The No. 17 Wisconsin men’s hockey team closed out its home regular season slate on a sour note, falling 7-1 to No. 12 Minnesota on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.
Minnesota (18-13-1, 9-10-1-1 Big Ten) surged to a 3-0 lead by the 15:38 mark of the first period, prompting Wisconsin (14-15-4-8-11-3-1 Big Ten) to bring in senior goaltender Kyle Hayton in relief of sophomore Jack Berry. Berry finished the night with six saves, moving to 5-5-1 on the season.
Sophomore Trent Frederic put Wisconsin on the board in the final minutes of the frame, tallying Wisconsin’s lone goal at 18:47 off a feed through the slot from senior Cameron Hughes.
The momentum didn’t shift for the Badgers, though, as Minnesota regained the three-goal lead 1:44 into the second on a score from Rem Pitlick. Pitlick added his second of the period at 18:36, helping the Gophers to a 5-1 advantage.
Minnesota added to the lead in the third, tallying two goals for a 7-1 victory.
Hayton made 23 saves in the relief effort.
Notes to Know
-A sellout-crowd of 15,359 was on hand for Senior Night, Wisconsin’s first sold-out game since Feb. 22, 2014 when the Badgers shutout Michigan State 2-0.
-Sophomore Trent Frederic equaled his goal total from his freshman year with his 15th goal of the season.
-Minnesota outshot Wisconsin 36-24 and outblocked UW 18-11
Straight From the Rink
Associate Head Coach Mark Osiecki
On emotions from today’s loss
“It didn’t go our way right from the get-go. I think you have to tip your hat to Minnesota a little bit. They played well and they were on their toes and they put us on our heels quickly. Now we have to stew over this. From a coaching staff it’s tough because coaches have a tough time letting go of things. Now we have 13 days to stew over it. Typically at this age, the players have short memories. They get regrouped really quickly, and coaches, we don’t, and we should.”
“It’s disappointing because we haven’t had an effort or a result like that. You have senior night, a full barn, a great atmosphere, a great crowd. It was outstanding. And then you have that result. That hasn’t been typical of our team.”
On what went wrong tonight
“For the most part, it started with our power play. We were not connected very well on it, and it didn’t go our way. They put a lot of pressure on us up ice and we didn’t respond to it. That set the tone.”
On losing Josh Ess
“It’s disappointing. You never want to look at one player making a difference, but him and Tischke have played all year together. Typically they play in key defensive situations and D-zone faceoffs. They always start on the penalty kill and play teams’ top lines. Tischke and Ess blow away the rest of our team on scoring chances on the positive side. They’re way in the positive side and that’s not easy to do. Those two guys have been outstanding all year. To lose a guy like Ess, obviously it disrupts the chemistry on the blue line and the pairs. Now we need another guy to step up now and fill those shoes.”
Senior forward Ryan Wagner
On how they are going to handle this loss
“We have a bye weekend this week so we’ll take some time tomorrow to think it over then we’ll move past it. We have a good team in two weeks with Ohio State and our season’s not over yet.”
On what was said in the locker room after the game
“Nothing really, to be honest. I don’t think anything really needed to be said. It sucks for us three seniors (up here) with that being our last game at home. I think everyone in the locker room, coaches, fans, us, we know what happened and we know what we have to do to fix it. We have a week off and we’ll be ready for Ohio State.”
On the stream of penalties
“There’s going to be bad calls and there’s going to be good calls. That’s kind of just the way it goes. It kind of ruins the flow of the game. We want to play 5-on-5 hockey. That’s why we’re here. Power plays are nice but teams shouldn’t be getting 10 chances on the power play every game. That’s just not how it’s supposed to be. Obviously it hurt us this entire weekend. We didn’t capitalize on the power play. When the other team gets nine chances and we get nine chances and we don’t score once it hurts us and takes away from the game.”
Senior forward Cameron Hughes
On how practice will go over the next week
“That’s all you can do. It’s over and it didn’t go our way so we have to get back to work on Monday and just try to prepare for two weekends from now.”
Senior defenseman Jake Linhart
On Josh Ess getting hurt
“He plays a lot of minutes for us this year so it definitely hurt. It was hard to get up and play shift after shift. We couldn’t create anything offensively and it really hurt us.”