Chestnut Hill, MA- Conte Forum played host to a marquee matchup. The #10 Wisconsin Badgers made a rare east coast trip to play the #13 Boston College Eagles on Friday night. These national contenders staged a brutal battle that saw a young Eagles team hang with an older Badgers unit. But the game did not start well for either side.
The first five minutes were sloppy. Neither side found their footing or got a shot on goal for the opener. Ultimately, BC only fired eight shots and Wisconsin only had five in the first period. The score did not reflect the low shot total, nor did the physical tone. With just under three minutes in the first, BC turned the puck over badly in the neutral zone. Linus Weissbach moved the puck ahead, and Trent Frederic beat Joseph Woll for a 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute after the goal, BC pushed the puck the other way. Kyle Hayton covered the puck and a major scrum ensued. Four men ended up in the penalty box and Trent Frederic served a two-minute hitting after the whistle penalty.
BC took the power play and evened the game on a Graham McPhee circle shot. The game went to the first intermission tied 1-1.
Wisconsin jumped out of the gate and controlled the entire 2nd period. Tarek Baker won a faceoff, got the puck to Tim Davison, and the senior whistled it by Woll for a 2-1 Badgers lead. Wisconsin got two chances on the power play and had six shots on the advantage. BC killed off the penalties, but. they could not stop all the chances. Will Johnson tracked down a puck to the right corner boards. He threw it towards Woll’s crease, and Seamus Malone redirected it in for a 3-1 Wisconsin lead. BC did get chances, shooting 12 times on goal, by St. Lawrence alum and new Badger goaltender Kyle Hayton stopped all 12 BC shots in the 2nd.
The Badgers did not let up in the third either. Matthew Freytag beat Woll from the right circle and gave Wisconsin a 4-1 lead just five minutes into the third. BC turned on the afterburners, firing 11 shots on Hayton and getting several Grade A chances.
The Eagles cut into the lead when two freshmen combined for a goal. Chris Grando took a pass from Logan Hutsko for their first goal and assist respectively. That made it a 4-2 game with 9:01 left to go. BC carried the play from there on, but could not beat Hayton. BC pulled Woll with 1:20 left, but could not cut the lead down with the extra attacker. Tarek Baker put home an empty net goal and the Badgers walked out of Conte Forum with a 5-2 victory over the Eagles.
Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato was happy with his team’s efforts, despite the sloppy start.
“There’s gonna be turnovers in this game. But I thought we handled it well and skated nicely with a fast team. 2 weeks into the season you’ll have things to work on, like our power play, but we handled the game well and came out ahead.”
Hayton made 29 saves. The Badgers had a poor showing on the power play, going 0-6 with seven shots. They skate away 3-1-0 overall and will continue their road trip tomorrow. They go to North Andover to play the Merrimack College Warriors at Lawler Rink. Puck drops at 7 pm.
Despite the poor showing, Eagles head coach Jerry York had some positives. BC won the faceoffs 38-25, scored on their only power play, and showed plenty of fight in the final minutes, down 4-2.
“We had to address the concern of ‘where’s our offense coming from?’ We moved the puck and created some great chances. You have to finish them off, but this is a good barometer for where we’re at.”
Boston College did take eight penalties and gave Wisconsin seven power plays, but they killed off every power play. Logan Hustko got seven shots on goal, leading all skaters, and got his first collegiate assist. But Woll had a subpar night, giving up four goals on 21 shots faced. BC will look to turn it around on Sunday. Still looking for their first victory, they travel to Providence for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Friars. Puck drops at 5 pm.