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Wisconsin hockey recap: Badgers shutout Michigan Tech, 2-0

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Behind 47 stops from senior goaltender Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin was able to bounce back and earn a series split vs. Michigan Tech.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Sometimes when you have a freshman-heavy lineup, you need to rely on your senior goaltender to steal a game for you. That was the recipe for Wisconsin in Saturday's series finale, as Joel Rumpel stopped 47 shots and shutout Michigan Tech in a 2-0 win for the Badgers.

"We said in the beginning of the year that this was going to have to be our formula," head coach Mike Eaves said. "Have great goaltending from Joel (Rumpel), find a way to score, and then find a way to win. That was the recipe tonight."

Rumpel pulled out his best performance of the season on Saturday, just one night after being pulled after giving up three goals in the first period.

"Incredible," Morgan Zulinick said when asked to describe Rumpel's performance. "That's the only way I can describe it. He was amazing all night."

While it wasn't the prettiest performance for Wisconsin (2-11-1, 0-2-0 Big Ten), it was good enough to earn a series split with No. 5 Michigan Tech (15-5-0, 10-2-0 WCHA), who had spanked the Badgers in the series opener, 8-1.

"We competed," Eaves said. "We competed tonight, and for 50-50 pucks and one-on-one battles, we were willing to block shots."

It took almost two periods for the Badgers to get on the board, but when they did, one goal was all they would need. Once again it was Zulinick lighting the lamp for UW, who now has four goals in his last four games, and leads the club with five on the year.

"I hopped on the ice right away and I looked up and Jedd (Soleway) fell down and the puck was right there," Zulinick said.

"He kind of poked it, and then I grabbed it and had a partial breakaway. The goalie I think thought I was going to cut to my back hand but I didn't think I had that option so I held the puck over here (on the opposite side) and saw a lot of net and it went in. It's a good feeling."

Senior Joseph LaBate iced the game with an empty net goal in the waning moments.

Things don't get any easier for the Badgers moving forward, but Saturday was a positive step in the right direction. Next weekend No. 1 Boston University comes to the Kohl Center, featuring potential No. 1 overall NHL Draft selection, Jack Eichel.

"We took a huge step forward, and we're looking forward, we aren't looking back," Jack Dougherty said after the game. "We don't want to take a step backwards. Now comes the preparation for next weekend. We have to start right now."

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