No. 1 Badgers finish season as NCAA runners-up

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Despite outshooting Clarkson 41-20, the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team fell to the No. 2 Golden Knights, 3-0, in the NCAA championship game on Sunday at The Family Arena.

The Badgers (33-4-4) dominated possession, but Clarkson (32-4-5) tallied a power-play goal in the second period before scoring twice in the third.

“As I told the team, we are disappointed with the outcome,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “But the kids played hard, played well, they created opportunities. I’m very proud of their effort, especially our senior class who for four years have done so much to help our program grow and have obviously won a lot of hockey games and created a lot of great memories for our team. It’s a tough pill to swallow. When you lose this game, you’re so close to the end. But I told them too as time goes on and you reflect on the season, it’s a special group, a special season and they are going to have some great memories to reflect on, so I’m certainly proud of that.”

“I think hockey has a funny way of humbling you,” said junior Annie Pankowski, who was named to the all-tournament team. “When you think you’re doing well and you have all the things going the right way, it reminds you that not everything is perfect. I’m really proud of this group and we laid it out there. You can’t ask for much more.”

Clarkson opened up scoring in the second period with a power-play goal from Savannah Harmon 27 seconds into the frame.

CU’s Cayley Mercer doubled the CU lead with less than three minutes remaining before scoring an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to go.

Senior goaltender and 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner Ann-Renée Desbiens made 17 saves in the contest to complete her historic season. Desbiens finished the season leading the NCAA in goals-against average (0.71), save percentage (.963), win percentage (.886) and shutouts (17).

Desbiens departs Wisconsin as the NCAA career record holder for shutouts with 55, a 0.90 goals-against average and save percentage with a .955 clip.

Sunday’s game marked the end of a remarkable season for the Badgers, as UW captured the WCHA regular season and tournament titles while advancing to the NCAA title game for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

“It was a great way to go out, but unfortunately when you don’t win your last game it’s a little bit of a disappointment,” senior captain Sydney McKibbon said. “This is going to sting definitely for a while, being so close, and I thought we played a great game, but it’s definitely going to take a while to process. The group played well today, we had a great group all year and so thanks to them.

(uwbadgers.com)

2OT loss to Penn State ends Wisconsin’s storybook season

DETROIT – The 2016-17 Wisconsin men’s hockey team was within one goal of a Big Ten tournament title and an NCAA bid, but despite outshooting Penn State 52-35 over more than four periods of play, the Badgers fell, 2-1, to the Nittany Lions on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

The game ends a season that saw Wisconsin (20-15-1) reach 20 wins and runner-up finishes in the Big Ten regular season and tournament after combining for 12 victories the prior two years.

“We took a great jump,” sophomore captain Luke Kunin said. “We put Wisconsin hockey back on the map where it should be. We even feel like it should be higher than we are right now. I think it was a great turn in the right direction for our program.”

Liam Folkes scored both goals for Penn State (24-11-2), including the winner on a breakaway 6:43 into double overtime to end the night.

Folkes gave PSU a lead at 15:37 of the first period, shortly after an expiring power play, to make it 1-0.

Even play through the first two periods gave way to Badger dominance for the third period as they looked to tie. The Badgers held an 18-5 shot advantage in the third period, and got the equalizer when Matt Ustaski poked home a rebound for a power-play goal at 11:45.

The game stayed scoreless the rest of regulation.

Wisconsin earned the lone power play of the overtimes, but failed to convert. Among the chances in the overtimes for the Badgers were a Trent Frederic crossbar, a pair of Matthew Freytag one-timers and a Malone back-door play, among others.

“Our guys played their hearts out. We had lots of chances, we made good shots on too, but they couldn’t find their way in,” head coach Tony Granato said. “Some games you battle and play like crazy and get great chances and they don’t go in.”

However, it was Folkes with the lone breakaway of the overtimes, and he found the net for the winner.

Freshman goaltender Jack Berry made 33 saves in the loss, while PSU’s Peyton Jones stopped 51 of 52 Badgers’ shots.

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin overcomes fouls, turnovers to knock off defending champion Villanova

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig played much of the second half with four fouls apiece, but Wisconsin’s defense held to knock off top-seeded Villanova 65-62 Saturday afternoon.

It’s the fourth time in seven years the Wildcats have lost in the round of 32 while being seeded No. 1 or No. 2. Previous early exits came in 2015 (No. 1 seed), 2014 (No. 2 seed), and 2010 (No. 2 seed).

