Men's Hockey: Weekend split gives Badgers their first road victory

With its first road victory on the line, No. 12 Wisconsin (4-3-1) traveled to Oxford, Ohio, to take on No. 8 Miami-Ohio (7-4-1) over the weekend.

Friday the Badgers couldn’t put a puck past Redhawk sophomore goaltender Ryan McKay, who had just been named National Collegiate Hockey Conference goalie of the week. With 30 saves, he all but gave Miami the 2-0 victory singlehandedly.

With a new game plan and a familiar face back between the pipes Saturday, the Badgers were able to skate to a 3-2 victory.

Friday night’s goal drought for the Badgers also meant something else: the end of sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles’ 18-game point streak dating back to last season.

After a scoreless first period Miami freshman forward Anthony Louis managed to light the lamp in the second period by beating Wisconsin junior goalie Landon Peterson, who stopped 34 of 35 shots in the game.

With 26 seconds remaining in the third period, the Badgers found themselves on a power play and pulled Peterson for an extra skater. After initially gaining control of the puck the Badgers lost it in front of McKay, and Redhawk junior forward Austin Czarnik cleared over 130 feet of ice to give Miami the empty-net goal and seal a 2-0 victory.

Junior goaltender Joel Rumpel was back in action Saturday after missing a good part of the season thus far with a leg injury he suffered in practice. The Saskatchewan native was solid, stopping 32 of the Redhawks’ 34 shots to help the Badgers to victory.

Junior defenseman Jake McCabe tallied the first goal for the Badgers on a power play to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period, solidifying McCabe’s spot as the nation’s highest-scoring defenseman.

Miami, however, did not wait for the Badgers to keep coming on the forecheck, leading Miami junior forward Blake Coleman to score a power-play goal five minutes into the second period.

The Redhawks scored again in the period, going up 2-1 on Czarnik’s second goal of the weekend.

The Badgers finally answered halfway through the third period when senior forward Michael Mersch netted a rebound off the crossbar. The goal was Mersch’s 50th as a Badger, also making him the 50th Wisconsin player to reach the milestone.

Ultimately, junior forward Joseph LaBate’s goal would be the difference maker with just under five minutes remaining in the third period. Following up on senior forward Tyler Barnes’ missed breakaway opportunity, LaBate shot the puck past McKay to give the team its first road win of the season.

Wisconsin takes a break from play this week but will return to action against rival Minnesota to officially open Big Ten conference play Nov. 29. contributed to this report.

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