The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 24, 2013

Wisconsin beats Colorado College in WCHA championship game

ST. PAUL — Wisconsin left the WCHA with quite a souvenir.

Now the Badgers need four more wins to get a bigger prize that seemed so improbable last month.

Nic Kerdiles had a goal and an assist to help Wisconsin hang on to beat Colorado College 3-2 on Saturday night in the WCHA championship game, giving the Badgers the Broadmoor Trophy, their sixth consecutive victory and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

"We are where we are today because of those lessons that we learned," coach Mike Eaves said, referring to the 2-7-5 start his team endured.

Tyler Barnes scored with 17 seconds left in the first period to put fourth-seeded Wisconsin (22-12-7) on top, and the Badgers stayed ahead the entire evening to end the season for the Tigers (18-19-5). Both teams needed to win to move on because their records aren't strong enough for an at-large spot in the 16-team field.

Colorado College, the eighth seed in the playoffs, also was riding all the March momentum it could muster to try to reach the NCAA tournament. The Tigers, also in their last weekend as a member of the league, won four in a row to get to the title game. But they ran out of steam in their sixth game in nine days.

When Wisconsin and Minnesota join the Big Ten later this year, Colorado College goes to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference with fellow WCHA foes Denver, St. Cloud State, North Dakota, Nebraska Omaha and Minnesota Duluth.

"This is such a big-time tournament. I'm glad we were a part of it and represented ourselves and our school well," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "Nobody should be hanging their head."

Sean Little also had a goal for Wisconsin after having one waved off earlier in the game.

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