MSU upends Badgers hockey in thriller

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Wisconsin men’s hockey team (21-10-2 overall, 12-6-1-0 Big Ten) was unable to weather an offensive explosion from Michigan State on Friday, leading to a 5-4 overtime setback that dashed Wisconsin’s Big Ten championship hopes.

The Badgers entered the weekend needing to sweep Michigan State (11-16-7, 5-8-6-4 Big Ten) and have Michigan limit Minnesota to one total point in their series. Unfortunately, they would get neither of the necessary results, handing the inaugural Big Ten title to the Gophers.

Wisconsin never got on track on Friday. The two normally stout defensive squads combined to allow a surprising nine goals, with four of them coming in the first period when MSU took a 2-1 lead.

Wisconsin made a pair of comeback bids, with the first coming late in the second period, when back-to-back goals by Nic Kerdiles and Tyler Barnes pulled UW even at 3-all going into the final frame.

But Michigan State responded when Villiam Haag tallied the Spartans’ second power-play goal of the night, 2:27 into the final period.

Wisconsin had one more answer, though, and sent the game to overtime.

Alas, Michigan State’s Lee Reimer scored early in overtime, spoiling Wisconsin’s evening.

Badgers netminder Joel Rumpel allowed a season-high five goals on 32 attempts, while MSU’s Jake Hildebrand turned away 27 of Wisconsin’s 31 looks to get the win.

The Badgers return to the ice for the series and regular-season finale at 3 p.m. (CT) on Saturday. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Alternate channel.