ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Despite showing rust in long stretches following a three-week break, the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team picked up right where it left off.
Michael Mersch and Tyler Barnes scored 65 seconds apart in the third period and the Badgers got an empty-net goal in the closing seconds Friday night to seal a 5-3 victory over Alaska Anchorage.
UW (5-7-5, 3-5-5 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, a 4-0-3 streak that dates to freshman phenom Nic Kerdiles' season debut on Nov. 30 at Denver.
The Seawolves (3-10-4, 1-9-3) have lost five straight.
John Ramage and Joseph LaBate scored first-period goals to give the Badgers a 2-0 lead.
Matt Bailey scored at the 8:10 mark of the second period to draw Anchorage within a goal.
Wisconsin blew a golden opportunity to increase its lead late in the second period when it generated just one shot in goal over the final 2:33 at the outset of a 5-minute major penalty after UAA's Andrew Sevalrud received a game misconduct penalty for contact to the head.
The Badgers couldn't convert on the remainder of the penalty at the start of the third period, but Mersch scored unassisted at 6:29 and Barnes tallied for a 4-1 lead off assists from Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles.
The Seawolves answered with a 1-2 punch of their own when Blake Tatchell scored on the power-play at 11:29 and Jordan Kwas followed 1:15 later with another conversion to make it 4-3.
But Wisconsin held firm, even after Anchorage pulled goalie Chris Kamal for an extra attacker with 1:07 remaining. Zengerle capped the scoring with an empty-netter with 30.8 seconds left.