Men’s hockey: Badgers Edge No. 1 Gophers, Earn Sweep

Fresh off a euphoric win over the top-ranked team in the land, the No. 12 Wisconsin men's hockey team fought its way to a 2-1 win over No. 1 Minnesota at the Kohl Center on Friday. 

For the second night in a row, it was the Badgers who drew first blood. Nic Kerdiles hustled to a loose puck and tipped it to Grant Besse, who found the biscuit at the right faceoff dot and buried it in the back of the net with just seconds remaining in the opening period.

Besse's beautiful goal put the Badgers ahead 1-0 at the first intermission.

Jake McCabe crushed Minnesota’s Kyle Rau in the opening moments of the second. However, the Badgers defenseman aimed high when he handed out his punisment and earned a game misconduct because of it.

“I did not see it, I did not see it. I talked to the referee about the fact that Mr. Rau’s a smaller guy, did he take that into consideration when the hit was made? I have not looked at it yet,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said. “(Gary Shuchuk) thought he might have brought his hands up, as he made the hit. If that’s the case, then it’s a penalty, and it’s a bad guy to lose, but you know we can look back and say look at the growth that happened because other guys had to step up.”

Minnesota lit the lamp on their major power play, but the Badgers were able to narrowly avoid disaster and kept the game tied at one apiece after two.

At 4:33 of the third, UW’s Nic Kerdiles buried a wrister from the point. The shot was so picturesque, the Badgers sophomore was seen taking a peak at his ninth goal of the season on the KC’s jumbotron.

Kerdiles’ score proved to be the decisive goal as Wisconsin provided Minnesota two losses to think about on the long trek back on I-94.

Besse and Kerdiles each finished the game with two points for the Badgers.

Wisconsin netmider Joel Rumpel picked up his second win of the series and 14th of the season, after stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced.

“I don’t know. It’s kind of a weird feeling for goaltending. You just get in a groove and the puck just seems bigger, reading plays before they happen,” Rumpel said.” Just being on the ice more, battling hard in practice towards the end of the season helps a lot. That’s about it.”

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