The Badgers turned the ball over 14 times. but shot 53.1 percent from the field as part of a complete effort against a Wildcat team that struggled from the field early on. They converted on just 30 percent of their shots in the first half. Wisconsin had double-digit efforts from four players in the win, led by Nigel Hayes’ 19 points and eight rebounds.

A problem for much of the regular season, Wisconsin struggled at the free throw line against Villanova (6-of-18, 43.8 percent), but they’ve now reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year. Wisconsin faces the winner between (5)Virginia and (4)Florida.

 

Wisconsin beats Ohio State, advances to B1G Tournament finale

DETROIT—Headed into the Big Ten tournament, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team knew what they had to do in order to make the NCAA tournament and that was to win the championship. The first step was accomplished on Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

The No. 2-seeded Badgers (20-14-1) took down third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (21-11-6) in a tightly-contested game by a score of 2-1, advancing UW into the championship game on Saturday night.

“I think today’s game is what you want to see in college hockey,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I think every inch of ice was battled for and it was two teams that understood what was available to them. I thought our guys played one of their most solid games of the year.”

The first period was evenly played, with Wisconsin having a slight 7-6 shot advantage. Luke Kunin opened the scoring 17 minutes into the frame after collecting a rebound in front of the goal and firing it passed OSU goaltender Matt Tomkins. The captain’s 22nd goal of the year was assisted by JD Greenway and Tim Davison.

Thanks to the goal, the Badgers held a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission. Jack Berry, who made several key saves in the beginning of the period, finished with six stops in the stanza.

“When Matt (Jurusik) went down and Jack (Berry) had to step in the first time, I think that’s when we realized he was an amazing goalie and he’s been stepping it up ever since,” Will Johnson said.

The Cardinal and White looked to build a lead in the second period, but Ohio State’s top-ranked power play capitalized on a Ryan Wagner tripping penalty on Dakota Joshua’s 12th goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:12 remaining in the middle frame.

Despite giving up a goal, the Badgers limited Ohio State to just 13 shots through the first two periods while holding a 22-13 shot advantage in that time period.

With UW’s season on the line heading into the third period, Johnson netted his 10th goal of the year just 1:30 into the final period of regulation to put the Badgers up 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish. The sophomore forward slotted the puck into an empty net following a great pass from Seamus Malone. Senior Aidan Cavallini also added his sixth assist of the season on the game-winning goal.

“It all started with him (Malone) winning the face-off and we were able to get the puck out of the defensive zone,” Johnson said. “That first move he made around the defenseman was unbelievable and him getting the puck over to me, I just had to tap the puck in.”

The Buckeyes continued to push for a tying goal but a five-minute major and game misconduct assessed to defenseman Josh Healey with 2:28 remaining in the game gave the Badgers a five-minute power play. UW was able to pass around the puck for most of the extended power play and saw out the rest of the game without any threat towards their net.

Berry finished with 23 saves on 24 shots in the game.

With the win, Wisconsin improved to 16-1-1 when scoring first.

“At the beginning of the week, we just talked about sticking to the game plan and wearing the other team out,” Kunin said. “We were able to do that for all three periods and everyone bought in to what we had to do in order to be successful tonight.”

(uwbadgers.com)

Bronson Koenig’s 28 points, 8 three-ptr’s leads Wisconsin to win over Viginia Tech

BUFFALO, N.Y. | Wisconsin senior Bronson Koenig wasn’t about to let Thursday night’s NCAA first round game vs. Virginia Tech be his final game in a Badgers uniform. Koenig scored a game-high 28 points and hit 8 of 17 three-pointers to lead the Badgers to an 84-74 win over the Hokies. Wisconsin (26-9) will play top-seeded Villanova (32-3) in the second round Saturday at approximately 1:40 p.m. CT on CBS. The defending national champion Wildcats advanced with a 76-56 win over No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s earlier on Thursday.

Koenig hit 3 of 8 three-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half to help UW build a four-point lead. He was even better in the second half when he hit 5 of 9 three-pointers.

Koenig got some help from his friends especially senior Nigel Hayes who hit 8 consecutive free throws, many coming in some key moments late in the second half. Hayes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Khalil Iverson also provided solid play off the bench. Playing less than a week after two of his cousins were shot to death in Columbus, Ohio, Iverson scored 11 points and added 7 rebounds in 21 minutes.  It was his best performance of the season.

 

UW, which has had problems hitting free throws at times this season, finished 19 of 25 from the line (76.0%). The Badgers built a four-point halftime lead without sophomore Ethan Happ for the final 10:13 after Happ picked up his second foul. Wisconsin also played without senior Zak Showalter for the final five minutes of the game after Showalter fouled out on a questionable call.  Fortunately for Showalter it was not the end to his Badgers career as his teammates held off the Hokies and advanced to Saturday’s second round to face the defending champs.

