UW season closes with loss at Michigan
Badgers fall to third-seed Wolverines in Big Ten quarterfinal
ANN ARBOR, Mich.— The sixth-seeded Wisconsin men’s hockey team saw its season come to a close in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, falling in game two of the best-of-three series, 7-4, to third-seeded Michigan on Saturday night at Yost Arena.
Wisconsin (14-19-4, 8-13-3-1 Big Ten) led the Wolverines (20-13-3, 11-10-3-2) early, but stumbled late in the defensive zone and couldn’t recover in time.
Sophomore Trent Frederic started the Badgers off hot, scoring a goal just 23 seconds into the contest. Senior linemate Ryan Wagner broke up a Michigan play in the neutral zone, dishing a pass to Frederic who snapped a shot off from the circles.
Michigan took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, however, scoring at the 4:18 mark before adding another at 13:41.
Michigan pulled ahead, 3-1, early in the second after junior defenseman Peter Tischke made a save along the goal line behind sophomore goalie Jack Berry. Michigan circled back and capitalized 53 seconds in on the rebound of the next shot.
UW senior captain Cameron Hughes cut the lead to 3-2, scoring shortly after a Wisconsin penalty expired. Freshman Linus Weissbach, who was serving the penalty, took a shot from above the circles that bounced off the end boards right to Hughes, who buried the puck at 6:08.
Michigan regained the two-goal lead shortly after, but Frederic came up clutch again at the 9:16 mark of the second, sniping a shot over Lavigne’s glove to make it 4-3.
A Michigan goal with seven seconds remaining in the second period swung the momentum, leading to an early third-period goal for the Wolverines, leaving Wisconsin trailing 6-3.
Junior Matthew Freytag gave Wisconsin an opening, scoring on a blunder by Lavigne, who thought he caught Freytag’s initial shot that instead dropped behind him. Freytag saw the loose puck and crashed in to cut the lead to 6-4.
Both teams battled in the final minutes of play, but an empty net goal for the Wolverines sealed their place in the semifinal round of the tournament, besting Wisconsin 7-4.
Berry ended the night with 22 saves.
Notes to Know
–Neither team capitalized on the power play, both going 0-for-2 with an advantage.
–Wisconsin outshot Michigan 32-29 but was outmatched on defense as Michigan recorded 20 blocks to Wisconsin’s 12
-Trent Frederic recorded a four-point weekend with two goals in Saturday’s game after tallying two assists on Friday. Frederic ended his sophomore season with a team-high 17 goals.
Straight From the Rink
Head Coach Tony Granato
On the game
“I think the game was pretty much what the season was. Great start, as far as how we wanted to play. Then things don’t go our way, they capitalized on a couple chances and then we get back on our heels for a while. Every time it seemed we got momentum we shoot ourselves in the foot. Their late goal in the second period, a huge goal. It seemed like every time that happened during the season, we got momentum, we do something to break that momentum and it was hard for us to get it back.
“We played hard. Michigan is a good team.”
On the team defensively
“The numbers do not look good. We have to be better as a team defensively to win games. Offensively, I thought we were outstanding as far as how we generated. The shot total wasn’t as impressive as it was last night, but we had lots of chances and just must have missed the net on a lot of our chances tonight.
“You can’t give up that many goals and expect to win. So we have to get better in positions that help that. I think our freshmen defensemen, we have to give them all passing grades on how they performed all year. A lot of other guys performed well individually, but as a team we definitely have to get better at that.”
On not feeling like an under-.500 team
“I am (surprised). We’re going to go back, we have some time to reflect, and I don’t want anyone jumping to conclusions just after our last game. But there’s lots of things that went on during the year that we need to be better as a staff on getting our team to make that next step. There were some times we challenged them during the year that I thought we were going to make a push and keep going and instead we’d go out and lay an egg.
“Our team has to play a certain style and a certain way to be effective. When they do that, we look like a top-10 team. There were times when we’d sit back and try to defend and be on our heels, and teams take advantage of us and expose some weaknesses. That’s part of learning as a program and as a team and as a group to get better. That’s what we’ll do over the next six months until the start of next season.”
Senior forward Ryan Wagner
On his career ending
“It’s up there with worst feelings ever. Especially after coming so close last year, falling in the first round this year. It’s tough but you can’t blame anyone. I enjoyed my time here at Wisconsin and I appreciate everything; the community, the fans, the coaches. It’s been fun.”
On the last few weeks
“It just didn’t click, I guess that’s a good word for it. You saw instances throughout the entire season – you look back to the Sunday when we played Notre Dame, that’s one of the best teams in the country right now and we dominated them. Just a few little pieces that fell apart towards the end of the year, even coming into this weekend we were confident in ourselves. It’s pretty tough to fall short.
Sophomore goaltender Jack Berry
On the difficulty of the season ending
“Pretty difficult. It sucks to go out that way, especially with the seniors on our team. They’ve been great leadership to me and to our team. They’ve given me a great two years. They’ve given it their all. To go out like that, especially for them, it’s tough.”
On the last few weeks
“I think we all believed. It’s hard because we have the talent, we have the team, it just didn’t go our way.”
Sophomore forward Trent Frederic
On the struggle connecting
“Throughout the year, we weren’t consistent. We could beat any team; we beat Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame. We beat all these teams when they were playing at their best. We were capable of doing it. It was the consistency, doing what’s in our gameplan and what the coaches drew up for us.”