After fighting their way to a 3-all tie from a 3-0 deficit Friday night, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team (3-2-1, 0-0-0 BIG TEN) got off to a fast start in Saturday’s series finale against the Lake Superior State Lakers (4-1-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The Badgers offense maintained momentum throughout their 8-1 win, keeping Lakers goaltender Kevin Murdock on his toes while outshooting the Lakers 44-22. Wisconsin remains unbeaten at the Kohl Center through four home games this season.
“That’s a nice way to end a weekend. I think that’s what the doctor ordered for a lot of our guys,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said. “We had a lot of first goals tonight for the season and as Badgers. It was a type of weekend I think our boys needed to get going and to realize some things. We can move forward from here now.”
Badgers forward Mark Zengerle started off the scoring with his 124th career point. Freshman forward Joseph LaBate quickly followed suit, giving the Badgers a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.
The Lakers came out swinging in the second period, with a goal from Kevin Czuczman just seconds into the period. Forward Nic Kerdiles countered, extending his points streak to 18 games.
Team captain Frankie Simonelli scored his first goal of the season on a power play midway throught the second period to give the Badgers a comfortable 4-1 lead. Simonelli’s goal was Wisconsin’s sixth power-play goal in six games this season, a mark which took 15 games to reach last year.
Forward Brad Navin extended Wisconsin’s lead in the third period with his first goal of the season. Midway through through the period, redshirt junior defenseman Chase Drake knocked in his first collegiate goal. Freshman forward Grant Besse added further padding and Kerdiles scored again for the Badgers’ eighth and final goal of the night.
“(Kerdiles) is one of those guys that the puck follows,” Eaves said. “I mean, the last goal, he’s cutting across the ice, it’s flipped up in the air, he puts it down, takes a shot and it goes in. Stuff happens when Nic’s on the ice.”
Goaltender Landon Peterson had 21 saves on 22 shots, earning him his first win since the Badgers season opener on Oct. 12.
Next up, the Badgers take on Miami in Ohio on November 15-16.