Wisconsin Pro Day results and observations

MADISON, Wis. — 12 former University of Wisconsin football players took part in the annual pro day held at the McClain Center hoping to make one final impact ahead of the NFL Draft.

For the third year in a row, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was in Madison scouting potential new talent for the roster. Of particular interest was linebacker T.J. Watt, who many draft analysts believe would be a legitimate option for Green Bay with the 29th overall selection. But there were plenty of other Wisconsin prospects, as well…

Biggest winners

RB Corey Clement: Clement took part in every drill but the bench press after a less-than-stellar NFL Scouting Combine performance. His biggest area of improvement was in the 40-yard dash, where Clement clocked in at 4.54 seconds — a significant improvement over his official 4.68 from Indianapolis. His vertical jump increased from 28.5 inches to 32, while his broad jump was five inches better at 120 inches.

“I came back from the combine and I was so down on myself,” Clement said. “I was like, ‘That’s not me, that’s not a reflection of who I am and what I can run.’ …If you’re in a groove and you’re having a positive day, I think everything is going to reflect [that].”

S Leo Musso: While he didn’t get a chance to compete at the combine, Musso proved that height is only a number. He posted impressive figures in the vertical jump (40.5 inches), broad jump (128 inches), three-cone drill (6.56 seconds) and several others, proving he should have gotten an invite to Indianapolis.

WR Rob Wheelwright: Perhaps Wheelwright falls into the same category. Like Musso, he would have ranked in the top five in multiple drills among receivers had he competed at the combine. Wheelwright’s best efforts were in the 40-yard dash (4.54 seconds), vertical jump (38 inches), and broad jump (128.5 inches).

“I showed I can run well, I can move, I can catch, and I can jump,” Wheelwright told reporters after his workout. “That’s what you need to be — athletic. But you also need to be able to know the game.”

Wheelwright noted that a handful of teams showed interest in him at the pro day, including the Packers, Raiders, and Chiefs.

Here’s a look at the official figures, courtesy of the Badgers:

Other notes and observations

Linebacker T.J. Watt mainly worked on position drills for team scouts, and as Jared Tokarz put it, the Packers were “very impressed” by what they saw from Watt during his pro day.

Left tackle Ryan Ramczyk didn’t take part in any of the on-field work and simply used his time to meet with prospective teams. At the conclusion of the workouts, all former Badgers were available for media interviews, except for Ramczyk who left for a private lunch with an unnamed NFL team representative.

Michigan tops Wisconsin in Big Ten title game 71-56

WASHINGTON — Derrick Walton, Jr. led the Michigan Wolverines to their first Big Ten tournament championship Sunday afternoon, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 71-56.

Walton was a focal point for the Badgers defensively, but he still managed a game-high 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He added six rebounds and seven assists, while Bronson Koenig finished with 15 points for Wisconsin.

Koenig was an important piece for a Wisconsin team that battled back from a 10-point deficit to get within one point before halftime. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they’d come out of halftime to go nearly eight minutes without a field goal. The Badgers struggled shooting, despite grabbing 13 rebounds on the offensive glass.

Nigel Hayes added 14 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin drops season finale vs Ohio State 3-1

MADISON, Wis  Saturday night at the Kohl Center was filled with celebration, as four seniors were honored, all alumni were recognized and the 1977 NCAA championship team celebrated its 40th anniversary.

However, the Badgers (19-14-1, 12-8-0-0 Big Ten) were unable to finish the evening with a happy mood as they were defeated by Ohio State (20-10-6, 11-8-1-1) by a 3-1 score at the Kohl Center.

“The effort was there. I wouldn’t question our effort yesterday either,” head coach Tony Granato said. “I question the fact that we came out a little bit, waiting to see what was going to happen instead of trying to dictate how the game’s going to be played.”

OSU began the scoring just 2:46 into the first period on a power-play goal from Mason Jobst, his 18th of the year.

The Badgers looked to quickly respond, but they were outshot during the period, 10-7, and headed into the first intermission trailing by one.

Jack Berry made nine saves in the opening stanza.

The Buckeyes grabbed control of the game in the second period, adding a second goal 10:42 into the period on Kevin Miller’s 11th of the season.

Wisconsin wasn’t able to capitalize on two power plays during the period and were put in a three-goal hole on the latter man-advantage as Brendon Kearney scored a short-handed goal to make it 3-0 in favor of the Buckeyes with just over two minutes to play in the second.

