place during the Super Bowl, was sparsely attended and saw the Badgers down 2-0 early in the second period. Who else but De St. Phalle popped up near the end of the period and tallied a power play goal to bring the Badgers within one heading into the final frame.

Notre Dame scored again at 7:44 of the third and then Zach Urdahl pulled Wisconsin back within one goal five minutes later. The Badgers couldn’t complete the comeback as Achan was sent off with a game misconduct with 90 seconds left (which will result in him missing the first game of the Minnesota series) and so even with Moe pulled the Badgers didn’t have a man advantage.

UW now has a week off before heading north for their final regular season series of the year, a Border Battle with the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Feb. 25-26. Friday night’s game is on ESPNU and the puck drops at 8 p.m. CT while Saturday’s game is TBA for a start time. While the Badgers can’t move up in the Big Ten standings, they can move down so the games against the Gophers will be important for conference tournament seeding. Minnesota will most likely be playing for the top seed so they’ll have a lot on the line as well.