MADISON, Wis. -- Behind 21 saves from senior goaltender Scott Gudmandson (Sherwood Park, Alberta), the Badgers (10-7-3, 6-6-2 WCHA) finished a sweep of WCHA opponent Bemidji State with a 2-0 victory at the Kohl Center. The Badgers shut down Bemidji State (5-10-1, 4-9-1 WCHA) defensively, outshooting the Beavers 25-21 to sweep the home series.
In the tightly contested affair, goals by Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) and Podge Turnbull (Heyward, Wis.) made the difference. The Badgers took the lead in the final minute of the first period. Mersch started with the puck, and passed to defensman Justin Schultz (West Kelowna, B.C) in the slot. Schultz sent it back to Mersch at the side of the net, and he knocked it in for a lead that Wisconsin never relinquished. The goal was Mersch's seventh of the year, coming at 19:09 of the first period.
The second period passed by with no further scoring, with the Badgers leading in shots just 7-6 in that frame. In the third period, the Badgers added an insurance goal.
Turnbull won a faceoff in the offensive zone, passing the puck back to defenseman Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.). Simonelli fired a shot from the point, and Turnbull got his stick on the puck to deflect it past the goaltender for a 2-0 lead. The goal, which came at 13:08 of the third period, was Turnbull's fifth of the season and his second in consecutive games.
Scott Gudmandson earned the victory to improve to 7-5-1. He made 21 saves to record his third shutout of the season and sixth of his career. Bemidji State's Dan Bakala took the loss, stopping 23 shots but falling to 4-6-0.
Both Wisconsin goals came at even strength. In a relatively clean contest, Wisconsin was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Bemidji State was 0-for-2.
Wisconsin enters finals week and the holiday break, with no games for the next two weekends. They return to the ice at home on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 30 and 31, to host Massachusetts (3-6-3, 2-3-3 Hockey East).