Badgers drop 4-1 loss to No. 6 Wolverines to open series - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers drop 4-1 loss to No. 6 Wolverines to open series

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MADISON, Wis. (Per UW Athletics)  — The Wisconsin men’s hockey team started strong against No. 6 Michigan on Friday night, but the Badgers couldn’t muster any offense after the first period in a 4-1 loss at the Kohl Center.

After tying the game late in the final three minutes of the first period, UW (6-13-6, 1-8-1-2 Big Ten) outplayed the Wolverines (18-4-4, 9-2-2-1 Big Ten) in the early stages of the second period.

But the high-powered UM offensive attack took over in the final period and a half and scored the final three goals of the game.

"I think it's a similar story for us against a good team. We didn't do enough to get the job done and get over the hump,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said.

Dexter Dancs gave the Wolverines the lead for good at the 8:20 mark of the second period when he backhanded a rebound past UW goaltender Matt Jurusik to make it 2-1.

Jurusik did all he could between the posts for Wisconsin, finishing the night with 36 saves on 39 shots. That included an increased work load in the final two periods for Jurusik, who made a series of odd-man rush saves and a total of 29 stops over the final 40 minutes.

"He made some unbelievably athletic saves tonight,” Eaves said of Jurusik. “We let him out to dry tonight on some line changes, especially in the first period, got caught on some two on ones and three on ones and he made some huge saves.”

Michigan would widen the lead to two on the power play just slightly more than six minutes into the third period. With 24 seconds left in the game the Wolverines then tacked on their final goal with an empty netter from Kyle Connor.

Tyler Motte gave UM the lead in the first period when he cut to the side of the goal mouth, gathered a pass from JT Compher and lifted the puck past Jurusik.

But Wisconsin answered on a fluky goal from Ryan Wagner with 2:48 left in the first period. Wagner floated a shot from the left corner that deflected off of two Michigan players at the side of the net and trickled past Wolverines’ netminder Steve Racine.

"We were kind of in our D-zone for a while and Timmy (Davison) wanted to just get it out and ice it. I did my best to beat the other defenseman up the ice and out-battled him,” Wagner said of the sequence that led to his goal. “I just put it towards the net and it was a lucky goal. We'll take it.”

The goal was initially waved off because a Michigan player careened into the net and knocked it off the left mooring. However, after a lengthy review, the officials ruled it a good goal because the shot had already been taken and the play at the left post did not affect the goal, which came on the other side of the net.

Wagner’s tally gave him his ninth goal of the season and his third in three games against the Wolverines this season. The score also gave UW a boost heading into the locker room, which it carried into the second period.

But the Wolverines high-powered offense, which came into the game averaging a nation-leading 4.8 goals per game, finally broke free in that second period.

“Tonight it just didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. We will get them again tomorrow night," Jurusik said.

The Badgers will aim for a series split on Saturday night at the Kohl Center, with the puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday’s game continues the “White Out the Kohl Center” weekend, and fans are encouraged to wear white. The game will air on the Wisconsin Channel.

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