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BC, Wisconsin win to make NCAA title game

Thursday, 04.08.2010 / 9:18 PM / On Campus

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BC, Wisconsin win to make NCAA title game
The clock struck midnight for RIT on its first trip to the Frozen Four, while Miami of Ohio still can't beat teams from Boston.

Wisconsin rolled into the NCAA championship game on Thursday as Derek Stepan scored twice and added a pair of assists in an 8-1 win over RIT on Thursday in the first game of the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Badgers will play Boston College in Saturday's championship game. BC scored three times in a 95-second span of the third period to blow out Miami 7-1 in the second semifinal. The Red Hawks, the nation's top-ranked team for much of the season and the top seed in the tournament, lost 4-3 in overtime to Boston University in last year's championship game.

Saturday's game will be a rematch of the 2006 championship game, won 2-1 by Wisconsin.

The Badgers scored in the opening minutes of each of the first two periods in the opener and led 6-0 late in the second.

"Like a snowball, it just got rolling and got bigger and bigger," said Stepan, who scored Wisconsin's second and eighth goals.

Justin Schultz and Blake Geoffrion each added a goal and an assist for the Badgers (28-10-4), who beat Vermont and St. Cloud State to make the Frozen Four for the first time since winning the title four years ago.

It was a tough ending for RIT, which upset Denver and New Hampshire two weeks ago to win the East Regional and advance to the Frozen Four for the first time since entering Division I in 2005. Tyler Brenner scored the lone goal for the Tigers (28-12-1), the Atlantic Hockey champions and the 15th seed in the 16-team field.

"We ran into a powerhouse," Tigers coach Wayne Wilson said.

Scott Gudmandson had to make just 13 saves for the Badgers. RIT's Jared DeMichiel, the hero of the Tigers' regional win, allowed six goals on 33 shots before being lifted.

Wisconsin scored 1:27 into the contest as John Mitchell capped 30 seconds of pressure by slamming home a rebound. Stepan made it 2-0 on a deflection at 9:38. Jordy Murray followed up a broken play for a 3-0 lead at 2:18 of the second period, and Schultz made it a four-goal game at 4:26.

The Badgers put the game away during a five-minute major power play late in the second. Michael Davies tallied at the start of the advantage, and Geoffrion knocked in a rebound during a 5-on-3 advantage.

Brenner finally put the Tigers on the board with a power play late in the middle period, but Craig Smith and Stepan scored in the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation.

In the second game, Miami (29-8-7) trailed 3-0 before Joe Hartman scored 5:19 into the third period to give the RedHawks some hope. But the Eagles (28-10-3) blew the game open when Cam Atkinson triggered the three-goal spurt in a span of 1:35. Patch Alber and Paul Carey followed the goal by Atkinson, turning a two-goal game into a blowout.

Ben Smith, who had BC's first goal, added another to cap the scoring. Goaltender John Muse had to make only 17 stops for the Eagles.

The loss came just under a year to the day when Miami blew a 3-1 lead to Boston University -- BC's biggest rival -- in the final minute of the championship game and lost in overtime.

"It’s like the curse of Boston continues," Miami forward Jarod Palmer. "I don’t really know exactly what happened out there [tonight]."

Ford Field, home of the NFL's Detroit Lions, drew an announced crowd of 34,954 to set a world indoor attendance record for a hockey game.

Material from wire services was used in this report


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