March 29-30 No. 8 Wisconsin will open the 2013 NCAA Tournament as the No. 4 seed in the Northeast Region and face top-seeded and third-ranked UMass Lowell (26-10-2) in a regional semifinal on Friday, March 29, at 3:30 p.m. CT in Manchester, N.H.
Should the Badgers (22-12-7, 13-8-7 WCHA) win, they would advance to the Northeast Regional final on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. CT to face the winner between No. 3 seed Denver (20-13-5) and No. 2 seed and host school New Hampshire (19-11-7). The winner of the Northeast Regional final advances to the 2013 Frozen Four, set for April 11 and 13 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Wisconsin enters the national tournament as the 2013 WCHA Final Five champion, having won six-straight games and going 21-5-5 since Nov. 30.
Game 42 | #8 Wisconsin (22-12-7) vs #3 UMass Lowell (26-10-2)
Friday, March 29 | 3:30 p.m. CT Saturday, March 30 | 5:30 p.m. CT (if win)
SERIES: Wisconsin leads 7-1-1 (0-0-0 at neutral sites)
LAST MEETING: W, 3-2-- Brett Kurtz scored at 6:23 of the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock and give Wisconsin a 3-2 victory on Dec. 4, 1988 at Tully Forum in Billerica, Mass. Tom Saggissor and Dennis Sneddon also scored for the Badgers in the game, while Curtis Joseph made 22 saves in goal for the victory.
SERIES NOTES: The teams meet for the 10th time in the all-time series ... all nine previous meetings came between 1984 and 1988 ... the teams did meet in NCAA competition during the 1987-88 season, with UW winning the two-game total goals series with a 7-1 victory and 4-4 tie on March 19-20 at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wis. ... John Byce had a hat trick and five total goals in that series ... Jake Suter, the son of former Badger great Gary Suter, and a Lac du Flambeau, Wis., native, is a sophomore defenseman for UMass Lowell
Game Notes Complete men's hockey game notes in printable PDF format.
FOR STARTERS Fourth-seeded Wisconsin (22-12-7, 13-8-7 WCHA) takes on top-seeded UMass Lowell (26-10-2, 16-9-2 Hockey East) at the 2013 NCAA Northeast Regional on Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT. The game takes place at Verizon Wireless Arena (10,019) in Manchester, N.H. The winner advances to face the winner of second-seeded New Hampshire (19-11-7, 13-8-6 Hockey East) and third-seeded Denver (20-13-5, 14-9-5 WCHA) on Saturday in the Northeast Regional title game at 5:30 p.m. Wisconsin enters as the WCHA playoff champion, while UMass Lowell won both the regular-season and playoff championship in Hockey East.
Wisconsin owns six NCAA titles, including 1973, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1990 and 2006. UW last reached the Frozen Four in 2010, falling to Boston College in the final.
Wisconsin is officially 37-20-2 all-time in the NCAA tournament and will be making its 24th official appearance. UW has 11 top-four NCAA finishes. The Badgers are 9-4-0 in NCAA tournament games under Head Coach Mike Eaves, and have advanced to at least the Regional Final in four of the five NCAA tournament appearances under Eaves.
Wisconsin reached the NCAA tournament by winning the 2013 WCHA Final Five and earning the WCHA automatic qualifying spot. Fourth-seeded for the conference tournament, UW posted a home sweep over Minnesota Duluth (3-1, 4-1), defeated Minnesota State in the quarterfinals (7-2), beat top-seed St. Cloud State in the semifinals (4-1), then knocked off Colorado College in the title game (3-2). The Badgers captured the Broadmoor Trophy for winning the WCHA playoffs, which was the school's 12th WCHA playoff title, first since 1998 and first under Head Coach Mike Eaves. UW had four skaters named to the 2013 WCHA Final Five All-Tournament Team, including forwards Nic Kerdiles (MVP) and Tyler Barnes, defenseman John Ramage and goaltender Joel Rumpel.
Wisconsin owns winning records all-time against each of the three other schools in the Northeast Regional, including a 7-1-1 mark against UMass Lowell (1-0-1 in NCAA games), a 12-3-0 record against New Hampshire (2-1-0 in NCAA games) and a 76-59-12 mark against Denver. UW is 13-3-0 all-time against Denver in playoff action, including 3-0 in NCAA competition. UW defeated Denver in the 1973 NCAA title game, winning 4-2 in Boston. The Badgers also defeated New Hampshire at the 1977 NCAA Frozen Four, 4-3 in overtime, to advance to the title game and eventually win the 1977 title. Wisconsin Head Coach Mike Eaves scored the overtime game-winning goal in that game against UNH.
