Struggles in power play, on defense lay foundation for Wisconsin hockey’s loss to Michigan State

MADISON – The high provided by a win over the No. 1 team in the nation proved to be only a momentary respite for the Wisconsin men’s hockey team.

The Badgers, who defeated top-ranked Minnesota last Saturday, fell back into their season-long funk Friday night, allowing three first-period goals on the way to a 6-2 loss to Michigan State in front of 8, 416 at the Kohl Center.

The loss dropped UW to 11-20 overall and 4-17 in the Big Ten and marked the fifth straight time it failed when presented with the chance to win consecutive games. The contest also marked the ninth time the Badgers allowed five goals or more in a game.

Three of those contests came against the Spartans, who are ranked 17th in the nation in the USCHO poll and 14th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ranking. Michigan State has outscored UW, 16-3 in three games. Six players scored Friday for the Spartans, who raised its record to 16-15 overall scored its 34th point in Big Ten play.

“I give them a lot of credit for being a good, hard-working team, four lines that work hard and play the same way, first line through fourth line,” Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said. “They’ve got a lot more skill on some lines, but they play the same way, they play hard and they earned it tonight. They dug in.”

BOX SCORE:Michigan State 6, Wisconsin 2

The Spartans needed the win to strengthen their chance for getting home ice for the Big Ten playoffs. They finished the day in third place in the conference but have one game left