COLUMBUS, Ohio — A pair of freshmen have replaced seniors on the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team’s power plays.
The Badgers and the Buckeyes play a two-game Big Ten Conference series in Columbus, Ohio.
Forward Brock Caufield and defenseman Ty Emberson were on the first and second power-play units, respectively, in last Saturday’s victory over Minnesota. They stayed in the groups during practice ahead of the Big Ten Conference series at No. 6 Ohio State that starts Friday.
Caufield replaced senior Will Johnson as the right-handed shot on the left side of the top unit. Emberson joined the second group as senior Matthew Freytag dropped out in a shuffle of the layout.
Sean Dhooghe moved to the net-front area on the second power play, putting left-handed shot Tarek Baker on the right side and giving Emberson, the only right-handed defenseman on the team, a chance on the left side. Josh Ess and Jack Gorniak are part of the second combination.
Before last Saturday, Emberson’s power-play time had been limited to some infrequent shifts near the end of the advantage.
“His ability and his simpleness of understanding the difference between forcing something and just making the simple play is why we’ve put him out there,” UW coach Tony Granato said.
The Badgers went three games without scoring a power-play goal before Dhooghe scored on a 4-on-3 advantage last Saturday.
For the season, UW is 9-for-43 (20.9 percent), 24th in the country. After being sixth in the country last season, Ohio State is 53rd so far this year at 11.6 percent.
Caught on video
Here’s Badgers freshman and Madison native Mick Messner talking about playing Ohio State and what last Saturday’s players-only meeting did for the team.
Three more things
• The Badgers largely got away with seeing what they didn’t want last weekend against Minnesota: wide-open, end-to-end play. Granato said this week that UW will again try to limit that against Ohio State. “And the disciplined part of staying out of the box and playing 5-on-5 will be key,” he said. “They’re a high-powered offensive team. The skilled players, you can bottle them up 5-on-5 and do a good job against them. But if you give them two or three power plays a period, they’re on the ice a lot in offensive situations. And then that carries over into 5-on-5.”
• The Buckeyes are 6-3-1 despite being only plus-1 in goal differential. The Badgers are 5-5 with a plus-4 margin.
• Daniel Lebedeff has two of his predecessors painted on his goalie mask. Who got the honors? Brian Elliott and Curtis Joseph, he said. If you look close enough, you can (kinda, sorta) make it out.
Put it in quotes
Granato, on playing Ohio State:
“It’s a big weekend. They’re a great team. They’re a team that we have to be excited about playing because it’s another opportunity for us to show where we’re at. I like the progress we’ve made. I’m real happy with the development of the kids.”
Here’s the projected Badgers lineup for Friday:
Max Zimmer – Seamus Malone – Brock Caufield
Jack Gorniak – Tarek Baker – Sean Dhooghe
Jason Dhooghe – Jarod Zirbel – Mick Messner
Roman Ahcan – Dominick Mersch – Will Johnson
Extra forward: Matthew Freytag
Wyatt Kalynuk – Tyler Inamoto
K’Andre Miller – Ty Emberson
Starting goalie: Daniel Lebedeff
In players-only meeting, Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team resets ‘before we’re too far in the hole’