It took nearly three full seasons for Bernd Bruckler to garner his second career shutout. It took less than a week for him to notch his third.
The win guaranteed the Badgers home ice for the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs with three regular season contests remaining. Combined with losses by Minnesota and St. Cloud State, it also moved UW into position to clinch at least a tie for third place with a win in Saturday's series finale with the Seawolves; another loss from St. Cloud and a loss or tie from Minnesota would also turn that trick.
Wisconsin is now 13-6-6 in WCHA play and 19-9-7 overall while Anchorage falls to 7-17-3 and 10-18-3.
Bruckler first recorded a shutout in his first collegiate game, a 5-0 win over Wayne State Oct. 20, 2001. Last Saturday, he shut out St. Cloud 3-0. He and the Badgers have now given up only one goal in the past three games and have dropped their conference-low goals against average to 2.15. In WCHA games, Bruckler has played every minute between the pipes for Wisconsin this season and is allowing just 2.16 goals per game, 1.16 during the current five-game unbeaten streak. In the past three contests his goals against is 0.32. He has stoned 70 of 71 shots in that stretch, for a .986 save percentage.
The Badgers also had some offense to speak of Friday, highlighted by Earl's two second-period goals, the second coming with just 1.2 seconds left before intermission. What is more, Wisconsin's moribund and much-derided power play woke up in a big way. The Badgers were 0-for-22 with the man-advantage in six games prior to facing Anchorage, but both of Earl's goals and freshman defenseman Jeff Likens' third-period tally came on the power play. It was only the fourth time this year Wisconsin has had more than one power play goal in a game, and the first time the team has had more than two. That feat came despite the fact the team put just six pucks on net in six power play opportunities. Anchorage also had six man-advantage chances and was held to five shots.
Earl has recorded a point in five consecutive games, with six goals and two assists in that span.
Score by period
Shots on goal by period
UW 2 - Earl (14) from Ross Carlson (10) from Gilbert (13), PPG, 19:59
UW 3 - Jeff Likens (4) from Rene Bourque (18) and Dan Boeser (13), PPG, at 11:54
UW - Bernd Bruckler (60:00) - 23 saves, 0 goals allowed
AA - Chris King (60:00) - 26, 3