No. 18 Wisconsin keeps rolling, top MSU 6-3 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

No. 18 Wisconsin keeps rolling, top MSU 6-3

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (Per UW Athletics) —Following their sweep over No. 8 Ohio State last weekend and the team’s first USCHO ranking in over two years, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team continued their momentum in East Lansing on Friday.

The 18th-ranked Badgers (14-8-1, 7-2-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Michigan State (5-16-2, 1-7-1-0) by a score of 6-3 after scoring five goals in the first two periods at Munn Ice Arena.

“I think they should feel good about themselves,” head coach Tony Granato said. “We did a lot of things, they scored five goals and we made plays when we had to. I felt the first two periods we played really solid defensively.”

The five-goal output came in just 30:02 of game-time, which was the fastest UW has reached five goals since Oct. 29, 2011, when the Badgers reached the mark in 23:03 against Omaha.

Trent Frederic began the scoring outburst just 5:28 into the first period after netting a wrist-shot from the slot off a pass from Jake Linhart. The freshman’s eighth goal of the season was also assisted by Max Zimmer.

Luke Kunin would double the Badgers’ lead 3:27 later after making a strong move to the net and slipping it past MSU goaltender Ed Minney. The captain’s 16th goal of the year was supported by Frederic and Ryan Wagner.

UW finished off a strong opening frame after Taro Hirose took a five-minute major for kneeing, which also earned him a game misconduct penalty after going knee-to-knee with Tim Davison. Davison was forced to leave the game and would not return. Will Johnson capitalized on the five-minute man-advantage with a power-play goal to make it 3-0, a lead Wisconsin would take into the first intermission.

“One thing you can say about our team is that it doesn’t matter what the score is, they’ll slide in front of one and take a big shot,” Granato said. “That’s one thing we’ve been focused on. We don’t like it when people score against us and that’s been really solid for us all year.”

MSU switched goalies after the first period, turning to John Lethemon in relief. 

The Cardinal and White picked up where they had left off to start the second period as Aidan Cavallini scored his second goal in as many games to extend the lead to four. The senior picked up a loose puck in front of the MSU net and calmly fired it past Lethemon for his third goal of the season.

The Spartans had an immediate answer, however, as they scored just 50 seconds later to cut the UW lead to 4-1 with 13 minutes to play in the middle period.

As was the case for most of the game, the Badgers had a response to the Michigan State tally when Ryan Wagner scored his sixth goal of the season to restore the four-goal lead. The junior’s goal was assisted on a nice feed from behind the net from Cameron Hughes with Peter Tischke getting the secondary assist.

Wisconsin carried the 5-1 lead into the second intermission as Jack Berry stopped 7-out-of-8 shots in the period.

MSU made the game interesting in the third period, scoring two goals in 2:45 to cut the Badgers’ lead to 5-3 with just over seven minutes to go in regulation. Despite the offensive push from the Spartans, UW shut the door for the rest of the game and sealed their 6-3 victory on a Trent Frederic empty-net goal. Grant Besse earned his 15th assist of the year on the play.

“They played hard,” Granato said. “They kept coming and got themselves back in the game for sure. But we did what we needed to do in the beginning of the game.”

Jack Berry made 20 saves on 23 shots he faced to give him his seventh win of his freshman campaign.

Wisconsin will finish up their regular-season series with Michigan State on Saturday night, looking for their first sweep in East Lansing since Big Ten play began in 2013-14. The tilt is set for 6 p.m. CT and will air on Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus, BTN2Go and on the radio on WIBA-AM 1310 and the Badgers Sports Network.     

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