MADISON – The Wisconsin Badgers take the first game with a physical 3-1 victory over Minnesota Duluth.
UMD’s Dan DeLisle was able to add the first tally to the scoreboard, even though the Badgers controlled the first five minutes of play. Wisconsin answered with two goals in the second period by Nic Kerdiles and John Ramage, followed by a full-ice, empty-net goal by Mark Zengerle to seal the deal for the Badgers in the 3-1 win.
What I Saw
UMD struggled to maintain a solid duration of puck control for the majority of the game. The Dogs were pressured into their own zone and had difficulty trying to breakout. Special teams performed well, but UW was able to shutdown any chance for a clean shot to the net.
UW flew out of the gates, controlling the puck for not only the majority of the first period, but the game as well. The Badgers were able to win face-offs and come out with the puck in corner battles, which in turn allowed them to create scoring chances.
What I Thought
The Bulldogs failed to create optimal scoring chances like they’ve been in recent games. The usual scorers were forced to spend a large part of offensive time battling in the corners rather than setting up. The absence of Joe Basaraba due to illness sure didn’t help anything either.
The Badgers came to play; it is really as simple as that. They minimized errors and sloppy play, made crisp, cross-ice passes, and shutdown UMD’s powerplay by blocking lanes and not allowing UMD to get a shot to UW goalie Joel Rumpel. The Badgers were simply more prepared than the Bulldogs.
What They Said
Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said, “We came out with great energy, lots of shots and scoring chances.”
Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said, “This time of the year it comes down to goaltending and special teams. They won the special teams game.”
“I thought they were the stronger team tonight.”
What Else You Should Know
Tomorrow, UMD must pull out a win in order to keep their season moving forward. They are currently mathematically eliminated from the NCAA tournament, meaning the Broadmoor Trophy is the only ticket in.
Wisconsin’s penalty kill didn’t allow a goal during UMD’s three man-advantages. The Bulldogs have been operating over 40% on the powerplay as of the last few games.
Badger goaltender Joel Rumpel has six wins in his last seven outings.