As the old adage goes, “all good things must come to an end.” The Wisconsin men’s hockey team’s 11- game unbeaten streak came to a close Saturday night as No. 8 Miami (OH) downed the Badgers 2-1 at the Kohl Center.
After being shutout in the first game of the series, it was the Redhawks that got on the board first in the finale courtesy of a score from Austin Czarnik on the power play just 3:16 into the contest.
“We were on our heels before they even scored. You could tell which team won and which team lost last night because they came out with the burr in their fanny and they came out and had that step and we kind of slapped ourselves in the face a bit,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said. “The numbers say that you’ll win 65 percent of the time if you score first and that proved out tonight.”
The Badgers answered in the second period when Michael Mersch found the back of the net 8:35 into the stanza to knot the game at 1-1. The score was the, team-leading, 14th of the season for Mersch.
Curtis McKenzie helped Miami regain the lead with 3:53 left in the second. It proved to be the last score that the Redhawks would need.
UW created some scoring chances late, but was unable to convert. A stagnant power play unit continued to struggle as they went 0-5 on the night, including 0-3 in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Wisconsin is now 6-66 (9.09%) on the season.
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Goaltender Joel Rumpel, starting on back-to-back nights for just the third time this season, stopped 30 shots in a losing effort. Rumpel is now 1-1-1 this year when starting the night after posting a shutout.
Despite the loss, Eaves seemed generally pleased with the play of his netminder.
“He was really solid. I’m not sure what happened on the second goal,” Eaves said. “But there were a couple times he came up with three or four saves in succession and covered up and did another good job for us tonight.”
Wisconsin out-shot Miami 34-32 on the night and won 39 of 65 faceoffs.
With the loss, its first in nearly two months, UW falls to 9-8-5 overall. The Badgers will be back in action at the Kohl Center next weekend as they return to WCHA play when they host Alaska Anchorage in a two-game set that opens up Friday night at 7 p.m.