MSU hockey swept in weekend series against Wisconsin Badgers
The MSU hockey team (4-13-1, 0-4-0 Big Ten) looked like it generated some momentum after a string of victories earlier this season, most notably against then-No. 5 North Dakota on Nov. 25-26.
Now, the Spartans have found themselves on the heels of a seven-game losing streak after being swept by the Wisconsin Badgers (10-7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) on the road at the Kohl Center. It was the first time the Badgers were in action since a series against the University of Michigan Wolverines from Dec. 9-10.
The weekend didn’t start off well for the Spartans, as they dropped the first game against the Badgers, 5-1.
The Badgers got off to a hot start, besting junior goaltender Ed Minney twice at the beginning, putting the Spartans in an early 2-0 deficit.
MSU retaliated, however, as senior forward Villiam Haag netted the only score for MSU. Haag received a pass from freshman forward Patrick Khodorenko with 7:21 on the clock in the the first period. Haag’s ensuing wrist shot from the slot found the back of the net after sailing past Wisconsin goaltender Jack Berry to cut the Spartans’ deficit to one.
The Badgers continued to pile on, however, eventually taking the game, 5-1. A Wisconsin shorthanded goal in the second period halted any momentum the Spartans had. MSU ended the match outshot by the Badgers, 36-26. Minney recorded 31 saves in the loss. Badger defenseman Jake Linhart recorded a goal and an assist apiece as the home team took game one over MSU.
On Saturday, it was a similar story as the Spartans were defeated by the Badgers by the same score, 5-1.
Junior defenseman Carson Gatt was the only Spartan to find the back of the net. After sophomore forward Mason Appleton and fifth-year senior defenseman Rhett Holland fed Gatt, his wrist shot on a Spartan power play managed to get by Wisconsin goaltender Matt Jurusik at 3:41 into the first frame to tie the game at 1-1.
At one point, the Spartans momentarily had the lead, 2-1, after freshman forward Taro Hirose seemingly scored. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the goal was wiped off the scoreboard after it was deemed the puck did not completely cross the line.
After the review, the Badgers went on to score four unanswered goals and swept the weekend series.
“I thought we had really good chances in the first period, and I thought we had some good opportunities in the second period,” head coach Tom Anastos said on Saturday’s loss. "But again, I thought — between giving up the goals that we did — I think we ran out of gas with all of our penalty kills and those guys played a lot of minutes.”
In the Badgers’ effort, forward Luke Kunin scored two goals in the win over the Spartans. Minney had another outing recording 30 stops.
The Spartans will head to University Park, Pa. to snap their losing streak as they face off against the Penn State Nittany Lions on Jan. 13-14. The Nittany Lions are coming off a weekend split against the Ohio State Buckeyes.