After last nightsâ€™ embarrassing eight to one loss at the hands of Â Michigan Tech the Badgers came out and proved to the Badger faithful and to themselves that they could compete with a top tier team. Winning a scrappy game by the score of two to zero over the fifth ranked Michigan Tech Huskies.
The story of the night was Senior goalie, Joel Rumpel, who posted a career high forty-eight saves in the Badgersâ€™ statement win over Michigan Tech. The forty-eight saves were also the second most by any UW goalie in a single game at home.
â€śHe (Rumpel) put the team on his back. He was outstandingâ€ť, said Head Coach Mike Eaves after the game.
The Badgers put together three quality periods of hockey.
The first period Badgers did exactly what Coach Eaves asked of them to do and that was to match Michigan Techâ€™s pace.
â€śWe handled the pace much betterâ€ť, said Eaves, â€śwe dictated some of it at times in that (the first) periodâ€ť
While the Badgers could not manage to get on the board, Joel Rumpel and the Badger defense scrambled to shut out Michigan Tech in first period.
The early shut out was threatened heavily by a potent Michigan Tech power play that spent the whole two minutes in the Badgers zone.
Great offense and puck movement lead to multiple scoring chances for Michigan Tech, after Senior Mat Paape was sent to the sin bin for a hooking call, Rumpel came up with a couple of saves along with one shot dinging off the post to keep the Badgers locked up at zeros with the Huskies after the first period
The Badgers however were out shot fifteen to nine in the first period something that Mike Eaves acknowledge as something that needed to change
â€śWe need to get some shots on netâ€ť
The second period gave way to the rise of Joel Rumpel. Through forty minutes of play the senior posted twenty-two of his forty-nine saves.
These included two penalty kills for the Badger defense after Eddie Wittchow got called for interference and later in the period when Matt Ustaski got whistled for boarding.
Michigan Tech, who went zero for four on the night on the power play, looked dangerous and set up numerous chances with the man advantage but could not put one past Rumpel and the penalty kill unit for the Badgers.
With the gameâ€™s momentum hanging in the balance late in the second period, Michigan Techâ€™s Tyler Heinonen got called for slashing and the Badgers went on their first power play of the game.
After a couple of short handed chances for Michigan Tech the puck took a Badgers bounce and Jedd Soleway tipped it forward for a surging Morgan Zulinick who tucked a wrist shot blocker side past Michigan Techâ€™s goalie Jamie Phillips.
The go ahead goal was Zulinickâ€™s fourth goal in four game and put the Badgers ahead one to zero with 5:24 left in the second period.
Michigan Tech did not go away but Rumpel stood tall in net like he did all night and lead the Badgers to the locker room with a one goal lead over the top five Michigan Tech huskies.
The third and final period was the Joel Rumpel show.
He posted twenty-seven saves in the final twenty minutes of play and maintained the shut out for the Badgers.
Some saves were prettier than others, and at one point Joel Rumpel posted three saves back-to-back-to-back saves the last with out a stick sprawling on his stomach to maintain, the at that time, one goal lead.
Rumpleâ€™s teammate and defensemen Freshman Jack Dougherty had high praise for the six foot three Canadian when asked if he had seen a performance like the one put on by Joel.
“Maybe when I watch Miracle”, Dougherty laughed, “(He) looked like Jim Craig out there. Making a big save every two minutes”
The Badger defense added twenty-seven blocks as well to help out Rumpel in the shutout.
With one minute and twenty-six seconds left to play and a face off coming in the Badgerâ€™s defensive zone Michigan Tech pulled goaltender Jamie Phillips for an extra attacker.
After a tough defensive stand, Senior Joseph LaBate found himself with the puck after it bounced by a Michigan Tech defensemen at the blue line. He skated the puck past the red line and shot it safely in to the empty net to secure the win for the Badgers.
Joel Rumpel and the Badgers improve to 2-11-1 on the year after the upset.
â€śThereâ€™s a big monkey off their backâ€ť, said Eaves â€śTheir confidence is a little higherâ€ť
The Badgers take their momentum into a week of practice until the number one ranked Boston University Menâ€™s Hockey Team comes to town to take on the upset minded Badgers on January 9th at 7:00 PM CT.