first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThese aren?t the inexperienced Badgers of opening day.Set back by one of the worst performances of the season ? a 3-0 loss to Minnesota State Friday night ? the Wisconsin men?s hockey team responded with a statement 4-2 win on senior night Saturday at the Kohl Center.?We were angry and embarrassed [Friday] night, and we wanted to come back [Saturday] with a strong performance,? captain Davis Drewiske said.Many of the players took the loss particularly hard, losing sleep over it and bickering about it during the pregame meal Saturday. Only when the goals began to come did the distress dissipate.Wisconsin (14-12-6, 10-10-4 WCHA) got off to a much faster start than Friday, when it saw more players slip and fall on the ice than shots go in the net.?At the start of the game we were much more focused, the purpose was there,? head coach Mike Eaves said.However, it was Minnesota State (16-11-4, 10-10-4) that got the first good scoring chance of the night.Andrew Sackrison found himself alone in the low slot. His shot beat Shane Connelly, but it hit the post and ricocheted out. A short time later Wisconsin?s stronger effort paid off.Patrick Johnson slipped a shot in between goaltender Mike Zacharias? pads from the left faceoff circle to give Wisconsin the early lead. Johnson?s seventh goal of the season was set up by Ben Street?s hustle, as Street swiped a pass in the neutral zone and dumped it off to Johnson just as he crossed into the offensive zone.?It was a good turning point; usually we don?t get the first goal,? Johnson said. ?After [Friday] night we had to come out strong.?Shut down in the previous three games against the Mavericks ? able to muster just two goals ? the Badgers? offense came to life in the second period. Over a span of 6:19, Wisconsin scored three goals to go up 4-0.First it was John Mitchell tipping an Aaron Bendickson shot top shelf for his sixth goal of the season. Then it was Michael Davies wristing a rebounding puck past an unaware Zacharias on the power play ? the Mavericks goalie was screened on the play by the sprawled body of Blake Geoffrion, who had fallen down on the initial shot by Jaime McBain. Finally, it was Drewiske on the man-advantage, beating Zacharias five-hole from the top of the right faceoff circle.?The goals down the stretch are going to be the ones where you go to the net, you throw it at the nets, get some tips, some screens,? Johnson said. ?That?s what you need to do to win.?Not used to playing with the lead, and such a big one at that, UW relented a bit.?I think it was good experience for us too on how to handle playing with a lead,? Drewiske said. ?I don?t think we did a great job with it, but it?s experience.?With just under two minutes remaining in the second period, the Mavericks ended Connelly?s shutout bid.Fourth line forward Tom Gorowsky was trying to cover the back door on a Minnesota State rush. Instead, he kicked in the rebound with his skate. Geoff Irwin, who scored on a breakaway Friday, was credited with his second goal in as many nights.Jon Kalinski concluded the scoring for either side with a shorthanded goal little more than seven minutes into the final frame.For whatever reason, whether it was parents being in town or midterms, the Badgers didn?t come to the rink ready to play Friday night. So instead of playing aggressively, winning puck battles and finding a rhythm offensively from the get-go, Wisconsin was stuck trying to build its ?fire? throughout the game.?Our team did not gather the twigs, get the big logs and as a result, we were scrambling to build the fire as the game went along,? Eaves said. ?We were trying to build it the whole game and never got it done.?Minnesota State, meanwhile, didn?t lose the energy it had during its six-game winning streak and had 15 shots by the midway point of the first period.?We didn?t come out like a team fighting for our lives,? Connelly said. ?To come out in the biggest game of the year and really get worked in the first period was disappointing.?Within a span of 40 seconds, three Badgers received penalties ? Podge Turnbull?s 10-minute misconduct infraction didn?t deduct from the number of players on the ice ? giving Minnesota State an extended five-on-three.The Mavericks needed just 11 seconds to get one past Connelly, as Kael Mouillierat delivered a rebounding puck at the doorstep.UW began chipping away at the shot totals. The scoreboard, however, got worse.Credit Maverick Zach Harrison with the second goal of the game, but it was Badger defenseman Cody Goloubef who put it in the net. A shot by the sophomore center caromed off defenseman Craig Johnson?s stick and hit Connelly in the facemask. Connelly couldn?t find the handle on the airborne puck, so Goloubef hurriedly tried to flip it out of the crease. Only he hit it the wrong way, and Minnesota State had a 2-0 lead.?It just bounced around like a pinball with a few directional changes, and that?s kind of the way the bounces were going for us,? Connelly said. ?It was just a fluke goal.? Misfortune struck again a few minutes later. As Wisconsin?s power play wrapped up, a pass was sent out to defenseman Kyle Klubertanz at the point for a final look. Instead of a clean shot at Zacharias, Irwin ? who had just come out of the box ? got a clean shot on Connelly, as the puck bounced over Klubertanz? stick and into the neutral zone. He didn?t miss.It?s not like Wisconsin didn?t have its own fair share of chances. They were there; the finishes weren?t.last_img

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