Four University of Wisconsin men's hockey players are out of the lineup for Saturday's game against Arizona State, and sources said there has been a positive coronavirus test among them.
Forwards Roman Ahcan, Tarek Baker, Dominick Mersch and Ty Pelton-Byce weren't on the Badgers' line chart for the game. A team spokesperson said only that they were unavailable for Saturday and wouldn't confirm that it was related to a positive COVID-19 test or potential exposure to someone who tested positive.
Pelton-Byce has missed the last three games because of a concussion. It was unclear which player in the group tested positive and which ones were being held out because of close contact.
The absence of Ahcan, Baker, Mersch and Pelton-Byce depletes the Badgers' forward corps. Already missing center Dylan Holloway, who's riding out a pause at Canada's World Junior Championship evaluation camp in Alberta because of undisclosed positive COVID-19 tests, UW was down to nine forwards available Saturday.
Defensemen Shay Donovan and Luke LaMaster were listed as forwards on the line chart.
The Badgers also have games scheduled Sunday against Arizona State, Thursday and Friday at Ohio State and Dec. 8-9 at Michigan State before a break for exams and the holidays.
The Big Ten's return-to-play plan requires players who test positive in a daily antigen scan to get a PCR test to confirm the result. Another positive there means the player is out for a minimum of 21 days, a time during which he or she undergoes cardiac testing.
Under Big Ten protocols, teams have to stop practices and games for a minimum of seven days if a seven-day rolling average of positive tests is greater than 5% and more than 7.5% of the team's close-contact population are positive for the virus. Some lower percentages require schools to consider pauses or alterations to practices and meetings.
The Badgers football team has had two games canceled because of its own positive test rates. Saturday's game against Minnesota was wiped out because of high rates with the Gophers.
The men's hockey team was put on pause from preseason activities in September because of what coach Tony Granato said was a "spike" of cases. Sophomore forward Cole Caufield later said he was one of about a half-dozen players from the team to test positive during the offseason.
The early weeks of the NCAA hockey season have been marked by fluid scheduling because of COVID-19-related pauses. Nine of 61 Division I men's teams have opted out from the season altogether or, in the case of Ivy League schools, had their multi-sport league cancel winter play.
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