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  06:37pm CDT, 07/22/14

UW Mens Hockey has Final WCHA Series @ Coliseum



No. 14 Wisconsin plays its final regular-season series of the season as it welcomes WCHA-leading No. 8 St. Cloud State to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday and Saturday. The Badgers go back to where it all began for the Wisconsin men's hockey program, as the Coliseum served as Wisconsin's home rink from 1967 until 1998.

SERIES:
Wisconsin leads 43-32-9 (26-13-4 in Madison, Wis.)

LAST MEETING: L, 2-1 -- The Badgers outshot St. Cloud State 42-23 and took a 1-0 lead into the third period on a Frankie Simonelli goal in the second period, but goals by the Huskies in the first and 14th minute of the third period spoiled the game for Wisconsin. The previous night, on Feb. 3, 2012, UW also outshot SCSU, 32-24, but fell behind 4-0 through two periods before succumbing 5-1. Brendan Woods scored a late power-play goal for the Badgers to avoid the shutout.

SERIES NOTES: UW meets SCSU for the 85th and 86th times...UW is 0-5-1 in the last six meetings between the two schools...UW is just 4-12-1 over the last 17 meetings in the series, but just four of the last 17 meetings have taken place in Madison...UW is 1-3-0 in those four contests...among the four victories in the last 17 games was UW's 5-3 win in the 2010 NCAA West Regional Final at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., that advanced the Badgers to the 2010 NCAA Men's Frozen Four in Detroit...prior to SCSU's recent run, the Badgers went 11-0-3 in 14 games against the Huskies...UW head coach Mike Eaves served as an assistant coach for St. Cloud State during the 1987-88 season

FOR STARTERS
•  No. 14 Wisconsin (16-11-7, 12-7-7 WCHA) concludes its final regular season in the WCHA where it all began in 1969-70 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center. The Badgers skate on Friday and Saturday against first-place and eighth-ranked St. Cloud State (20-13-1, 17-8-1 WCHA).
   Both games begin at 7 p.m. CT and air live on Fox Sports Wisconsin and tape delayed on Wisconsin Channel.

•  The Badgers last played games at the Coliseum during the 2005 WCHA playoffs, when the Badgers earned a 2-1 series victory over Alaska Anchorage. The Coliseum served as Wisconsin's home rink from 1967 until 1998.

•  Wisconsin posted an important road sweep at then No. 13/15 Nebraska Omaha last weekend, claiming 4-3 and 6-2 victories, while St. Cloud State skated to a series split against Michigan Tech, winning 5-3 and dropping a 5-1 contest.

•  Wisconsin is in a fourth-place tie in the WCHA standings with Minnesota State at 31 points, while St. Cloud State is the league front-runner with 35 points. North Dakota and Minnesota are tied for second with 33 points. The Badgers hold a one-point cushion over Nebraska Omaha for the sixth and final playoff spot, while Denver sits just two points back with 29 points in seventh place.
   Three points for Wisconsin would clinch home ice, while UW can gain home ice with fewer points and some help from other teams. It may come down to Sunday, when Denver plays host to Alaska Anchorage in the final game of the regular season.
   UW's 31 league points are the most it has had since earned 37 points and placing second during the 2009-10 campaign.

•  Wisconsin needs a sweep and some help from other teams to grab a share of its fourth MacNaughton Cup trophy as conference champion. That means the Badgers are still in the hunt for the league title on the last weekend for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign when it last won the Cup. That year, Wisconsin had the trophy wrapped up before the final weekend.
   St. Cloud State is looking for its first WCHA regular-season title.

•  Wisconsin is 11-2-5 over its last 18 league games after beginning the season 1-5-2 in its first eight league contests.
   UW is 15-4-5 in its last 24 games after going 1-7-2 in its first 10 games.
    
•  Honorary captains this weekend include former UW head coach Jeff Sauer on Friday and two-time NCAA Frozen Four MVP Marc Behrend on Saturday.

•  The Badgers scored a season-high six goals last Saturday at Nebraska Omaha, while also scoring four goals in the second period for the team's first four-goal period of the year.

•  Wisconsin went 2-for-6 on the power play last Saturday, scoring a power-play goal on the road for just the second and third times this season. UW had gone 39 consecutive road power plays without a goal before scoring on its first power-play chance at UNO last Saturday.
   St. Cloud State is the least penalized team in the WCHA at just 8.3 penalty minutes per game, and ranks fourth in the league with an 82.6 percent penalty kill (76-for-92).

•  Wisconsin is outscoring its opponents 70-45 at even strength this season.

•  Wisconsin is in the midst of 10 consecutive weekends of play during the regular season. The current stretch began with a trip to Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 4-5. The Badgers will continue into an 11th week, at minimum, with the first round of the WCHA playoffs, March 15-17.
   The Badgers are also in the midst of four games in seven days.

