Badgers claw back for 4-2 victory over Penn State
Three third-period goals secure win
Jan. 26, 2018
MADISON, Wis. – With its back against the wall late in the third period, the No. 18 Wisconsin men’s hockey team found a way to win, coming back for a 4-2 victory over No. 14 Penn State on Friday night at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers (13-12-3, 7-8-2-0 Big Ten) trailed by a 2-1 score for much of the game but notched three unanswered goals in the final period to best the Nittany Lions (13-11-3, 6-8-3-2 Big Ten).
PSU took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first frame, but Wisconsin struck back at 12:21 to knot that game at one all. Senior defenseman Tim Davison’s shot from the point rang off the post, but junior forward Seamus Malone was there to knock the rebound in as he cut through the crease.
Penn State scored on a power play to take a 2-1 lead heading into intermission, an advantage that would hold until after the halfway point of the final frame.
At the 10:24 mark, senior Ryan Wagner dished a pass to freshman Josh Ess, who was skating towards the net unattended and shot the puck past the blocker of goaltender Peyton Jones.
Junior Will Johnson scored the game-winner with less than four minutes remaining in the contest, tipping a shot from Malone mid-air and redirecting it past Jones’s glove for the 3-2 lead.
Sophomore Trent Frederic scored on the empty PSU net at the 19:01 mark to seal the 4-2 victory.
Sophomore goaltender made 35 saves in the win, improving to 5-3-0 on the season.
Notes to Know
-Three Badgers recorded multipoint efforts: Seamus Malone scored a goal and an assist while both Ryan Wagner and sophomore Max Zimmer each recorded two assists.
-Junior Peter Tischke led the game with eight blocks. UW outblocked PSU 26-22.
-Penn State outshot Wisconsin 37-31, including a 15-8 margin in the third period.
-The Badgers were 0-14-1 over the last 15 games when trailing after two periods and 0-8-1 this season.
-Wisconsin’s last comeback win after trailing to start the third was Feb. 4, 2017 against Michigan State. The Badgers trailed 2-1 after two periods that game and won 4-2 in overtime.
-Trent Frederic has goals in four consecutive games.
Straight From the Rink
Head Coach Tony Granato
On the difference in the third period
“Well Jack Berry was very, very solid. You have to be a little bit on your toes offensively when you are trailing which does expose you defensively, and I thought Jack was there when we weren’t. They hit a post, they came hard.
“I thought that play Ryan Wagner made on the Josh Ess goal was spectacular. He stretched them out, Trent Frederic found him behind their D a little bit and then Wagner just made an outstanding play. Josh was on his toes as he has been all year and up in the play and finished with an NHL shot – one timer across his body. Huge goal for us. Then Johnson made a tip and that line had some nice shifts as well.”
On gaining momentum
“I think Penn State played really well. They played a really good road game, so we had to stay with them and fight and scratch and claw to have a comeback like that. Jack Berry played well and made the big saves when he had to to keep us in there. We were able to make some plays in the offensive zone. It feels good because probably five times this year, this exact scenario happened against us, so it was nice to turn it around and be able to find a way to win this one.”
On winning games down the stretch
“The bench stayed believing between the second and third. We thought we were in a pretty good spot then. We felt good about our chances of finding a way. We needed Berry to make those saves for us. That was really big. He made big saves.”
On getting results
“The game we played Friday night against Notre Dame, that I thought was maybe our best game of the year, we lost. We just couldn’t get a break. But we played outstanding and it carried over to Sunday’s effort. Then tonight, we might not have been perfect, when the game was on the line we were able to make those plays. I think the keys were that Berry gave us a chance to keep the score a one-goal deficit and we made some plays to win it.”
On Josh Ess’ play
“He’s been moving all year. He’s a tremendous offensive player and that was a great opportunity for him and for everybody to see that he has the natural instincts to know when to and how to score. And that shot was amazing too. You shoot a one-timer across your body like that, that’s pretty impressive.”
On Johnson scoring on a tip
“If you do it enough, and if you go in there enough and pay a price enough times, eventually it will go in for you. I can go way back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Patric Hornqvist had the game-winning goal in game six. The entire playoff series, he had been around the net. So was it luck getting the puck to go off the goalie’s leg? No. He was there the entire time, and paid a price, so I would say that if you go there enough and if you work at it and keep trying to get tips and screens, you’ll eventually score a big goal and that’s what happened tonight.”
Junior forward Will Johnson
On tipping his goal out of the air, whether it was skill or luck, and taking the lead at that point in the game
“I’d say it’s about ten percent my tip and about ninety percent Seamus’s accurate shot. It’s huge. It’s a huge confidence builder for our team, knowing that we can go into a third period down and come out with a win. I think that’s something we need to carry into the next game, knowing that down the stretch some of those opportunities might happen again, and we have to be ready for it.”
“It’s just consistency. You’re always going to get some bad breaks. I think that if we keep continuing doing what we’re doing, then we’re going to get the puck in the net. The more consistently we play, the more that these kinds of results are going to come.”
Freshman defenseman Josh Ess
On the importance on pushing the defense to create offense
“Especially in that situation, it was four on four, so there was a lot of open ice, especially on a big sheet. I saw the whole left side was open, and Wagner was busting down the side, so it was a nice play by him and a nice play by Frederic to get it up there, so it was a good play all around.”
Junior forward Seamus Malone
On the performances on the ice across the board
“It’s huge. When there’s depth on the team it always helps. If someone’s not playing well, then the others need to step up, so that’s what was happening. I think us older guys were slacking a little bit, and the freshmen stepped up and did a great job. Now we all need to start going out and playing consistent so that we can be a top team like we want to be.”
On the team’s momentum at this point in the season
“I think that third period was huge, it goes to show the kind of character we have as a team. I do believe that we need to come out with a better start, but we do have a lot more we can show. That wasn’t our best hockey, but we found a way to win, and that’s what great teams do.”
Wisconsin closes out its series with Penn State on Saturday with a 7 p.m. puck-drop at the Kohl Center in its “Face-off Against Cancer” game. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin and broadcast on WIBA 1310.