Sophomore winger Mark Zengerle and junior defensemen Justin Schultz of Wisconsin became two of the nation's three leading scorers -- with 25 points apiece -- after the Badgers beat Mercyhurst 5-2 on Saturday for a sweep of the nonconference series in Madison, Wis.
Also at 25 points is sophomore center Nick Bjugstad of the Gophers. He had two goals on Friday at Michigan State and two assists on Saturday.
Zengerle had three assists Saturday for an eight-point weekend, according to a University of Wisconsin news release. He had one goal and four assists in the Badgers' 7-2 victory on Friday. He has points in 15 consecutive games, the longest streak for a Badger since Chris Tancil had a streak the same length in 1990.
Schultz had a goal and two assists Saturday for the Badgers (7-8-1, 4-7-1 WCHA) at the Kohl Center. Mercyhurst is in first place in the Atlantic Hockey Conference at 5-1-1. but is 1-6-0 in outside games.
Asked if Schultz is carrying the Badgers, coach Mike Eaves said, “There’s no question [he is], with his ability, just at the right time, to make a play offensively or defensively, to settle us down.
"On the other side, with a forward, you’d have to look to Mark Zengerle and his ability this weekend to make plays with poise and confidence. Those two young guys are young men that are shouldering more responsibility for us.”
The Badgers led 2-1 after the opening period on Schultz's seventh goal of the season. He scored on a rebound off his own wrist shot. It was his seventh goal of the season.
The second period was scoreless.
“We were actually better tonight in the first period,” Eaves said. “They came with a great desire to try and establish themselves. It was two teams trying to establish their will.”
Senior Eric Springer took a pass from sophomore forward Michael Mersch and found the net 50 seconds into the third period for his first goal of the season. The goal was the second of Springer’s career, breaking a 61-game drought. His only previous goal came in the first game of his freshman season when he scored on the first shot he ever took.
The Lakers responded at the 7:16 on senior Derek Elliott's goal. Freshman goalie Landon Peterson jumped on the puck for Wisconsin before it slipped out from under his pads, setting up an easy shot for Elliott.
“I thought he made some really key saves for us,” Eaves said of Peterson. “He would like to have the second goal back. I think he had three times to try and cover it up and he just couldn’t quite get his handle on it, but he made some key saves and he gave us a chance to win the game.”
The Badgers added two insurance goals in the final 6:09. Joe LaBate put the Badgers up 4-2 at the 13:51 mark, knocking the puck out of mid-air and into the goal. With three minutes remaining, Tyler Barnes converted on a rebound for his seventh goal on the season.
Both are Minnesotans. LaBate played for Holy Angels, Barnes for Burnsville.
Wisconsin outshot the Lakers 28-27. The Badgers went 2-6 on the power play and held Mercyhurst scoreless on three power-play opportunities.
Peterson finished with 25 saves. Mercyhurst goalie Max Strang stopped 23.
“I’m pleased with the outcome,” Eaves said. “With having so many young people, every turn that we get to, almost every shift, there’s huge things that are going on because almost every player on the ice is young. They’re going through new things and we’re asking a lot of them.”
The Badgers are off next weekend.