Wisconsin has its third 20-win season in four years, and its seventh in 11 seasons during the Mike Eaves coaching era.
UW is 21-5-5 in its last 31 games after going 1-7-2 in its first 10 games. The Badgers' .758 winning percentage since that time (Nov. 30) is the third-highest winning percentage in the nation. UMass Lowell boasts a .804 winning percentage since Nov. 30 to lead the nation (22-5-1). Wisconsin's five losses since Nov. 30 are tied with UMass Lowell for the second-fewest during that time behind only Quinnipiac (4). UW's 21 victories since Nov. 30 rank second in the nation behind UMass Lowell (22).
Wisconsin's penalty kill has been one indicator of its success this season. The Badgers are 13-1-5 when not allowing a power-play goal and just 9-11-2 when its opponent scores with the man advantage. UW allowed a power-play goal in two of its three victories last weekend at the WCHA Final Five.
As hockey seasons get closer to their conclusion, scoring usually becomes more difficult, however the opposite has been true for the Badgers. While UW is averaging 2.71 goals per game this season, they have averaged 4.20 goals per game during their five postseason games, and 3.91 goals per game over the past 11 contests. UW has allowed seven goals over their five postseason games for a 1.40 goals-against per game mark and a 1.91 goals-against per game over the last 11 contests.
The line of freshman Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.), junior Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) and junior Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) is hot. Over the last 13 games, the trio has produced 19 goals, 34 assists and 53 points.
Freshman forward Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) posted three goals, including two game-winning goals, and three assists at the WCHA Final Five and now has points in 11 consecutive games (5-13=18), 15 of his last 16 games and 17 of his last 19 contests. His current 11-game scoring streak is the longest of the season for any Badger. Kerdiles also has a five-game streak during which he has scored two points in each game. The rookie shares second on UW with 32 points in 31 games. Since Kerdiles joined the lineup on Nov. 30, he leads the Badgers with 22 assists and 32 points. UW has gone 21-5-5 with Kerdiles in the lineup. Kerdiles was named the 2013 WCHA Final Five MVP for his performance last weekend. He ranks second in the nation in scoring during the month of March with 15 points on four goals and 11 assists in nine games. He also now ranks second in the nation among rookies with a 1.03 points-per-game scoring average, which leads all WCHA rookies. His 32 total points share eighth in the country among rookies.
Junior forward Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) has five goals in his last four games and seven points (5-2=7) during that stretch. He also has seven goals in his last eight contests and nine goals in his last 13 games after missing his first career Badger game on Feb. 25. Barnes is second on UW with 11 goals in 37 games. He was one of four Badgers named to the 2013 WCHA Final Five All-Tournament Team.
Junior forward Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) has points in 11 of his last 13 games, with four goals, 13 assists and 17 points during that stretch. A 50-point scorer as a sophomore, and the nation's leading returning scorer, Zengerle opened the season with points in his first five games (2-4=6), but was injured in the sixth game. After missing six contests, Zengerle struggled to reach the scoresheet consistently, but seems to have found his stride. Zengerle, who earlier this season reached 100 career points, now shares second on the Badgers with 32 points in 35 games played. He leads the Badgers with 23 assists and is tied for fourth with nine goals.
Junior forward Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) tallied his team-leading 23rd goal on March 16 against Minnesota Duluth, his fourth game-winning goal of the season. He ranks second among WCHA players in goals in all games after leading the category after the regular season, while his 17 goals in league play were tied for second. Mersch is the fifth Badger during the Mike Eaves' era to score at least 20 goals in a season, joining Blake Geoffrion (22 in 2009-10) as one of just two Badgers to do so in the regular season. Mersch leads the Badgers with 36 points in 41 games. Mersch has been responsible for 20.7 percent of UW's goals. Three past Badgers have finished a season with at least 20 percent of the team's goals, including Mark Johnson with 22.4 percent (48-of-214) in 1977-78, as well as Rene Bourque (2002-03) and Jake Dowell (2006-07) with 20.4 percent (both at 19-for-93).
