Achievements of the Year: Hockey captures its final WCHA playoff title Badgers claim 12th WCHA playoff crown
June 26, 2013
Over the course of two weeks, UW Athletics will look back on the Badgers' biggest accomplishments during the 2012-13 season.
While the Badgers had captured the 2006 NCAA championship and reached the 2010 NCAA title game under the guidance of head coach Mike Eaves, they hadn't layed claim to any conference hardware through the first 10 years of the coaching era.
That changed in 2013 when the Badgers' second-half surge towards the NCAA tournament culminated in five consecutive WCHA playoff victories and the 2013 WCHA Final Five championship. The victory gave Wisconsin its first Broadmoor Trophy since 1998.
The run started with a sweep in the best-of-three series against Minnesota Duluth at the Kohl Center. The 3-1 and 4-1 victories advanced the Badgers to the WCHA Final Five as the No. 4 seed.
The Badgers arrived in St. Paul, Minn., with a tall task ahead, needing three victories in three days to win the WCHA and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. That was the stark reality for a team that had proved to be one of the best teams in the nation over the previous three months, but whose anemic start to the season had put them in a precarious position.
The Badgers opened the Final Five with a 7-2 drubbing of fifth-seeded Minnesota State. A pair of short-handed goals by Jefferson Dahl, and a two-goal, one-assist performance by Tyler Barnes led the way for Wisconsin.
The semifinals were next, with top-seed St. Cloud State on the docket. Tied at 1-1 in the first period, goaltender Joel Rumpel made the save of the season in goal for the Badgers to keep the game tied, then the power play took over for a 4-1 Badger victory and the team's first championship game appearance under Eaves.
In the title game, Barnes scored his fourth goal of the weekend to give UW a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Sean Little made it 2-0 early in the second period and the Badgers held on from there against surging Colorado College for the 3-2 victory and the program's 12th and final WCHA playoff crown. The Badgers leave the WCHA for the start of Big Ten hockey in 2013-14.
In addition to Barnes' stellar play in the tournament, which was good for all-tournament honors, defenseman John Ramage and goaltender Joel Rumpel were officially recognized on the all-tournament team. Frosh forward Nic Kerdiles tallied three goals and six assists and was named tournament MVP. UW eventually closed out the season with a 22-13-7 overall record after beginning 1-7-3 over its first 11 games. The squad also tied for fourth in the WCHA regular-season standings, going 13-8-7 in league play.