•  Thirteen of Wisconsin's last 17 games have been decided by one goal or less and UW is 8-3-2 in those one-goal contests.

•  Wisconsin's defense leads the league, allowing 2.23 goals-against per game. Overall, the Badgers' defense is allowing 2.06 goals-against per game, which ranks second behind Minnesota (1.97 goals-against per game). UW's overall 2.06 goals-against per game ranks fifth in the country.
   St. Cloud State has the third-highest scoring offense in the nation at 3.32 goals per game. The top six teams in the country in offense all come from the WCHA.

•  Junior forward Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) tallied three goals and six points last weekend at Nebraska Omaha and became the first UW 20-goal scorer since Blake Geoffrion (28) and Michael Davis (20) both reached the mark during the 2009-10 season. Mersch leads the Badgers with a career-high 32 points in 34 games.
   One of five players in the nation with 20 goals, Mersch is one shy of the goal-scoring lead among all WCHA skaters, while his 15 goals in league play are two off the pace set by UNO sophomore Josh Archibald.

•  After going nearly a year without a four-point performance by a Badger, three Badgers put up four-point games last week. Junior forward Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) had a goal and three assists on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Penn State, then junior forwards Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) and Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) collected four-point night's last Saturday at Nebraska Omaha. Mersch scored two goals and two assists, while Zengerle had a goal and three assists.

•  Junior forward Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) boasts a season-high six-game point-scoring streak after his four-point night last Saturday at Nebraska Omaha. He also has a three-game goal-scoring streak. Zengerle has three goals and 10 points during his current six-game scoring streak.
   A 50-point scorer as a sophomore, and the nation's leading returning scorer, Zengerle opened the season with points in his first five games (2-4=6), but was injured in the sixth game. After missing six contests, Zengerle struggled to reach the scoresheet consistently, but seems to have found his stride.
   Zengerle, who earlier this season reached 100 career points, now ranks second on the Badgers with 25 points in 28 games played. He is second on the team with 17 assists and third with eight goals.

•  Sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.) scored his third goal of the season and his first in 19 games, scoring UW's fourth on a rebound during a 3-on-2. McCabe last scored on Nov. 24 against Minnesota State.
   McCabe also produced his third multi-point game of the season in last Sunday's contest. UW's top-scoring defenseman with 15 points in 30 games played, he is also UW's All-WCHA nominee on the blue line.

•  Wisconsin is 8-4-4 against teams ranked at the time of the meetings and 7-6-3 against teams currently ranked in the polls.

•  Freshman forward Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) posted two assists over the weekend and now has points in four consecutive games (1-4=5) eight of his last nine games and 10 of his last 12 contests. The rookie ranks fifth on the Badgers with 19 points in 24 games.
   Since Kerdiles joined the lineup on Nov. 30, he shares second for UW with 19 points.
   UW has gone 15-4-5 with Kerdiles in the lineup.

•  Junior forward Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) has points in three of his last six games, while putting up multi-point efforts in all three of those contests. He had a goal and an assist against Minnesota on Feb. 15, posted a goal and three assists against Penn State on Feb. 24, then tallied a goal and two assists last Saturday at Nebraska Omaha.
   Barnes ranks second on UW with nine goals and third with 22 points.

•  Two Badgers made climbs on Wisconsin's career top-10 lists last week. Senior defenseman John Ramage (St. Louis) had six penalty minutes and now ranks ninth on the list for penalty minutes for a defenseman with 224. Bob Suter (1975-79) is UW's all-time leader among defensemen with 377 penalty minutes.
   Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) also climbed a list, moving into a tie for sixth on the career shutout list with seven after producing a 22-save blanking on Feb. 24. He is now tied with Scott Gudmandson (2007-11), one behind Bernd Bruckler (2001-05) and Shane Connelly (2005-09) for fourth and two behind Terry Kleisinger (1980-84) and Graham Melanson (1997-2001) for second.
   Rumpel also produced his fourth shutout of the season, which is tied for the third-highest single-season total in UW history with four other goalies, including Kleisinger, Melanson, Gudmandson and Bruckler. Brian Elliott (2003-07) holds the top two spots with eight shutouts in 2005-06 and five shutouts in 2006-07.

•  The line of freshman Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.), junior Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) and junior Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) is beginning to fulfil the roale of a first line. The group tallied three goals and 10 points last weekend against Nebraska Omaha. Over the last six games, the trio has produced eight goals, 17 assists and 25 points.

•  Sophomore forward Brendan Woods (Yorba Linda, Calif.) has six points in his last eight games after recording just three points in his first 25 games played this season. Woods tallied his first career game-winning goal last Friday at Nebraska Omaha, scoring with 1:42 left in regulation to give Wisconsin a 4-3 victory. He has five goals and nine points in 33 games played this season after scoring five goals and 10 points in 34 games as a rookie.

