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Seven-goal Soiree: Badgers rout Nittany Lions, 7-3, to earn series split

Weissbach, Ess tally three points in win

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Wisconsin men’s hockey team dominated No. 19 Penn State start-to-finish Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena, defeating the Nittany Lions, 7-3, to earn a weekend split in its final road series of the regular season.

Looking to bounce back from Friday’s loss, the Badgers got off to a hot start, racing out to a two-goal lead in the first period thanks to goals from sophomore defenseman Josh Ess and freshman winger Jack Gorniak.

Continuing it’s dominant response effort, Wisconsin added three more goals in the second period, including a short-handed tally from sophomore Tarek Baker and a second goal from Ess.

Penn State put away a pair of goals to make it a 5-2 game heading into the final frame, but senior forwards Matthew Freytag and Seamus Malone notched the Badgers’ sixth and seventh goals of the night to seal a 7-3 victory over the Nittany Lions.

Freshman goaltender Daniel Lebedeff made 38 saves in the win.

Notes to Know:

  • Sophomores Josh Ess and Linus Weissbach each tallied three points in the Badgers’ win over the Nittany Lions. Ess’ two goals marked the defenseman’s first multi-goal performance  of his career.
  • Senior center Seamus Malone tallied his 99th-career point in Saturday’s win. Malone has 32 goals and 67 assists in 138 games with UW and needs just one point to become the 74th Badger in school history to reach 100 points.
  • The Badgers jumped into sixth place in the Big Ten standings after Saturday’s win. The Badgers are just four points behind fifth-place Penn State with two regular-season games to play.

Up Next: The Badgers host Michigan next weekend at the Kohl Center in their final regular season series of the year. Puck drop for both games is set for 8 p.m. (CT) and Saturday’s contest will honor UW’s six seniors.

Straight from the Rink
Head Coach Tony Granato
On Saturday’s response:

“Yesterday was really disappointing. It was kind of a reversal of what happened. We made some plays at the net to take the lead, and we were able to keep going offensively. Every time they made a surge, we were able to respond. That was a great response from getting schooled by that team last night. We competed. We tried hard. Last night, we kind of threw sticks out there and tried to beat them at open hockey. That team’s way too good to play a game like that. You have to win battles, you have to win races, you have to work, you have to pay a price and you have to want to win. Last night we didn’t have a lot of that. Last night we laid an egg, and tonight we responded.”

On the Badgers’ special teams:
“One thing is I don’t think Penn State was as sharp as they were last night. We also had two big blocks in the first two in the first period. Daniel [Lebedeff] also looked big in the net too, so when they had their chances, we forced them to make perfect shots and they didn’t do that tonight.”

Sophomore defenseman Josh Ess
On the win:

“It was a big bounce back from last night. We didn’t play so hot last night and they kind of ran over us. So to come out like that and have the response that we did, it’s a huge, huge confidence builder. We just have to keep having fun like we did tonight. Everyone was working hard, doing the little things, playing their roles. All that leads to plays and having fun. That’s the underlying thing.”