Badgers advance to WCHA championship game

The 14th-ranked University of Wisconsin hockey team has advanced to the WCHA Final Five’s championship game after dispatching top seed St. Cloud State, 4-1, Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Saturday’s appearance in the WCHA title game — against Minnesota or Colorado College — will be Wisconsin’s first since 2000 and also its first under coach Mike Eaves.

Friday against St. Cloud State, the Badgers got two points apiece from Joseph LaBate, Nic Kerdiles and Brendan Woods. Tyler Barnes and John Ramage also added goals for Wisconsin, now 21-12-7 overall.

The Badgers seized a decisive 3-1 lead by midway through the third period off a power-play score from Kerdiles and never looked back. St. Cloud State (23-15-1) got its lone goal in Friday’s semifinal from star Ben Hanowski.

Wisconsin also got 30 saves from goalie Joel Rumpel, who improved to 15-8-4 on the year.