Badgers Suffer Setback Against Spartans, Fall 2-0 In Series Finale

EAST LANSING, Mich.— The No. 7/10 Wisconsin men’s hockey team will head back to Madison with a series split, falling to Michigan State, 2-0, in the weekend finale on Saturday night.

Wisconsin (7-5-1, 2-2-0-0 Big Ten) outshot the Spartans 38-17 but ran into hot goaltending in Michigan State’s (5-5-0, 1-3-0-0 Big Ten) John Lethemon.

Despite the Badgers controlling play throughout the period, the Spartans struck with less than two minutes remaining in the opening stanza when Cody Milan capitalized on a Badger penalty, posting up at the back door to tap in a centering pass.

The Badgers did not allow another power-play goal, keeping MSU to 1-for-3 on the night, but couldn’t convert on their own advantages and went 0-for-4 on the power play.

The 1-0 MSU lead would hold through the second period and most of the third before the Spartans added an insurance goal at the 11:39 mark to seal the 2-0 win.

Senior goaltender Kyle Hayton made 15 saves in the loss, moving to 6-4-1 on the season.

Game Notes
-          Junior Jarod Zirbel led all Badgers with six shots on net
-          Outshooting Michigan State 38-17, it is the sixth time in 13 games that UW has held opponents to less than 20 shots in a game.
-          The 2-0 loss is the fourth shutout in the last eight games between the Badgers and the Spartans played at Munn Arena.
-          The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against MSU. It also ended the program-best four-game win streak at Munn Arena.

Straight From the Rink
Associate Head Coach Mark Osiecki
On the momentum shift
“A goal is going to help a lot, that’s going to give you some energy and some confidence. They fed off of that. I thought we stabilized ourselves in the end of that second period and we were holding on, they’re lucky the buzzer went off. There were a lot of good things that we did, but we didn’t score. Goaltender was outstanding, they played desperate, they blocked shots. Give them credit, they played hard and desperate and they found a way to score a power-play goal and we didn’t.”

On the power play
“It has to be lunch-pail, blue-collar. Especially when State does a good job here on a small ice surface, pressuring and they worked. That was pretty evident, they worked. We just needed to find a way to recover the puck and get it high and get it to the net. We didn’t do that well enough.”

On building on the weekend
“I think it’s pretty easy to build on it, we talked about playing as a group of five and playing what we would say is Wisconsin hockey. It’s pretty evident that we played as a group of five and that we played our style. It was evident, the success that we did have.”

Sophomore Trent Frederic
On outshooting the Spartans but not scoring
“Yesterday we got more quality shots, I think personally I passed the puck on a couple. We had a decent amount of shots but a lot of perimeter stuff.”

On not capitalizing on the power play
“Our power play wasn’t really good today, killed the mood. It gave them energy and our power play has to be better. That’s the difference in the game, if we score on our power plays. If we don’t, it’s 1-0 and we’re playing catch-up.”

Junior Jarod Zirbel
On outshooting the Spartans but not scoring
“You always have to finish the chances that you get. Just couldn’t find the puck the right way, if the puck is not bouncing our way it’s hard to put one in. But sometimes you just have to bear down and put one in, we couldn’t find that tonight. The result is that we lost.”

On his line getting opportunities
“I think as a line, every time we got back to the bench we said, ‘do the simple things, get the puck behind the D, get a puck on net every chance you get and it’s going to create rebounds.’ Their goalie let rebounds up all night, just couldn’t find the puck when it was our time to put it in.”

On scoring six goals last night and none tonight
“It’s hockey. Any team can win any night. It just wasn’t us tonight.”

Senior Ryan Wagner
On scoring six goals last night and none tonight
“We had good just to start, we just didn’t play consistently as a group of five on the ice. Some guys strayed away from our game plan and even when things aren’t going the right way we just have to stick with it because what they’re telling us, it works. We just have to regroup here and get ready for Michigan.”

On MSU’s goaltending
“In our eyes, we should be scoring at least three or four a game with the skill we have up front. And that’s on us. On the power play, we have to take pride in being on there. We have to just get those dirty goals. If things aren’t bouncing, not all goals are going to be pretty. We have to get to the dirty area and just grind for those goals.”

Up Next
Wisconsin opens a four-game homestand with a Friday-Saturday series against Michigan, Nov. 17-18, LIVE on FloHockey.

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