ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Timing was everything for Michael Mersch.
The Wisconsin senior scored twice in Friday's Big Ten tournament semifinal game, and it was all the scoring the Badgers needed in a 2-1 victory over Penn State. As big as Mersch's 21st and 22nd goals of the season were for Wisconsin, it was when he scored them that made a big difference.
Underdog Penn State took an early 1-0 lead just 55 seconds into Friday's second period as Curtis Loik beat Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpel on a breakaway. That's when Mersch and the Badgers' second line responded with an equalizing goal 32 seconds later. With assists from linemates Jefferson Dahl and Morgan Zulinick, Mersch's goal completed UW's response.
"After we get scored on, we've been taught to line up right for that draw and let them know that we're coming for them," Mersch said. "To get a goal on the shift after is huge."
With time winding down in the second period, Mersch again ...