On March 28, 1981 the Badgers had just come off of wins against two Division I league champs, Clarkson and Northern Michigan. The only thing standing in the way of the NCAA Hockey title was arch rival Minnesota. Wisconsin, led by Head Coach Bob Johnson, quickly took control of the game and never relented. Dan Gorowsky scored the game’s first goal at the 9-minute mark, while John Newberry added another five minutes later and Ed Lebler scored five minutes after that. After a fourth goal in the second period by Ted Pearson, Minnesota would answer with its first. Newberry scored once again for Wisconsin, giving the Badgers a 5-1 lead. The Golden Gophers scored twice in the third period, but it wasn’t enough. Lebler would seal the victory by taking advantage of an open net, making the final score 6-3.
WRN Sports Director Bill Scott spoke with forward Ron Vincent about the win and coming in as underdogs. Vincent said, “They were expected to win. They had beaten us early in the year. We came in there and just kind of shell shocked them. The next thing you know it’s three to nothing…we knew we could prevail, and stay with the game plan and keep the puck in the offensive zone as much as we could and it just played out.”
This was the Badgers’ third national championship. Wisconsin would go on to play for the NCAA title the following two seasons, winning again in 1983.
Shining Moments in Badger History are sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
AUDIO: Shining Moments Radio Feature for 02/18/13 – Hockey vs Minnesota 1981