Badgers advance to WCHA Championship Game - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Badgers advance to WCHA Championship Game

Joel Rumpel made 30 saves for Wisconsin Joel Rumpel made 30 saves for Wisconsin
UW freshman forward Nic Kerdiles had a goal and an assist Friday UW freshman forward Nic Kerdiles had a goal and an assist Friday
Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves

St. Paul, MN (WQOW) -- The same Wisconsin team that started the season 1-7-2 stays hot. The Badgers have now gone 20-5-5 in their last 30 games, including an impressive 4-1 win the WCHA Final Five semifinals Friday over top-seeded St. Cloud State.

"With the rough start we had, I have to be completely honest, at the beginning of December we were just trying to win hockey games," says head coach Mike Eaves. "We were trying to turn the ship around and get some wind at our back and play well. Since that time it has happened and its evolved to the where we're at our point right now. So it is a surprise based on that 1-7-2 start."

A huge turning point in the game against the Huskies came in the first period. Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel lost his stick, but somehow it was able to hit the puck and keep it out of the net. 

"I made that first save and the rebound slipped out to my right and I guess I just dove across and ended up hitting it on my stick and knocked it out of my hands. The puck just squirted wide, so there was a bit of luck on my side there, but I'll take it," says Rumpel.

Coach Eaves says Rumpel's play was key on Friday: "He stopped some good scoring opportunities and as the game wore on we started to get back to our game a little bit. I think that the fact that Joel was playing so well got into their heads a little bit. I've been on that side of the coin. And then we started to get things going and scored some goals and then the victory was there at the end."

Wisconsin has not won a WCHA tournament title since 1998. They'll get the chance to do just that at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday. Puck drops for that game at 7:07 p.m. 


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