Men’s hockey: Badgers suffer pair of stinging losses to Michigan State

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team endured two frustrating losses against Michigan State this weekend, and with close scores of 4-3 and 3-1, the Badgers put up an impressive fight.Friday’s game started off with a bang and a Badger goal by freshman forward Luke Kunin in the first minute of play — his 13th goal of the season.Despite the final result, the Badgers dominated almost every aspect of Friday’s game. They outshot the Spartans by 16, and the Badgers’ top line of Kunin, junior Grant Besse and sophomore Cameron Hughes performed impressively, putting up six points on Friday alone.After giving up their early lead, the Badgers came back from a two-goal deficit, but it wasn’t enough in the end.Hughes and freshman Will Johnson managed to both score to tie the game, as Johnson scored on an impressive power play rebound in the second period, while Hughes scored on a one-timer from Kunin in the third.Spartan senior Matt DeBlouw, however, scored with less than six minutes left in the third period to seal the Badgers’ fate and frustration.“If you were to look at the pure numbers, you would say that’s a pretty good recipe to win,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “[The] only adjustment I would make is to put the puck in the back of the net. I thought we did some real good things.”The Badgers’ frustration then carried over to Saturday night’s game, where they faced another painful loss.Similar to Friday’s game, UW battled from behind and tied the Spartans in the third, with the lone Wisconsin goal coming from freshman Seamus Malone with about half the period underway.But Malone’s late goal ended up being a tease in what would be a poor finish from the Badgers.“It’s a similar story,” Eaves said. “We’ve talked at times during this year about being close, getting over the hump, flirting with the girl, asking her to dance. We didn’t get the timely goal tonight.”Freshman goalie Matt Jurusik stood on his head Saturday night, making many crucial saves to keep Wisconsin in the game, and while the Badgers again outshot the Spartans 26-19, they still managed to be on the losing end.Opportunities were never slim for the Badgers. Aggressive, fast paced play and a five-on-three chance with five minutes remaining in the final period gave Wisconsin hope. But, to their dismay, it did not work out in their favor.“I thought we had our chances, especially with the five-on-three, but we weren’t able to capitalize,” Besse said. “You think things are going to go your way, but when you don’t score, I would say the momentum may have shifted in their favor.”A little more than a minute later, Spartan junior Mackenzie MacEachern scored the game-winning goal and then scored again on an empty netter with just 23 seconds remaining in the game.Wisconsin is now 6-15-7 overall with a 1-10-3 Big Ten record, and with the season coming to a close, Eaves is doing all he can to keep his players motivated.“We said to the guys, we have to keep moving ahead,” Eaves said. “I know they’re banged up, they’re tired, they’re angry, they’re ticked off, all of those things.”The Badgers will face Ohio State this weekend in a Friday-Saturday series.last_img

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