Posted-March 21st, 2013 8:42 pm
Saint Paul, Minn. -- No. 14 Wisconsin (20-12-7) scored a season-high seven goals to roll past No. 8 Minnesota State (23-13-3) with a 7-2 win in the quarterfinal round of the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center Thursday afternoon. Eleven Badgers recorded points and Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) tallied 38 saves as UW earned recorded its 20th win of the season.
Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) scored twice and tallied an assist and Jefferson Dahl (Eau Claire, Wis.) added two short-handed goals as Wisconsin secured its place in tomorrow’s WCHA Final Five semifinal -- a meeting with top-seeded, MacNaughton Cup co-champion St. Cloud State (23-14-1).
Facing a do-or-die situation in Thursday's game, the Badgers played true to the postseason team motto to “Keep Rollin’."
The Badgers scored three goals in just over eight minutes to open the game before exchanging a pair of goals with the Mavericks in the second period. Two third-period tallies sealed the victory, which solidified Wisconsin's third 20-win season in the last four years and the seventh under Head Coach Mike Eaves.
UW's offensive explosion continued what has been a hot scoring stretch, during which the team has scored 29 goals over its last seven games. The Badgers are now 15-1-1 on the season when scoring at least three goals in a game, including 13 straight wins.
Minnesota State outshot the Badgers 40-27, including 10 shots on nine power-play opportunities. However, the Badgers were even on special teams play, scoring two short-handed goals to Minnesota State's two power-play goals.
Rumpel held strong in net for Wisconsin, picking up his 14th win of the season (14-8-4). MSU goaltender Stephon Williams made 14 saves in the loss; Phil Cook also made six saves for the Mavericks.
Barnes opened the scoring for Wisconsin just 1:03 into the game. The junior forward made a great individual play, stripping a Minnesota State player of the puck along the boards, tearing into the offensive zone on a partial breakaway, and ripping the puck past Williams.
A little over five minutes later, Dahl extended the Badgers’ lead, as the junior forward scored the first of his two short-handed tallies on the day to give Wisconsin a 2-0 lead at the 6:11 mark of the first period.
Just two minutes later, Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) beat Williams five-hole to extend the Badgers' lead to three. The tally extended Kerdiles' current points streak to nine games (3-11=14).
Dahl struck again at 8:50 of the second period with his second short-handed goal of the game. On a three-on-one break, Dahl skated up the right side and centered a pass to fellow Eau Claire, Wis., native, Jake McCabe, who immediately fed the puck back to Dahl. Dahl then buried his fourth goal in his last three games.
Dahl’s pair of short-handed goals marks the first time a Badger has recorded two short-handed goals in a game since 2009. Derek Stepan was the last to do it in a game against North Dakota on March 7, 2009.
With John Ramage (St. Louis) serving a five-minute major penalty for charging, Minnesota State capitalized on its third-straight power play. Zach Palmquist cut Wisconsin's lead to 4-1 at the 10:53 mark of the second period. When an MSU penalty made it 4-on-4, Barnes scored his seventh goal in his last 11 games and extended Wisconsin’s lead back to four at 5-1 at the 12:24 mark.
A little over a minute later, with time remaining on the Ramage penalty, MSU's Eriah Hayes buried a one-timer in front of net to narrow the deficit again to a three-goal Wisconsin lead, 5-2, at the 13:51 mark of the second period.
The Badgers blanked Minnesota State in the final frame and added goals by Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Minn.) and Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.) to seal the 7-2 victory.
Wisconsin continues its quest for the Broadmoor Trophy against St. Cloud State at 2 p.m. CT tomorrow. The matchup will broadcast live on Fox Sports North.
(Copyright Associated Press)