The first five goals of the game were scored by the home team, and Wisconsin (13-18-1) throttled No. 9 Arizona State (22-11-3) on Saturday night by a final of 6-2 at the Kohl Center.
In the final regular season game of the year, the Sun Devils came out in trouble from the opening puck drop. Wisconsin went up 2-0 in less than six minutes.
First, Badger freshman forward Owen Lindmark jammed a puck past ASU sophomore goaltender Evan DeBrouwer from the side of the net, then Wisconsin freshman forward Cole Caufield buried a shot from a tight angle while DeBrouwer was sprawled out in the crease.
After 20 minutes, the Sun Devils found themselves down 2-0 and Wisconsin wasn’t letting up from there.
In the second period, the Badgers tallied three more goals, as sophomore forward Roman Ahcan, who had five points the night prior, deposited the third goal of the evening off a drop pass from freshman forward Alex Turcotte to make it 3-0.
It was nearly a mirror image of the same rush and goal that the duo of Turcotte and Ahcan produced the night prior, too.
ASU graduate transfer Max Prawdzik would come into the game to replace DeBrouwer, and carry on between the pipes through the rest of the game.
Then at the 6:47 mark of the second, senior forward Max Zimmer roofed a shot on the power play to make it 4-0 in Zimmer’s final home game in Madison.
Down the homestretch, things got ugly while the Sun Devils were facing a hefty deficit. ASU ended up racking up 57 penalty minutes, including three game misconducts, in the final portion of Saturday’s contest.
For a team that had been on a roll coming into the weekend, the final two-game slate was a tough end to the regular season for ASU, and it had shades of last year’s final two games at Minnesota, when the Devils’ were swept by the Golden Gophers by finals of 5-1 and 5-2.
Offensively, ASU’s only two goals came courtesy of senior forward Steen Pasichnuk and freshman defenseman Jack Judson.
Wisconsin outshot its opponent 42-32, and they went on to hand the No. 9 team in the nation two losses.
Now with nearly a month until the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, it’s likely going to be a time of unrest for ASU.
They still have odds in their favor, but they no longer control their own destiny. With a win or two this weekend, ASU could have virtually been a lock for the postseason.
However, because of the two losses at the Kohl Center, they will now likely be keeping an eye on multiple games around the country for the coming month.
After the loss, the Sun Devils dropped to No. 13 in the PairWise rankings, and according to a College Hockey News Pairwise Matrix, ASU still holds a 93 percent chance to make the tourney as an at-large bid.
It’s now a waiting game. The selection show is on Sunday, March 22.