By Joshua Kummins
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Hockey can be a strange game.
Boston College head coach Jerry York liked the way his team played Wisconsin on Friday night at Conte Forum, but the puck had other plans. It bounced in Wisconsin’s favor, goaltender Kyle Hayton stood tall with 29 saves, and thus, the result was a 5-2 loss for the hosts.
“Despite the loss, there were a lot of encouraging things from my vantage point,” said York, whose team held a 31-22 shooting advantage, killed off all six penalties and scored on its only power play. “One of the things we thought we had to address this year was, ‘Where’s our offense going to come from?’ A lot of young forwards, but we moved pucks tonight and created some outstanding chances to score goals.”
The first period was physical, but fell short in the goal column until the teams traded markers in the final three minutes. Wisconsin drew first blood at the 17:17 marker as Boston Bruins prospect Trent Frederic took rookie linemate Linus Weissbach’s feed and sent a wrist shot past fellow St. Louis native Joseph Woll.
The Eagles answered quickly in the form of sophomore Graham McPhee’s first goal of the season ― a power-play wrister from the left circle ― at 18:51.
Hayton was equal to BC’s steady stream of offense through the first half of the second period, but the Badgers were the opportunistic side, scoring on back-to-back shots on goal to take a two-goal lead for the first time in the game.
Defenseman Tim Davison’s shot from above the right circle untied the game at 1:13 into the second period, while Will Johnson fed Seamus Malone with a brilliant pass from the left corner to the net front, giving the Badgers a 3-1 advantage at 12:04.
“That’s a fast team that causes turnovers with their speed and quickness,” Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato said. “We did make some mistakes that you’d like to clean up, but Kyle was there to cover for us. … I thought our group of D played really well, and we made some plays in the offensive zone, especially in the second period, to get that lead there.”
The Badgers received offense from their fourth line 5:12 into the third period too, when junior Matthew Freytag ripped a shot from the right side off the post and past Woll.
From there, the Eagles turned up the pressure and eventually cut their deficit back to two goals as freshman Logan Hutsko hit Chris Grando outside the left circle at 10:59. Hayton stopped 10 of the 11 third-period shots he faced to preserve UW’s third win through four games.
“This game was a pretty good indicator to me that we’re going to have a pretty good club. A good, solid effort,” York said. “We put the three freshmen (Grando, Aapeli Rasanen and Hutsko) together and we were wondering how it was going to work out, but I thought they were a dominant line on the ice tonight. They made things happen.”
The visitors finished off the win with freshman Tarek Baker’s empty-net goal at 19:10.