Kerdiles scores twice in Badgers' shutout win - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Kerdiles scores twice in Badgers' shutout win

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Mike Eaves had talked all week about how the new locker room and facilities of newly constructed LaBahn Arena were a nice new house, but not yet a home.

The Badgers (3-7-5, 2-5-5 WCHA) were finally able to begin breaking in their new house on Thursday night by defeating Alabama Huntsville 5-0, recording their first win at the Kohl Center this season and then turning up the celebration tunes in the locker room post game. 

"I think that's the first night we've been able to use our sound system to the fullest," Sean Little (Fond du Lac, Wis.) said. "(We) finally celebrate a win at home."

There's no place quite like home.

There's also no place like a winning locker room, where Little said the first song of choice after the win was Portugese-French singer, songwriter and producer, Lucenzo.

A fitting choice, as it was fluent French speaker Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) who made the first sweet music of the night, scoring his first goal as a Badger and prompting the horn to sound in the Kohl Center at the 4:00 mark of the first period to make it 1-0 UW.

"I'm happy to finally get the monkey off my back, as I would call it, and finally get that goal," Kerdiles said. "At the end of the day, I'm just excited for the way our team played tonight."

As a team, the Badgers worked together to post a group of impressive numbers. They tied their season-high in shots on goal (37), set a season-high for goals (five) in a game and set a school record for fewest shots allowed in a game (nine).

Kerdiles was one of two Badgers to score his first goal of the season, along with Little. The freshman forward also scored again in the third period, joining Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) as the second two-goal scorer on the night.

Just under three minutes after Kerdiles' first goal, Derek Lee (North Vancouver, British Columbia) found Mersch in front of the net for a one-time score on the power play. The goal, also assisted by Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.), put the Badgers up 2-0 at the 6:43 mark of the period.

Mersch's night wasn't done, as the junior forward scored his 11th goal of the season at the 14:29 mark of the second period, thanks in large part to an assist from Lee.

Grabbing the puck and skating behind the net, Lee appeared to be making a hard wrap around, but instead passed it back halfway through to a wide open Mersch, who blasted it home past UAH goalie John Griggs for his second score of the game and the 3-0 UW lead.

In the third period, Little scored his first goal of the season, as the junior positioned himself in front of the UAH net, got his stick on a loose puck and poked it through the legs and past Griggs to make it 4-0 UW at the 2:51 mark of the period.

Kerdiles and Zengerle worked together on a two-on-one opportunity to close out the scoring, as Zengerle fed Kerdiles, who blasted it past goalie Gregg Gruehl for his second score. The goal came at the 4:31 mark and put UW ahead by the final score of 5-0.

"We were talking about it a little bit before the game to get the fans the ice cream," Mersch said. "A lot of guys contributed tonight, and that's pretty big for us."

Though they won't enjoy the ice cream themselves, a five-goal win going away was sweet enough for a team of Badgers that had already endured six overtime games and skated to five ties on the season.

Wisconsin looks to replicate the feeling of its winning ways tomorrow night and record the first series sweep of the season, facing off against Alabama Huntsville again at 7 p.m. (CT).
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