Sophomore forward Derek Stepan scored a goal and had two assists Saturday afternoon as the Badgers took down the top-seeded Pioneers in a matchup for 3rd place. UW will be headed back to the Xcel Energy Center Friday for the opening round of the NCAAs.[/media-credit]ST. PAUL, Minn. — Wisconsin didn’t leave the Twin Cities with what it wanted. But the Badgers return to Madison with what they needed.Despite a tough loss 2-0 to St. Cloud State in the semifinal of the WCHA Final Five, Wisconsin dominated top-ranked Denver in the third-place game, 6-3. The win sealed UW’s position as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and Wisconsin will return to St. Paul this weekend for the West Regional.While the Badgers did not attain their goal of winning the Broadmoor Trophy — awarded to the conference playoff champion — they did finish the tournament on a high note. UW turned in one of its better performances of the season in beating DU, leading 3-0 after the first period and by as much as 5-1 later in the game.It was a stark contrast to the two poor periods the Badgers turned in against St. Cloud State. UW came out right away against DU and performed more like the squad head coach Mike Eaves wanted to see at this point in the season.“That was a display of it, yes. We hadn’t had that in a while,” Eaves said. “We’ve played OK and found ways to win games, but we looked fresh; we looked sharp; we looked on top of our game. It looked like we were firing on all cylinders at that point.”It only took 11 minutes to chase WCHA Player of the Year Marc Cheverie from goal, as he was pulled immediately after Blake Geoffrion tipped in a Derek Stepan shot on the power play. Cheverie was beaten by a Stepan wrister for the second goal and allowed Ben Street to knock in a loose puck just 2:21 into the game.“I don’t think Marc was sharp. Marc has been our best player and he’s won games for us even when we haven’t played well in front of him,” DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. “It was more to keep him from getting shelled than anything else; we have to have him ready for next weekend.”Denver would pull to within 5-3 after goals by Jesse Martin and Nate Dewhurst early in the third period. But Wisconsin continued to pressure offensively and play aggressive defense until Michael Davies scored at 16:16 in the third to effectively end the game.The game boiled down to the dominant first period the Badgers played. UW outshot DU 18-10 and was stifling on defense and in sync on offense.Geoffrion was credited with the eventual game-winner, getting his second goal of the game in the second period.“I think just overall as a group, we were more ready to go,” Street said. “We knew we needed retribution from our performance the night before.”As well as the Badgers started Saturday, they were largely lethargic until the third period in Friday’s loss. St. Cloud State’s Ryan Lasch got a late power-play goal in the second period to give the Huskies the win, and Travis Novak got an empty netter with 56 seconds in the game to ensure SCSU advanced to the championship game.And while UW was able to crush the conference’s best goaltender in Cheverie, it couldn’t solve Mike Lee, SCSU’s inconsistent freshman netminder.“I thought we got some traffic (in front). It was almost like the puck hit him, instead of him making saves, for a few of them from the point,” UW defenseman Brendan Smith said. “I think he played really well, but sometimes [being] lucky is also part of the game, and I think he had a little bit of Irish in him there.”While the shots on goal totals for both teams were deadlocked at 17 after two periods, Wisconsin finally kicked its offense into gear in the third. UW outshot SCSU 20-5 in that period, but the Badgers were unable to get anything past Lee. Wisconsin didn’t do itself any favors either, missing some open nets and whiffing on solid scoring chances.The game was stopped for around 20 minutes after a scare about halfway through the third frame, as SCSU forward Garrett Roe went flying headfirst into the boards. Roe was carried off in a stretcher as a precaution, but The St. Cloud Times reported he returned to the team hotel in good condition.While UW was able to use Roe’s absence to mount its final offensive flurry, Lee came up time and time again, marking just the second time this season the Badgers were shutout.“As all us coaches know, when a goaltender puts in a performance like that, it’s pretty easy,” SCSU head coach Bob Motzko said.