Posted-January 19th, 2013 1:42 am
MADISON, Wis. - The climb continued for the Wisconsin men's hockey team on Friday as the Badgers (9-7-5, 6-5-5 WCHA) won for the seventh consecutive time and captured a 1-0 victory over No. 8 Miami (12-6-5, 8-4-4 CCHA) at the Kohl Center.
This time, sophomore Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.) scored to provide all the offense the Badgers needed as sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) stopped all 26 Miami shots for his third shutout of the season.
For the first time this season, the Badgers welcomed a ranked opponent into the Kohl Center. For the third time in three games, they knocked off a ranked opponent.
"You could feel in that locker room that the guys all knew who was coming in," Derek Lee (North Vancouver, British Columbia) said. "We knew they were going to come out hard and we're on this little bit of a roll right now and we needed to match what they brought to the table."
The RedHawks indeed proved the aggressors early on and dictated the tempo, outshooting UW 12-7 through the first period, including taking 23 shot attempts to just the 12 by UW.
"I thought their pace in the first period gave us fits," head coach Mike Eaves said. "We weren't prepared for that. They play a 200-foot game. They hunt down the puck, whether they have it or not, 200-feet, and that's what good hockey teams do."
Two of UW's seven shots on net in the first period came from LaBate, who had a pair of close-range opportunities to finish, but was denied by great saves from opposing goaltender Jay Williams.
Williams finished the night with 19 saves and dueled throughout the night in net with UW goalie Rumpel, as each seemed to have an answer and match for the impressive save of the other. But when the horn sounded, Rumpel (5-5-3) came out the victor.
After his 36-save performance last Saturday against Minnesota State, head coach Mike Eaves had a hunch Rumpel belonged in net to open the weekend series.
"He was sharp, he was precise in his movements, which lent itself to saying he's playing well and he's on top right now," Eaves said. "That was part of the reason he was back in the net tonight."
Rewarding the efforts of Rumpel was LaBate. The sophomore forward picked up a loose puck behind the UW goal, skated up the left side of the ice, gained the Miami blue line, then fired a wrist shot that found room between the body and glove arm of Miami's Williams for the game's only score. The unassisted tally came at 11:32 of the third period.
Collective group effort and production from unlikely sources has been the catalyst to the recent hot streak of the Badgers. Specifically, LaBate has come on as of late to produce for UW, scoring his fourth goal in his last eight games. In that span, the sophomore forward has also recorded at least one point in seven of the eight games.
UW's defense--No. 1 statistically in the WCHA in league games --shutout a ranked Miami team that averages 2.39 a contest.
"We're starting to feed off of each other and different guys are starting to show up every night," Rumpel said. "You saw it last weekend, with Jefferson Dahl's line giving us some offensive chances and tonight with LaBate stepping up. Everybody is going every night, which is nice to see and hard to play against."
Wisconsin will go again against Miami tomorrow night when it will look to extend its seven-game winning streak and 11-game unbeaten streak.