•  Freshman forward Kevin Schulze (White Bear Lake, Minn.) has four points (2-2=4) in his last seven games after collecting just two points over his first 26 games. He now has three goals and six points in 33 games played.

•  The Badgers skated in their 11th overtime game of the season on Monday, Feb. 25, tying the second-most overtime games played by a Badger team in a season. UW's 2003-04 team set the program mark with 13 overtime contests and went 5-1-8 in those games. This year's team, with a 2-2-7 overtime mark, equaled the 1988-89 team's 11 overtime games. The Badgers were 2-4-5 in overtimes that season.
   The Badgers have tied a school record with seven WCHA ties this season. That matches the seven league ties the Badgers produced during the 2003-04 season. Wisconsin has also played 10 WCHA overtime games (2-1-7), matching the school mark of 10 set during the 1988-89 campaign (2-3-5).
   One more tie and the Badgers will tie the school record for overall ties in a season with eight, also set during the 2003-04 season.
 
•  Senior forward Derek Lee (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) became the eighth Badger on the current roster to play in 100 games on Feb. 24. He has now played in 101 contests. Other Badgers who have played at least 100 games are seniors John Ramage (149) and Ryan Little (124), as well as juniors Michael Mersch (112), Tyler Barnes (111), Frankie Simonelli (110), Mark Zengerle (106) and Jefferson Dahl (105).
   Wisconsin finished last season with just two of its skaters--Ramage and Justin Schultz--in the 100 career games played club, while the 1010-11 squad boasted five players with 100 games played. UW's 2010 NCAA runners-up squad boasted 11 skaters with at least 100 games played.

•  Wisconsin has been in the lead or tied going into the third period in 28 of their 34 games and sports a 16-6-6 mark in those contests.
   UW has been tied heading into eight third periods and is 1-4-4 in those games.

•  The Badgers have been tied or leading after the first period in 26 of their 32 games this season and are 13-7-6 in those games.

•  Wisconsin is 5-3-2 in nine completed league series this season. The Badgers took season series on the road at Nebraska Omaha (2-0-0), Minnesota Duluth (1-0-1) and Denver (1-0-1), swept Alaska Anchorage (4-0-0), defeated Bemidji State at home (1-0-1), tied its season series with Minnesota State (2-2-0) and Michigan Tech (0-0-2) at home, and dropped its season series with Colorado College (0-2-0) at the Kohl Center, North Dakota (0-1-1) on the road and against Minnesota (1-2-1).

•  Wisconsin went 8-2-4 on the road in league games this season, earning 20 league points. Wisconsin went 4-9-1 in league road contests last season. UW's 20 road WCHA points are the most since the 2005-06 team also captured 20 road points. That team was 9-3-2 on the road. UW's last McNaughton Cup champion team in 1999-2000 collected 24 road league points with a 12-2-0 road mark.
   UW's .714 WCHA road winning percentage is tied for the third-best in school history with the 2005-06 team. Only the 1999-2000 team, with a .857 winning percentage and the 1976-77 team, with an .844 wining percentage, were better.

•  The Badgers have seen 19 of its alumni play at least one NHL game this year, including Ben Street, who made his NHL debut for the Calgary Flames. The 19 are the most of any school in the nation. Street also makes it 11 Badgers in the NHL from the 2006 NCAA championship team, and nine from the 2010 NCAA runners-up. A total of 76 Badgers all-time have played in the NHL.

•  Junior forward Merk Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) became the 71st Badger in to reach 100 career points with an assist on Feb. 1 at North Dakota, reaching the mark in 97 games. Zengerle is the seventh Badger during the Eaves' coaching era to score at least 100 points (Davies, Earl, Geoffrion, Schultz, MacMurchy, Pavelski) and the second do so in 100 games or less (Pavelski).

•  Interim assistant coach Matt Walsh joined UW's staff on Friday, Nov. 23, replacing the departed Bill Butters. Walsh played for Wisconsin from 1982-86, skating as a defenseman on Wisconin's 1983 NCAA title team.
   Walsh's addition means that each of UW full-time coaches are now Badger alumni, and each won an NCAA title as a player at Wisconsin. Head Coach Mike Eaves won the 1977 NCAA title, Walsh won the 1983 NCAA championship and assistant coach Gary Shuchuk won the 1990 NCAA championship.
   This marks the first time in the modern era of Badger hockey at all three Badger coaches are UW alumni.

World Juniors
•  Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.) captained Team USA to the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship gold medal in Ufa, Russia. McCabe made the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship Media All-Star team and finished the tournament third among defensemen with six points on three goals and three assists. He ranked second in the tournament with a plus-9.

