Badgers Take Down Huskies | Finals Bound vs. Kato
Saturday's semi-final game vs. the Huskies of St. Cloud State was nothing short of action packed, grit and grind hockey for all 60 minutes. Both teams fought hard to earn their spot in the final on Sunday, awaiting the winner of UW-Eau Claire and MN State-Mankato. That game wrapped up after our game with the Mavericks edging out the Bluegolds by a final of 4-2.
In the first period, both teams came out flying as not too many opportunities presented themselves due to the stout defense from both squads. There were a few good looks for the Badgers early, but St. Cloud's senior goaltender was not giving anything up easy. Around the halfway mark of the first, there was no movement on the scoreboard. Tied at 0-0 for the majority of the period. Nearing the 12 minute mark of the period, the Huskies would break the tie, capitalizing on a tired Badgers line off a defensive zone turnover. 0-1 would be the score going into the first intermission.
Looking to bounce back early, the Badgers came out of the break with all wheels turning! Four minutes into the period, the Badgers would get their first opportunity on the power play after Ranheim got cross-checked from behind. The ensuing power play would look fantastic, as the team would get lots of shots and opportunities, but nothing would sneak by the goaltender. Back to full strength. A few minutes later, Franklin Montes would take a hard hit to the head cutting across the crease on a scoring chance, sending the Husky to the box and the Badgers back to the power play. Montes would be alright, missing a few shifts; however, he is now in concussion protocol and will be evaluated for play by the medical staff before today's game. The ensuing power play would be another filled with scoring chances. Both units looked great, getting lots of shots but nothing would find the back of the net - another good kill by the Huskies to get back to full strength. Just about a minute later, Trace Tompkins would spring Travis Kernen on a breakaway where he was hooked, regained control, then found Eli Padilla sitting on the backdoor to tie the game at 1-1! Due to ACHA rule, the Badgers would go on the power play as well. With :30 remaining on the hooking minor, the Badgers would get called for too many men, 4 on 4 play. The team would also kill off the 1:30 of penalty time shortly after. Jake Bailey put his body on the line for the boys late in the second, blocking a shot and taking a brutal hit from a charging Husky. No call and Jake would be evaluated for a concussion. He was deemed unfit to play and will be out for today's game. We hope he feels better soon. The second would end in a 1-1 tie, making the third the period to win for both teams.
As the Badgers started the third, there were two shots that rang off the crossbar 3 minutes in: one by John Simon and one by Andy Pitts. No change in score, but the boys seemed to have the upper hand in the endurance game. Ranheim would get called for a cross-check about 6 minutes into the period, the Badgers would kill it off, then as he came out of the box, the team would be called for their second too many men penalty. We would kill that one as well, then have a power play right after. The power play was again, clicking on all cylinders but couldn't find the back of the net. Both teams even strength with 9 minutes to play. That tie would hold into the final 6 minutes. A great zone entry by the Red Line saw Mikey Perea drop to Jake Feldt who ripped a great shot off the goalie where Ty Bailey would bury the rebound to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead heading into the final frames of the game! Great sustained pressure by the Badgers again saw the Huskies unable to pull their goaltender before they took their timeout with 1:15 to go. Wouldn't matter though, as the Badgers still had gas in the tank against a crippled Husky attack. Badgers win 2-1!!
Eli Padilla - 1G
Ty Bailey - 1G
Travis Kernen - 1A
Trace Tompkins - 1A
Mikey Perea - 1A
Jake Feldt - 1A
The Badgers advance to their third Carla Berg Cup Final, their first since 2018 where they lost to the University of Minnesota in a shootout. The opponent is MN State-Mankato. These two teams are very familiar with eachother having played just a month ago in Mankato. The Badgers took the season series handily winning game one by a final of 5-1 and game two by a final of 4-2. As we've seen though, anything can happen in the tournament. This finals matchup sees the #4 seeded Badgers facing off against the #7 seeded Mavericks. Down a couple of players as well will test the team. Sean Goss continues to look fantastic in net and will likely get the nod in the finals. This will be Coach Joe Garvey's third time coaching a team in the finals.
The team is eager to make history as the first Badgers team to win the Carla Berg Cup and lock in their spot for Regionals in two weeks. That tournament will be 2/25-2/27 in Lacrosse, WI. As always, follow the team twitter for live updates during the game. Game time is 1PM on rink one of the Super Rink. Go Badgers!!