April 8, 2010
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DETROIT - The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team earned a place in the NCAA national championship game by defeating Rochester Institute of Technology 8-1 in the first semifinal of the NCAA Frozen Four in Detroit on Thursday. The Badgers will play for the program's seventh national title when they take on Boston College, a 7-1 winner over Miami (Ohio) in the championship game on Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT.
Junior defenseman Brendan Smith (Mimco, Ontario) tallied five assists and sophomore Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn.) had two goals and two assists to lead Wisconsin (28-10-4). Senior Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn.) and freshman Justin Schultz (West Kelowna, B.C.) each tallied a goal and an assist as well.
The Badgers outshot the Tigers 37-14, including a 27-8 differential in the final two periods.
Junior goaltender Scott Gudmandson (Sherwood Park, Alberta) made 13 saves for the Badgers, while RIT's Jared DeMichiel stopped 27 UW shots. Shane Madolora and Jan Ropponen each saw time in net for the Tigers as well, with Ropponen making two saves.
The Badgers held a 2-0 lead after the first period. Wisconsin got on the board at the 1:27 mark when John Mitchell (Neenah, Wis.) buried a rebound in the slot. Cody Goloubef (Oakville, Ontario) and Schultz assisted on the play.
Wisconsin struck again when Stepan won a faceoff to the right of DeMichiel back to Ryan McDonagh (Arden Hills, Minn.), who fired a shot on goal. Stepan then redirected McDonagh's wrister to give the Badgers the two-goal lead with 10:22 remaining in the opening period.
A four-goal second period put the Badgers up 6-0 before RIT's Tyler Brenner got the Tigers on the board with 27.3 seconds remaining in the middle frame.
Jordy Murray (Faribault, Minn.) scored at the 2:18 mark of the second period. Aaron Bendickson (Thief River Falls, Minn.) moved the puck through the slot, and Murray followed, picking up the loose puck and netting his 12th goal of the season.
The Badgers took a 4-0 lead on a power play goal when Schultz fired a shot from the red line just to the left of DeMichiel. The puck snuck under DeMichiel's pad and slid into the net with 15:34 remaining in the second period.
Wisconsin scored its fifth goal of the game on a 5-on-3 man advantage. Michael Davies (St. Louis, Mo.) beat DeMichiel at the 11:15 mark of the middle frame as Smith and Geoffrion picked up assists.
Geoffrion scored just 2:09 later, poking the puck past DeMichiel to put the Badgers up 6-0 with 6:36 remaining in the second period. Smith and Stepan assisted on the power-play goal.
The Badgers scored two goals in the game's final 2:32 as Craig Smith (Madison, Wis.) and Stepan picked up tallies to close the game.
UW improved to 18-2-1 when scoring the first goal and 25-1-0 when scoring four or more goals in a game.
Wisconsin went 3-for-7 on the power play while holding RIT (28-12-1) to 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Individual tickets to the NCAA Men's Frozen Four National Championship game will be available at 10 a.m. on Friday. Tickets prices range from $39.50 to $94.50 and are available at Ticketmaster.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000 and at the Ford Field Gate A box office.
The NCAA title game is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. CT and will air live on ESPN.