Wisconsin boasts four of the nation's top point producers in March, with freshman forward Nic Kerdiles ranking second with 15 points, junor forward Mark Zengerle sixth with 12 points, junior forward Tyler Barnes eighth with has 11 points and junior forward Michael Mersch 11th with 10 points. The Badgers have played nine games this month. Senior defenseman John Ramage and sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe are tied for 25th in the nation during March, with the likes of Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalists Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State and Danny Kristo of North Dakota.
Junior Jefferson Dahl (Eau Claire, Wis.) scored two short-handed goals in the WCHA quarterinals - the second and third short-handed goals of his career. The performance was the first two-goal game of his career. Dahl has seven goals and 14 points this year after posting six goals and 14 points his first two seasons total at Wisconsin. Dahl's short-handed goals were UW's first since John Ramage scored shorthanded at Denver on Dec. 1, 2012. The two short-handed goals in a game were the first for a Badger since Derek Stepan scored two on the same penalty kill against North Dakota on March 7, 2009.
Wisconsin is outscoring its opponents 90-54 at even strength this season.
Wisconsin is playing for the 13th consecutive weekend this week. The current stretch began with a trip to Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 4-5.
Fifteen of Wisconsin's last 22 games have been decided by one goal or less and UW is 10-3-2 in those one-goal contests.
Wisconsin's defense finished as the league's top regular season squad, allowing 2.29 goals-against per game in WCHA games. Overall, the Badgers' defense is allowing 2.02 goals-against per game, which ranks second behind Minnesota (1.97 goals-against per game). UW's overall 2.02 goals-against per game ranks fourth in the country.
Wisconsin's defense has picked up the offense of late with senior John Ramage, junior Frankie Simonelli and sophomore Jake McCabe contributing. Ramage has eight points in his last seven games, including two game-winning goals, six assists and three two-point games. Simonelli boasts points in six of his last nine games, including two goals and five assists. McCabe owns eight points in his last eight games, tallying a goal and seven assists and two multi-point games.
Wisconsin went 2-for-11 (18.2 percent) last weekend on the power play at the WCHA Final Five and now has power-play goals on five consecutive weekends for the first time this season. Wisconsin had power-play goals on the first three weekends of the season, but had power-play goals on consecutive weekends one other time during the season until the current stretch. Heading into its Feb. 24 game against Penn State, UW ranked last in the nation (59th) on the power play, but has climbed to 54th at 17-for-132 (12.9 percent) this season.
Senior defenseman John Ramage (St. Louis) scored his team-leading fifth game-winning goal of the season last Friday against St. Cloud State. Five of his eight goals this season have been game-winning tallies, including two in overtime on the weekend of Jan. 11-12 at Minnesota State. Ramage's back-to-back overtime game-winning goals were the third time a Badger has scored consecutive overtime game-winning goals. Paul Ranheim was the first to do it on Nov. 7-8, 1986 in a pair of 3-2 wins against Colorado College. David Hukalo did it on Jan. 14-15, 2000 against North Dakota in 3-2 and 6-5 victories.
Two current Badgers appear on Wisconsin's career top-10 lists. Senior defenseman John Ramage (St. Louis) ranks ninth on the list for penalty minutes for a defenseman with 237. Tim Thomas, with 248 penalty minutes from 1981-86, ranks eighth on the list. Bob Suter (1975-79) is UW's all-time leader among defensemen with 377 penalty minutes. Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) is in a tie for sixth on the career shutout list with seven after producing a 22-save blanking on Feb. 24. He is now tied with Scott Gudmandson (2007-11), one behind Bernd Brückler (2001-05) and Shane Connelly (2005-09) for fourth and two behind Terry Kleisinger (1980-84) and Graham Melanson (1997-2001) for second. Rumpel also produced his fourth shutout of the season, which is tied for the third-highest single-season total in UW history with four other goalies, including Kleisinger, Melanson, Gudmandson and Brückler. Brian Elliott (2003-07) holds the top two spots with eight shutouts in 2005-06 and five shutouts in 2006-07.
The Badgers skated in their 11th overtime game of the season on Monday, Feb. 25, tying the second-most overtime games played by a Badger team in a season. UW's 2003-04 team set the program mark with 13 overtime contests and went 5-1-8 in those games. This year's team, with a 2-2-7 overtime mark, equaled the 1988-89 team's 11 overtime games. The Badgers were 2-4-5 in overtimes that season. The Badgers tied a school record with seven WCHA ties this season. That matches the seven league ties the Badgers produced during the 2003-04 season. Wisconsin has also played 10 WCHA overtime games (2-1-7), matching the school mark of 10 set during the 1988-89 campaign (2-3-5). The Badgers fell one tie short of the school record for overall ties in a season of eight, also set during the 2003-04 season.
Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) has started Wisconsin's last nine games and is 8-1-0 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .932 save percentage during the stretch. Rumpel leads the WCHA with a .933 save percentage and 1.85 goals-against average in all games.
Senior forward Derek Lee (North Vancouver, British Columbia) became the eighth Badger on the current roster to play in 100 games on Feb. 24. He has now played in 101 contests, though he has missed the last nine with an injury. Other Badgers who have played at least 100 games are seniors John Ramage (156) and Ryan Little (131), as well as juniors Michael Mersch (119), Tyler Barnes (118), Frankie Simonelli (117), Mark Zengerle (113) and Jefferson Dahl (112). Junior defenseman Joe Faust has played in 98 career games. Wisconsin finished last season with just two of its skaters -- Ramage and Justin Schultz -- in the 100 career games played club, while the 2010-11 squad boasted five players with 100 games played. UW's 2010 NCAA runners-up squad boasted 11 skaters with 100 games played.
Wisconsin has been in the lead or tied going into the third period in 35 of its 41 games and sports a 22-7-6 mark in those contests. UW has been tied heading into eight third periods and is 1-4-4 in those games.
Wisconsin allowed the first goal of the game to Minnesota Duluth on March 15, but came away with a victory. That marked the second time this season UW won after allowing the first goal. UW improved to 2-5-4 when its opponent scores first. UW is 20-7-3 when scoring first.
The Badgers have been tied or leading after the first period in 34 of their 41 games this season and are 20-8-6 in those games.
Wisconsin finished 5-3-3 in 11 league series. The Badgers took season series on the road at Nebraska Omaha (2-0-0), Minnesota Duluth (1-0-1) and Denver (1-0-1), swept Alaska Anchorage (4-0-0), defeated Bemidji State at home (1-0-1), tied its season series with Minnesota State (2-2-0), St. Cloud State (1-1-0) and Michigan Tech (0-0-2) at home, and dropped its season series with Colorado College (0-2-0) at the Kohl Center, North Dakota (0-1-1) on the road and against Minnesota (1-2-1).
Wisconsin went 8-2-4 on the road in league games this season, earning 20 league points. Wisconsin went 4-9-1 in league road contests last season. UW's 20 road WCHA points are the most since the 2005-06 team also captured 20 road points. That team was 9-3-2 on the road. UW's last MacNaughton Cup champion team in 1999-2000 collected 24 road league points with a 12-2-0 road mark. UW's .714 WCHA road winning percentage is tied for the third-best in school history with the 2005-06 team. Only the 1999-2000 team, with a .857 winning percentage and the 1976-77 team, with an .844 winning percentage, were better.
The Badgers have seen 19 of its alumni play in an NHL game this year, including Ben Street, who made his debut for the Calgary Flames. The 19 are the most of any school in the nation. Street also makes it 11 Badgers in the NHL from the 2006 NCAA championship team, and nine from the 2010 NCAA runners-up. A total of 76 Badgers all-time have played in the NHL.
Junior forward Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) became the 71st Badger in to reach 100 career points with an assist on Feb. 1 at North Dakota, reaching the mark in 97 games. Zengerle is the seventh Badger during the Eaves' coaching era to score at least 100 points (Davies, Earl, Geoffrion, Schultz, MacMurchy, Pavelski) and the second do so in 100 games or less (Pavelski).
Interim assistant coach Matt Walsh joined UW's staff on Friday, Nov. 23, replacing the departed Bill Butters. Walsh played for Wisconsin from 1982-86, skating as a defenseman on Wisconsin's 1983 NCAA title team. Walsh's addition means that each of UW full-time coaches are now Badger alumni, and each won an NCAA title as a player at Wisconsin. Head Coach Mike Eaves won the 1977 NCAA title, Walsh won the 1983 NCAA championship and assistant coach Gary Shuchuk won the 1990 NCAA championship. This marks the first time in the modern era of Badger hockey that all three Badger coaches are UW alumni.
World Juniors Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.) captained Team USA to the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship gold medal in Ufa, Russia. McCabe made the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship Media All-Star team and finished the tournament third among defensemen with six points on three goals and three assists. He ranked second in the tournament with a plus-9.
