MADISON, Wisconsin. — The Trinity Western University men’s hockey team opened the New Year with a 1-0 loss to NCAA Div. I Wisconsin Badgers, Friday afternoon at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc.
“We played quite well considering we had not have a game in almost a month. It’s tough to get up to game speed against a Big Ten team like Wisconsin,” commented TWU head coach Barret Kropf. “Our penalty kill was strong again, and our power play was good, but had a little bit of difficulty with the bigger ice.”
“We build from here. The guys have gained a lot of confidence coming in here and playing a solid game against a Big Ten school. We have been treated very well here and we are very appreciative of everything Wisconsin has done for us.”
Spartan goalie Silas Matthys was impressive between the pipes for TWU as he held Wisconsin off of the score sheet for much of the game as he finished 48 saves on the afternoon. “Silas played in his typical fashion making big saves and keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win,” said Kropf.
Wisconsin heavily controlled possession throughout the contest and outshot the Spartans by 32, but it took more than 40 minutes for UW to find the back of the net.
Patrick Sexton finally gave the Badgers the only offense they needed with his first goal in a Badger uniform at the 2:44 mark of the third period.
After Seamus Malone won the offensive zone faceoff, Sexton got the puck at the point and floated a shot past the glove hand of TWU goaltender Silas Matthys. The freshman had his first career point with an assist against Arizona State on Oct. 31. Malone, who is second on the Badgers with his 13 points, picked up an assist on the lone goal.
Despite scoring just one goal, Wisconsin had plenty of opportunities, peppering Matthys with 49 shots, including 18 in the third period.
Grant Besse had a chance to extend the UW lead when he was sprung loose on a short-handed breakaway with a little less than eight minutes gone in the third period. But after getting behind the Spartans defense and collecting the pass at the blue line, Besse had his wrister pushed aside by Matthys, one of his 47 saves.
Matthys had several other big saves throughout the game to keep TWU within striking distance. A little more than seven minutes into the first period, Matthys managed a kick save on Kevin Schulze shot from just right of the goal mouth and covered up the ensuing rebound before it went over the goal line.
Even with a handful of missed opportunities on quality scoring chances, UW’s goaltending duo of freshmen Matt Jurusik and Gabe Grunwald shut down the Spartans to give Wisconsin its second consecutive shutout. Jurusik played the first half of the game and made six saves, all of which came in the first period. Grunwald then replaced Jurusik halfway through the second, marking the first game time of his career. He made 11 saves in the final period and a half.
The exhibition contest also allowed the opportunity for Alex Shuchuk to see the first game time of his career.
Trinity Western will finish their Midwest tour tomorrow afternoon against Nebraska-Omaha, while Wisconsin resumes conference play next weekend when it hosts Ohio State for its first home Big Ten series of the season.
Game Notes: Wisconsin finished with 49 shots on goal to TWU’s 17… The Spartans were 0-3 on the power play, while the Badgers were 0-2…The Badgers had a 40-18 advantage in the Faceoff circle…