Looking Back to Look Ahead
•  Junior forward Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) returns as the nation's leading scorer after pacing the Badgers' and the country's returning scorers from last season with a 1.35 points-per-game scoring average. His 50 points are tied for the highest returning total.
    Zengerle, who tied for the national scoring lead among sophomores in 2011-12, was a 2012 Third-Team All-WCHA selection.
    Zengerle finished second in the nation with a 1.00 assists-per-game mark and 37 helpers. He ranked sixth in the nation with a 1.35 points-per-game scoring average. His 50 total points shared seventh in the country.
    Zengerle was the seventh Badger in the Mike Eaves 10-year coaching era to post 50+ points, joining Joe Pavelski (56) and Robbie Earl (50) in 2005-06 and Derek Stepan (54), Michael Davies (52), Brendan Smith (52) and Blake Geoffrion (50) in 2009-10.

•  Zengerle had 37 assists on the season and became the second forward, and fourth player in UW history, to have at least 30 assists in his first two years as a Badger. Only Theran Welsh and Mark Johnson have had at least 30 assists in their first three seasons.

Name Years Fr. So. Jr.
Theran Welsh, D 1977-79   45  54  51
Mark Johnson, F 1976-78 44 38 40
Chris Chelios, D 1980-82 43 32 --
Mark Zengerle, F    2010-12 31 37 17

CAPTAINS
•   Senior defenseman John Ramage returns for his second season as team captain. He's the first repeat Badger captain since Adam Burish in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
      Other two-time solo captains include: Steve Reinprecht (1998-99, 1999-2000), Erik Raygor (1996-97, 1997-98), Steve Rohlik (1988-89, 1989-90) and Mike Eaves (1975-76, 1977-78). Eaves was also one of three tri-captains during the 1976-77 season. In 2008-09, Ben Street and Blake Geoffrion were co-captains, before both were part of a tri-captain group in 2009-10 that also included Ryan McDonagh.
      Each two-time captain prior to Ramage has won a WCHA regular-season title, WCHA playoff championship, NCAA championship, or made an NCAA title game.

•   In addition to John Ramage serving as team captain, senior forward Ryan Little returns for his second season as an assistant captain. Senior forward Derek Lee (home) and junior defenseman Frankie Simonelli (road) will also serve as assistant captains.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN
•   Wisconsin is dominated by its junior and sophomore classes with 17 of the 26 student-athletes coming from them. The 10-member junior class is the largest, followed by the seven-member sophomore class. Six newcomers grace this year's roster, while only three student-athletes are part of the senior class.

•   Nine of the 26 student-athletes on the Badger roster are NHL draft picks. Among those, frosh forward Nic Kerdiles and sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe are second-round picks, while sophomore defenseman Joe Faust, sophomore forward Joseph LaBate, junior forward Michael Mersch and senior defenseman John Ramage are fourth rounders. Also drafted are sophomore forward Brendan Woods (fifth round), frosh defenseman Eddie Wittchow (sixth round) and sophomore forward Brad Navin (seventh round).

•   Ten Badgers hail from Wisconsin, more than any other state or province. Other states or provinces represented include Minnesota (six), Illinois (three), British Columbia and California (two) and Missouri, New York and Saskatchewan (one).

SEASON STORYLINES
•   Wisconsin will celebrate its 50th year of hockey in the modern era (Since 1963) all season long. The Badgers will dedicate the Kohl Center ice to Bob Johnson on Nov. 2, while recognition of the 1973 (40 years) and the 1983 NCAA championships (30 years), as well as honorary game captains at home games, will help celebrate the anniversary.

The Badgers will wear a patch on their uniforms during th season and the boards will make mention of the occasion.

•   The 2012-13 season will mark the Badgers' final season as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Wisconsin became a member of the WCHA in the 1969-70 season.

Beginning next year, Wisconsin will play in the Big Ten with current WCHA-member Minnesota, former WCHA-members Michigan and Michigan State, Ohio State and Division I newcomer Penn State.

•   The Badgers will play outdoor hockey this season at the Hockey City Classic on Feb. 17 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Minnesota is the opponent, while Notre Dame and Miami will also meet as part of a doubleheader.

Once the game is played, Wisconsin will have competed in three of the four home facilities for NFC North teams (Green Bay Packers - Lambeau Field; Detroit Lions - Ford Field; Chicago Bears - Soldier Field).

The game will mark the third outdoor hockey game for the Badgers since 2006 and the fifth played at a football stadium since that time.

•  Wisconsin closes out the 2012-13 regular season with a pair of home games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Badgers moved the games to accommodate the 2013 WIAA High School Boys' Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers played their home games from 1967-98 at the Coliseum, and also played WCHA first round playoff series there in 2001 and 2005.

UP NEXT
•   The first weekend of the WCHA playoffs begin next weekend, March 15-17. Teams, matchups and locations are yet to be determined. Games take place on campus sites.


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