Looking Back to Look Ahead Junior forward Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) returns as the nation's leading scorer after pacing the Badgers' and the country's returning scorers from last season with a 1.35 points-per-game scoring average. His 50 points are tied for the highest returning total. Zengerle, who tied for the national scoring lead among sophomores in 2011-12, was a 2012 Third-Team All-WCHA selection. Zengerle finished second in the nation with a 1.00 assists-per-game mark and 37 helpers. He ranked sixth in the nation with a 1.35 points-per-game scoring average. His 50 total points shared seventh in the country. Zengerle was the seventh Badger in the Mike Eaves 10-year coaching era to post 50+ points, joining Joe Pavelski (56) and Robbie Earl (50) in 2005-06 and Derek Stepan (54), Michael Davies (52), Brendan Smith (52) and Blake Geoffrion (50) in 2009-10.
Zengerle had 37 assists on the season and became the second forward, and fourth player in UW history, to have at least 30 assists in his first two years as a Badger. Only Theran Welsh and Mark Johnson have had at least 30 assists in their first three seasons.
Theran Welsh, D
Mark Johnson, F
Chris Chelios, D
Mark Zengerle, F
CAPTAINS Senior defenseman John Ramage returns for his second season as team captain. He's the first repeat Badger captain since Adam Burish in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Other two-time solo captains include: Steve Reinprecht (1998-99, 1999-2000), Erik Raygor (1996-97, 1997-98), Steve Rohlik (1988-89, 1989-90) and Mike Eaves (1975-76, 1977-78). Eaves was also one of three tri-captains during the 1976-77 season. In 2008-09, Ben Street and Blake Geoffrion were co-captains, before both were part of a tri-captain group in 2009-10 that also included Ryan McDonagh. Each two-time captain prior to Ramage has won a WCHA regular-season title, WCHA playoff championship, NCAA championship, or made an NCAA title game.
In addition to John Ramage serving as team captain, senior forward Ryan Little returns for his second season as an assistant captain. Senior forward Derek Lee (home) and junior defenseman Frankie Simonelli (road) will also serve as assistant captains.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN Wisconsin is dominated by its junior and sophomore classes with 17 of the 26 student-athletes coming from them. The 10-member junior class is the largest, followed by the seven-member sophomore class. Six newcomers grace this year's roster, while only three student-athletes are part of the senior class.
Nine of the 26 student-athletes on the Badger roster are NHL draft picks. Among those, frosh forward Nic Kerdiles and sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe are second-round picks, while sophomore defenseman Joe Faust, sophomore forward Joseph LaBate, junior forward Michael Mersch and senior defenseman John Ramage are fourth rounders. Also drafted are sophomore forward Brendan Woods (fifth round), frosh defenseman Eddie Wittchow (sixth round) and sophomore forward Brad Navin (seventh round).
Ten Badgers hail from Wisconsin, more than any other state or province. Other states or provinces represented include Minnesota (six), Illinois (three), British Columbia and California (two) and Missouri, New York and Saskatchewan (one).
SEASON STORYLINES Wisconsin will celebrate its 50th year of hockey in the modern era (Since 1963) all season long. The Badgers dedicated the Kohl Center ice to Bob Johnson on Nov. 2, recognized the 1973 (40 years) and the 1983 NCAA championship (30 years) teams on nights in January and February, and played host to honorary game captains at home games to help celebrate the anniversary.
The Badgers will wear a patch on their uniforms during th season and the boards will make mention of the occasion.
The 2012-13 season marks the Badgers' final season as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Wisconsin became a member of the WCHA in the 1969-70 season.
Beginning next year, Wisconsin will play in the Big Ten with current WCHA-member Minnesota, former WCHA-members Michigan and Michigan State, Ohio State and Division I newcomer Penn State.
The Badgers played outdoor hockey this season at the Hockey City Classic on Feb. 17 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Wisconsin captured a 3-2 victory over Minnesota in the game.
Wisconsin has now competed in three of the four home facilities for NFC North teams (Green Bay Packers - Lambeau Field; Detroit Lions - Ford Field; Chicago Bears - Soldier Field).
The game marked the third outdoor hockey game for the Badgers since 2006 and the fifth played at a football stadium since that time.
Wisconsin closed out the 2012-13 regular season with a pair of home games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Badgers moved the games to accommodate the 2013 WIAA High School Boys' Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers played their home games from 1967-98 at the Coliseum, and also played WCHA first round playoff series there in 2001 and 2005.