Badgers hockey blanks Michigan State in Saturday finale

MADISON, Wis. — The power play continued to serve the Wisconsin men’s hockey squad well on Saturday night, leading to a 2-0 victory over Michigan State, in front of an announced crowd of 15,359.

Joseph LaBate got eighth-ranked Wisconsin (19-9-2 overall, 10-5-1-0 Big Ten) rolling, tallying his power-play goal at 7:17 of the first period. Then, after Michael Mersch added a power-play tally for Wisconsin at 4:23 of the second period, the Badgers’ defense controlled the day.

The hosts’ netminder, Joel Rumpel, recorded 31 saves. Michigan State, conversely, lost despite goalie Jake Hildebrand’s 28 saves.

Michigan State (9-15-7, 3-7-6-4 Big Ten) also endured a defeat despite rattling off 31 shots.

The win caps a 17-2-1 record at home for Wisconsin this season, the second-best single-season winning percentage in school history at .875. Only the 1972-73 NCAA championship team had a better home record with a 19-1-0 mark at the Dane County Coliseum (.950).

Saturday also saw Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves win his 250th career game at the school.

The Badgers take their final bye of the season next weekend before returning to the ice on March 7-8 with their first-ever trip to Penn State.