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Badgers tame Nittany Lions with shootout victory

UW comes back to force 4-4 tie, win shootout

 

 

 

Jan. 27, 2018

MADISON, Wis. –  In a back-and-forth emotional battle, the No. 18 Wisconsin men’s hockey team recovered from a pair of two-goal deficits to force a 4-4 tie with No. 14 Penn State, winning the shootout for an extra point in Big Ten Conference standings on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

 

That all took place on “Face-Off Against Cancer” night, which started with 1990 NCAA champion Rob Andringa and five-year old Noah Sanger together dropping the ceremonial puck in support of their cancer battles.

 

Wisconsin (13-12-4, 7-8-3-1 Big Ten) scored three goals in the final frame for the second night in a row, starting with a slapshot from sophomore JD Greenway that redirected past Penn State (13-11-4, 6-8-4-2 Big Ten) goaltender Peyton Jones one minute, 47 seconds into the period to cut the PSU advantage to 3-2.

 

Penn State regained a two-goal lead at the 2:08 mark, but freshman Linus Weissbach crashed the crease at 5:34 and put the Badgers right back in the game.

 

Sophomore Max Zimmer scored the game-tying goal at 17:09, grabbing a feed from junior Seamus Malone and sending it over Jones’s glove to knot the game at four apiece.

 

Neither team capitalized in extra time, and UW freshman Linus Weissbach scored the only goal in the three-round shootout to secure the extra point in league standings.

 

Sophomore Jack Berry (5-3-1) made 32 saves in the contest, including 16 in the first period.

 

Penn State started the game with a lead for the second consecutive night, scoring midway through the first during a stretch of four-on-four hockey. The Nittany Lions would double the lead in the second period on a penalty-shot goal.

 

Senior Ryan Wagner broke through at the 9:38 mark of the middle frame, scoring an unassisted short-handed goal to put Wisconsin within one.

 

Penn State took a 3-1 lead into the locker room for the second intermission, tallying a goal at 11:58.

 

 

Notes to Know

-Ryan Wagner scored Wisconsin’s third short-handed goal of the season, all in the last five games.

-The teams combined for 24 penalties, but neither Wisconsin (0-for-4) nor Penn State (0-for-3) scored on the man-advantage.

-The teams drew even in shots on goal, 36-36. Penn State outshot the Badgers 16-8 in the first period, but Wisconsin had the advantage in the second, 15-7.

-The Badgers moved into third place in the Big Ten standings with tonight’s result.

-13,689 fans were in attendance for Wisconsin’s “Face-Off Against Cancer” game.

 

Straight From the Rink

Head coach Tony Granato

On the comeback

“That is the most satisfying weekend we’ve had all year. The fight, the battle to compete, the no-quit mentality, and just the overall battle level. It wasn’t perfect; we didn’t get the start we wanted both games with getting out legs going and we let Penn State get up and running. And they’re one heck of a team that’s for sure. We kept fighting until the last second, and obviously when you have close to 14,000 people in the building, it seemed like this is what Badger hockey should be, and how it will be to continue. And that’s how it is, when you play with your hearts like we did tonight, the fans will come back. Donnie (Granato) was in the room and he has watched a lot of NHL games and a few college games scattered in the mix, and he’s not working the game, so it’s a little more enjoyable as a spectator, but he said that this was the most entertaining game that he has seen all year and I think that says a lot about hopefully what our fans saw as well. And I enjoyed it too from the bench by the way.”

 

On the emotional week

“It’s been emotional week with all of the things that have gone on within our Badger family, especially tonight with Cancer Awareness Night. Rob Andringa was in the room before the game and he gave the lineup. He got the game puck too along with Max Zimmer, so we had two game pucks. There was a whole lot of emotion attached to this weekend. What brings us all together as a Badger family is the game of hockey. We lost two alumni this week, and the game of hockey is why we have such great friendships. And the Wisconsin Badger Alumni is why we have what we have. There was a lot of emotions tied to this weekend, and not only the play on the ice and all of the things that went along with it, I think our guys held up well. Our guys, as always, are put in tough situations, and they always do a great job with it, so I’m glad they played well and used their work ethic and competitive level because it was outstanding.”

 

On the shootout

Yeah it’s a great feeling. There’s games you lose where you feel like you’re proud of the guys for playing hard and playing as hard as they could. They did the same thing tonight in the shootout. We’re coming off a great rebound game against Michigan State in here, then you play the number one team on the road, not having lost in 16 games. You go in there playing an outstanding game, probably deserve the win and you don’t, then you have to play them again and you go out there and you beat them 5-0. Then you bounce back yesterday, coming back to get a big win from behind. We all found the energy together to get it done, so I count that as a win.

 

On team momentum

One of the things is Ryan Wagner’s ability to go back and forth, especially when he came back in, he makes a big play on our end on a semi breakaway and got a goal right back for us. I think that showed the fight within our team today. That’s a great example of when something went wrong, you didn’t put your head down and sit on the bench and pout and be afraid to go back out there. If you put me back on the ice, I’ll get it back for us type of mentality. I think we had that kind of fight through our lineup. He’s (Wagner) our leader, he’s our warrior and that’s the way our team played. We were down and we played one heck of a team and that’s a darn good goalie over there who had fifty-something saves against us last year in the Big Ten Championship. We kept going, we believed we could get it done and we found a way.”

 

Senior forward Ryan Wagner

On his goal

“It relieved a lot of pressure off of me. Their penalty-shot goal, that was my fault so it was nice to give that one back to the team.”

 

On emotions from the game

“The emotions were up the entire game. If you look at our team in the beginning of the season, that’s where we would have hung our heads and said we’re out of this. But coach has talked a lot about mental toughness, and I think that’s where it comes into play. We score a goal, and Penn State had an answer for everything we threw at them. That’s where, on the bench, we just have to stay positive. I think the guys have been doing a good job.

 

“Obviously you guys know Rob Andringa came into the locker room before the game. He had an emotional speech to give us and it fired us up. Then he did the ceremonial puck drop with Noah (Sanger) and it just gives you chills. It makes you think about everyone battling stuff like that. Yeah, we’re battling out on the ice, but they have their own battles. They’re warriors. It was just an emotional game, and we’re happy we got the job done.”

 

On responding to turnovers

“It stings, and you feel bad. You never want to let anyone down, especially not your teammates or your coaches. You just have to look for your right opportunity. You can’t stray away from the game and the game plan. You have to work together as five and those chances will come, and when they do come you just have to capitalize.”

 

Sophomore forward Max Zimmer 

On his goal

“I was staying higher, and the puck popped out so I just ripped it. I didn’t really aim, but I ripped it and saw it go in the back of the net. It was a cool feeling.”

 

On emotions from the game

“We had two comeback wins this weekend, and I think it just shows the heart and soul of our team, and the guys we have in the locker room. We can beat any team any night. Obviously everyone’s pretty happy after two wins this weekend.”

 

Freshman forward Tarek Baker

On the rivalry with Penn State

“Obviously they’re a good team. They play fast and really offensive, and we’re both offensive teams. There’s a lot of bad blood ever since the games last year. Obviously I wasn’t here but you can hear the older guys talking in the locker room about it. That just trickles down to the younger guys, so you’ve already built that rivalry. It’s great to be a part of and it just gives you an extra step. You want to go to bat for the older guys who have been through some difficult times against that team.”

 

Up Next

Wisconsin travels to Michigan for a Friday-Saturday series at Yost Arena, Feb. 2-3. Both games are a 6:30 p.m. (CT) puck drop.