Badgers hold off Alaska-Anchorage for 5-3 win - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Badgers hold off Alaska-Anchorage for 5-3 win

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Wisconsin (5-7-5, 3-5-5 WCHA) began a new year of hockey in winning fashion on Friday night, holding off a late rally by Alaska Anchorage (3-10-4, 1-9-3 WCHA) to earn a 5-3 win in its first game back from break and its first game of 2013.

Despite two quick goals from the Badgers and a 4-1 UW lead midway through the third period, the Seawolves made a game of things inside their home, George M. Sullivan Arena, recording two quick scores of their own to make it a one-goal deficit with 7:41 remaining.

Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) put the game away late for UW, however, scoring in the final minute off an assist from Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.). 

With the win, the Badgers extended their unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3) and tallied their fourth win in six games.

First to score on the night was John Ramage (St. Louis, Mo.), as the senior defenseman drove to the net from behind the goal line and was able to knock back in his own rebound to score and give UW the 1-0 lead. Keegan Meuer (Madison, Wis.) and Ryan Little (Fond du Lac, Wis.) earned the assists.

Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.) was the next Badger to score, as he took a centering feed from Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) to finish strong at the net and make it 2-0 for UW at 8:17 of the first period. Derek Lee (North Vancouver, B.C.) got the goal's second assist.

The Badgers owned an early 12-to-7 shots-on-goal advantage after the first period, but the Seawolves responded in the second, coming out much more aggressive and looking to take advantage of offensive opportunities.

UAA was able to cut UW's lead to 2-1 at the 8:10 mark of the second period, as Matt Bailey finished off a nice drop pass in the slot and snuck a shot past Landon Peterson (Oregon, Wis.) for the score.
After contact to the head by UAA's Austin Sevalrud drew a five-minute major power play at the 17:27 mark of the period, the Badgers were able to use the extended man advantage to stabilize and retake some of the momentum that had been built by the Seawolves.

Momentum being built up by the Badgers was finally spent in the third period, as two goals within a stretch of 1:05 pushed UW to a 4-1 lead.

At the 6:29 mark of the final period, Mersch scored his 12th goal of the season on a nifty shot over a sliding UAA defender and into the far upper corner with a wrist shot on the rush. Just 1:05 later, Barnes upped the lead to three, as the junior forward smacked home a feed from Zengerle on the rush to make it 4-1 UW with 7:34 left.

Trailing 4-1 late in the final period, the Seawolves put together an offensive spurt of their own, scoring a pair of goals just over a minute apart to cut into the Badgers lead. At the 11:04 mark of the period, Blake Tatchell poked a loose puck past Peterson in the slot, then at the 12:19 mark, Kwas took advantage of a defensive breakdown by UW behind the net to score and make it 4-3 UW.

At the 19:29 mark of the period, Zengerle scored an empty-net tally off an assist from Barnes to push the UW lead back to 5-3 and all but assured the win for the Badgers.

Wisconsin looks to extend its unbeaten streak tomorrow night against Alaska Anchorage, as the two meet again for a 10 p.m. (CT) faceoff.
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