Badgers strike early, rout MSU-Mankato to reach WCHA semis

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2013 - 12:07 AM

Wisconsin to face St. Cloud State in the semifinals.

Wisconsin’s Michael Mersch, left, and Tyler Barnes celebrated one of Barnes’ two goals against Minnesota State, Mankato.

Photo: Jim Mone • Associated Press ,

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Mike Hastings didn’t see any sign of stage fright when Minnesota State, Mankato stepped onto the ice for Thursday’s WCHA Final Five quarterfinal against Wisconsin. Then the No. 14 Badgers scored just 63 seconds into the game, and the Mavericks coach saw things unravel very quickly.

Wisconsin (20-12-7) added two more goals in the first 8:11 to sink the No. 8 Mavericks 7-2 at Xcel Energy Center, earning a spot in Friday’s semifinals against top seed St. Cloud State.

The Mavericks (24-13-3) outshot the Badgers 40-27 and had nine power-play opportunities to Wisconsin’s two. But Jefferson Dahl scored two shorthanded goals, and teammate Tyler Barnes scored twice at even strength to power the Badgers to their eighth victory in the past 10 games.

The Mavericks had fallen behind 4-0 before they scored their first goal, on a power play at 10:53 of the second period after the Badgers’ John Ramage was assessed a major penalty for charging. They got a second goal on that five-minute power play, then were shut out by Badgers goalie Joel Rumpel for the final 26:09.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted,’’ said Hastings, whose team stands 12th in the PairWise Rankings and remains in position to make the NCAA tournament field. “That, combined with [the Badgers] smelling a little blood in the water, is why we didn’t get it done.’’

Rumpel stopped 38 of 40 shots, while Mavericks freshman goalie Stephon Williams — the WCHA’s goalie of the year — made 14 saves on 19 shots before leaving the game.

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