“It’s pretty tough when they’re blocking a lot of shots. I think they had 20 plus shots this game,” Ryan Wagner said. “It’s kind of what coach said between the second and third periods, just throw a little fake in there and if another guy comes to block it throw it off the back wall. We can’t really be giving them all of those blocks like that because they build off that.”

In terms of shots on goal, the third period was the strongest for the Badgers, as they outshot OSU 10-5. Matt Ustaski seemed to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-1 after he beat Tomkins. However, the play was challenged and ruled offside, nullifying the marker.

Luke Kunin was eventually able to make it 3-1 on a power-play goal 11:37 into the final period. The captain finished off a cross-ice feed from Cameron

Hughes for his 21st of his sophomore campaign. Trent Frederic also earned an assist on the play.

The Cardinal and White continued to push for goals but they were unable to find the back of the net, falling 3-1 in their regular-season finale.

Berry finished with 25 saves on 28 shots on the evening.

“I mean obviously it’s disappointing,” Kunin said. “It’s not the way we wanted the weekend to go, but our group’s bounced back all year and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs but I believe in this group and what we can accomplish.”

The Big Ten tournament starts next weekend in Detroit and the Badgers will be the second seed in the single-elimination championship. UW will play on Friday, March 17 against the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. CT. Those two will play on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

The Big Ten championship games takes place Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m. CT.

(uwbadgers.com)

Wisconsin routs Northwestern to advance to B1G title game

WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin men’s basketball team took advantage of a weary Northwestern squad to pick up a 76-48 win Saturday in a Big Ten tournament semifinal game.

The Wildcats had just come off a late night battle with Maryland, and the fatigue showed all game long. The Badgers’ defense was suffocating at times, forcing 12 turnovers, converting those miscues into 11 points. But the Northwestern defense was strong at times, too, forcing Wisconsin into 29 three-point attempts on the day. But the Badgers took advantage, knocking down 12 (41.4 percent) of them.

Nigel Hayes was the high point man, delivering 18 for the Badgers, along with 10 rebounds. Ethan Happ finished with 16 points and eight boards as a complement to Wisconsin’s outside shooting. The Badgers got 22 of their points in the paint, as compared with the Wildcats’ 16.

Wisconsin advances to the Big Ten tournament finale where they’ll meet Michigan Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The Wolverines will be playing their fourth game in as many days — a factor that would seem to benefit the Badgers, given the result against Northwestern. It’s Wisconsin’s third appearance in the conference title game in the last five years.

Buckeyes steamroll Badgers 5-1

MADISON, Wis. — Goaltending proved to be the difference as Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 5-1 at the Kohl Center Friday night.

The Badgers outshot the Buckeyes 29-17 but the Buckeyes’ Matt Tomkins stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Wisconsin, on the other hand, was forced to roll with the struggling Jack Berry due to an injury suffered in the second period by Matt Jurusik.

About five minutes into the contest, penalties by both teams equaled two minutes of four-on-four play, where Wisconsin seemed to have the upper hand in terms of possession. But lazy passing by the Badgers nearly resulted in turnovers on two occasions during the power play. That lack of discipline also meant a couple missed chances at shots on goal.

But it didn’t take long for Ohio State to take advantage of Wisconsin’s miscues. 8:54 into the first period, Miguel Fidler’s pass was deflected off a Wisconsin player and cleaned up by Drew Brevig , who found the net while surrounded by white jerseys. It only took three minutes for the score to become lopsided in the Buckeyes’ favor. David Gust scored his 16th goal of the year just seconds after the puck was dropped for a faceoff in Wisconsin’s zone.

The second period was more of the same, as Dakota Joshua scored with 12:56 left before intermission to make it 3-0 Ohio State. That appeared to end Berry’s night, replaced by Jurusik. But after the Badgers struck back on a Matt Ustaski power play goal, Jurusik would leave the game with an injury and Berry would re-enter the game.

Berry’s nightmare continued at the 14:22 mark after Fidler showed his play-making ability on a deke move to give the Buckeyes a 4-1 lead. The Kohl Center crowd went silent after realizing Wisconsin is just 5-9-0 when opponents score four or more goals. Down by three, the Badgers are facing a 1-10-1 record when trailing after two periods.

Wisconsin tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but a goal was disallowed because of a J.D. Greenway penalty on the Badger end of the ice. The last time Wisconsin had overcome a three-goal deficit was Feb. 6, 2004 against North Dakota. To make matters worse, the Buckeyes tacked on another goal just moments later when Mason Jobst found the back of the net on a power play.

Frustrations came to a head with 5:25 remaining when Seamus Malone received a five-minute major penalty for spearing and a game disqualification.