MADISON, Wis. — Much like they did Friday night, the Wisconsin Badgers dominated the New Hampshire Wildcats in Saturday’s game, en route to a 6-1 victory at the Kohl Center.
UW coach Mike Eaves talked Friday night about needing to score more goals than they had in previous Saturday games, and the Badgers did just that, posting three goals in each of the second and third periods.
“I think this would be, if we want to talk about a game, we would use this game as an example,” Eaves said. “I think it would be a good example to use this game as the way we want to play (and) the way we need to play.”
The Badgers (3-2-1, 1-2-1 WCHA) were led offensively by sophomore forward Jordy Murray, who netted a pair of goals in the second period as well as an assist on UW’s final goal in the third.
The Faribault, Minn., native got things going in the second period with a power-play goal at the 2:54 mark when he tipped in a pass from junior defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Wisconsin struck again 1:30 later when senior forward Ben Grotting took a centering pass from linemate Sean Dolan to put the Badgers up 2-0.
The play was set up by defenseman Brendan Smith’s hard work to keep the Wildcats from having a scoring opportunity on the other end. Smith then got the puck to Dolan behind the net, who found Grotting for the goal.
Just 1:20 later, the Badgers lit the lamp again, the second off the stick of Murray, who took advantage of a UNH mistake.
The Wildcats (2-4-1, 2-0-0 Hockey East) turned it over in their own zone and Murray stole the puck near the blue line and scored top shelf on the glove side of UNH goaltender Brian Foster, giving the Badgers their third goal in three minutes.
“They blew it open there in the second period,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “I thought we were battling and we were playing better in the second period, (but) that blew it open, and we added to our own problems along with their skill and their speed.”
Umile quickly called a timeout following the Badgers’ third goal, which settled the team down for the remainder of the second period. Wisconsin was not done scoring, however.
The Badgers came back out and put up their fourth goal of the game at the 7:18 mark when defenseman John Ramage fired a slap shot off Foster’s glove and into the net on Smith’s second of three assists of the night.
Wisconsin’s fourth goal prompted Umile to remove Foster in favor of backup goaltender Matt DiGirolamo.
“We obviously are not in this team’s league, that’s for sure,” Umile said of the Badgers. “We got a lesson this weekend.”
DiGirolamo did not fare much better, though, allowing a goal 5:30 after coming off the bench. The Badgers crashed the net on a shot by senior forward Aaron Bendickson and when it bounced off the UNH goaltender, Dolan put it away to make it 5-0 for Wisconsin.
The Wildcats finally found the scoreboard at the 15:07 mark in the third when sophomore forward Stevie Moses put back a rebound from Mike Borisenok, cutting the UW lead to 5-1.
Wisconsin goaltender Scott Gudmandson did not allow another goal on the night, though, stopping 21 of the Wildcats’ 22 shots on goal.
“I thought I played pretty well; you know, the guys do a good job in front of me,” Gudmandson said. “They blocked a ton of shots in front of me, so that made it easy.”
Finally, the Badgers capped off their scoring with a late goal by senior forward Michael Davies, his first of the season. Eaves noted he hoped it would help Davies blossom for the rest of the season after getting that “monkey off his back.”
With the win, Wisconsin earned the sweep over UNH and showed just how dangerous its deep offensive attack can be, scoring six goals on a night when its top line (Andy Bombach, Blake Geoffrion and Patrick Johnson) had just one assist and no goals.
“It’s good growth for us in so many ways,” Eaves said. “When you win, you get a little jump in your step and you definitely have a confidence in coming back to practice. Guys will be willing to work hard and listen because they’ve had success. It sets us up well for next week.”