Badgers tame Tigers, 4-1, remain unbeaten at Kohl Center

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Colorado College 15 Wisconsin 4, Colorado College 1
Kohl Center • Madison, Wis. • Attendance: 7,847

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1st 2nd 3rd Final
 Colorado College
0 1 0 1
0 2 2 4
Eaves/Players Postgame Small Video Graphic
 Scoring Summary
2nd 8:17 UW LaBate (Besse, Simonelli)
2nd 15:45 CC Krushelnyski (unassisted)
2nd 19:58 UW Kerdiles (Zengerle, Barnes)
3rd 5:14 UW Mersch (Besse, Kerdiles)
3rd 19:51 UW Simonelli (unassisted)
 Goaltender Summary Min GA Sv
CC Thorimbert (2-11-3) 58:11 3 26
CC Empty Net 1:49 1 0
WIS Rumpel (5-1-0) 60:00 1 24
 Statistical Comparison
 Shots on Goal 25 30
 Power Plays 0-3 2-4
 Penalties-Minutes 6-12 5-10
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Dec. 13, 2013

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin men’s hockey team used a familiar formula, as well as an extra boost from its special teams, to remain undefeated at the Kohl Center in a 4-1 victory over Colorado College (2-11-3) on Friday night.

The win featured many of the same ingredients as Wisconsin’s (7-5-1) first six games at the Kohl Center, which now has UW at 6-0-1 on home ice.

 Fast Facts
Michael Mersch tallied his 100th-career point with a third period goal, making him the 72nd player in Wisconsin history to reach the plateau.
Frankie Simonelli netted a third-period score to extend his point-streak to a career-high four games.
• With a goal and an assist tonight, Nic Kerdiles has tallied two points in his last four games.

There was the standard sharp performance from goaltender Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan), who tallied 24 saves on 25 shots. There were plenty of offensive chances, as Wisconsin’s four goals nearly matched the five goals per game home scoring average it carried into Friday’s matchup.

However, Friday’s contest saw a new addition to the standard home formula – fantastic special teams play — as it was the special teams that provided both the spark and the finishing touches on Wisconsin’s sixth home victory of the season.

After a back-and-forth first period that saw only 13 combined shots and no penalties, Wisconsin broke through with a pair of second-period power-play goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

Joseph LaBate (Egan, Minn.) put the Badgers on the board eight minutes into the period. The play started with a Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) steal in the Tiger defensive zone. The captain quickly found Grant Besse (Plymouth, Minn.) in the slot, who slung the puck out wide to LaBate on the right side of the ice. The junior took the feed and fired a rocket past CC goalie Josh Thorimbert and into the net.

But CC would even the score on Wisconsin’s lone special teams blunder of the night, as Alexander Krushelnyski stepped in front of an errant pass, had a breakaway from the far blue line and beat Rumpel one-on-one at the net to knot the score at 1-1.

The Badgers’ special teams would redeem itself minutes later, as Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) got credit for a goal during a pileup in front of the CC net and past Thorimbert with just 1.1 seconds remaining in the period.

On the strength of its power-play effort on Friday, the Badgers now have three scores in their last six opportunities after failing to convert on their previous 17 chances. 

Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) stretched the Wisconsin lead to 3-1, five minutes into the final stanza, tallying his 100th-career point in the process. Kerdiles earned the secondary assist on the score, making it four-straight games with a goal and an assist for him.

But the Badgers would face a final test, as Colorado College earned a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities – in addition to some 5-on-4 time — in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Once again, the Badger special teams were up to the challenge, shutting down the Tiger attack. That  allowed the UW to ice the win when Simonelli found the back of an empty net with nine seconds left from 185 feet away. The score gave Simonelli his fourth-straight game with a point, a career-high.

The Badgers outshot CC, 30-25, as Thorimbert stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced. Wisconsin also held the edge on the power play, going 2-4 while shutting out the Tigers on three opportunities.

Wisconsin looks to build on its first three-game winning streak of the season when it takes the ice for the series finale against CC at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

MHKY Big Ten Tournament
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