UW holds off UAH for best home start in Kohl Center era
MADISON, Wis. – The No. 14 Wisconsin men's hockey team closed out the 2013 half of its season in the same way it started it – with a home sweep of a non-conference opponent. This time Alabama Huntsville (1-19-0, 1-11-0 WCHA) was the victim of a Wisconsin (10-5-1, 2-2-0 B1G) squad that won its sixth-straight game and improved to 9-0-1 at home, their best home mark to open a Kohl Center season.
Saturday night's game started much like Friday's meeting between the two teams, as UW netted a pair of early goals and seemed to be in control. Jefferson Dahl (Eau Claire, Wis.) opened the scoring just 3:47 into the contest when he gathered a long feed from Grant Besse (Plymouth, Minn.), cut back to the middle of the ice, and fired a shot past UAH goalie Carmine Guerriero.
Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.) found the back of the net just 49 seconds later. Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) set up the score by picking up a loose puck, bringing it down the left side of the ice, and feeding Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) off the right post. Barnes' shot was redirected in by LaBate to put the Badgers up, 2-0.
But unlike in Friday's contest, the Badgers struggled to put away the Chargers, who capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play to trim the margin to 2-1 with 5:04 left in the second period.
Already shorthanded, the Badgers gave UAH an additional man advantage when Dahl lost his footing and inadvertently took down Guerriero. The Chargers wasted little time cashing in on the golden opportunity, as Chad Brears took a pass from Brandon Clowes and beat UW goaltender Landon Peterson from the left dot. The goal came after Peterson lost his goalie stick and was playing with Keegan Meuer's (Madison, Wis.), who passed along his own to the netminder.
That set up a tense final frame for Wisconsin, which managed to hold the Chargers at bay until Barnes gathered a cross-ice pass from Chase Drake (Mosinee, Wis.) and pushed it past Guerriero to give the Badgers some breathing room with 2:02 to play.
Even then, the Chargers wouldn't quit, as Jack Prince tallied an extra-attacker goal with 18 seconds left to set the final margin at 3-2.
Peterson got the nod for the Badgers after six-consecutive starts for Joel Rumpel, and answered the call with 18 saves on 20 shots. Guerriero's spectacular performance kept the Chargers in the game, as the freshman turned away 42 of 45 Badger offerings.
Wisconsin came up empty on the power play for the second-straight game, failing to find the back of the net on five opportunities despite hitting the post three times on the man-advantage. UAH earned one goal on two power-play chances.
The Badgers return to the ice against Alaska Anchorage next weekend for games seven and eight of a school-record 12-game home stand. Both games are set for 7 p.m. and will run on Fox Sports Wisconsin and Fox Sports Wisconsin alternate, respectively.
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