Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wisconsin 3 Michigan 0

Lower Michigan has been vanquished; this hasn't changed since last night.

November was a great month for Badger Men's Hockey. Following a 0-6-1 October, the Badgers responded w/ a 7-1-1 November. As Baggot points out in his article (see further down) the Badgers were outscored 33-20 in October, while outscoring their opponents 30-15 in November. This includes the 6 goal beatdown St. Cloud handed us. Take that game out, and Wisconsin is allowing a little over 1 goal/game this month, including three shutouts. While our competition hasn't been as tough as October, these teams are far from pushovers either. The defensive turnaround has been meteoric (ok maybe that is a little extreme).

As for the game last night, things weren't looking good for Wisconsin right out of the gate. Michigan came to play and outskated and outplayed the Badgers for the majority of the 1st period. The rest of the game was a different story though, as the Badgers took control in the 2nd, and they didn't score until the 3rd period, dominating the game.

In the 3rd, the Badgers finally found the back of the net as Michael Davies began redeeming himself w/ a PP goal. I said the PP needed Davies and Davies needed the PP. From TCT article:

"I just kept working hard in practice. That's really all I could do," Davies said. "I'm definitely getting better 5-on-5 in practice. It helped tonight, even this weekend. I thought I did a lot better this weekend and we were generating a lot of chances."

About half way through the 3rd period, Brian Lebler of Michigan took a cheap shot at Ryan McDonagh, and for his pathetic actions received a 5 mniute major for clipping. McD was helped from the ice and the status of his injury is unknown at this time. Lebler is the same player who ended minnesota's Ryan Stoa's season a year ago w/ a low hit. It took the Badgers about 4 minutes to finally gain the zone during the PP, but when they did Tom Gorowsky sent home a Jamie McBain rebound for a 2-0 lead.

Tom Gorowsky whiffed on a few open nets on friday, he made up for it in a big way to open up some breathing room. From the Ice House Gorowsky had this to say:

"I did miss more than my fair share of chances last night. It was tough to sleep. I don't think I've had that many chances since high school and not scored. In terms of Ryan taking a big hit there, it was really disappointing and frustrating for us. Anytime you get a five-minute power play you have to at least get out of there with one otherwise, even if you had chances, the penalty kill gets the momentum. It was definitely important for us to get one in the net. They were running around; they were playing really aggressive. So it was just going to be a broken play or just going to have to catch them off-guard. I was able to just chip that in after McBain made a great play and almost had it in there."

After Michigan pulled their ultra-sieve Billy Sauer, Jordy Murray notched his 4th of the season w/ an ENG on a beautiful pass from Jake Gardiner. I thought Jake Gardiner had one of this best games of the season. His skating ability on a breakaway led to a hooking call early in the 3rd, and the following PP Davies scored the eventual game winner.

Some reading:

TCT (Milewski): Showcase sweep for UW
Ice House Blog: Gameday post
WSJ (Baggot): Memorable month ends with a flurry Great Lakes sweep

7-7-2 never looked so good as it does right now. There is still some work to do to finish the 1st half strong as Alaska Anchorage comes to town for a pair next weekend. UAA is a better team than in seasons past, and their fan base is talking all sorts of smack because of it. No time for a let down, finish strong and head into the 2009 portion of the schedule w/ a head of steam. There is no reason the Badgers can't win their next 6 games at home.

Lastly, I want to point out three things. Michigan only had 3 PPs last night. This is a good thing for Wisconsin. While our PK units are outstanding the amount they have worked this season is unreasonable; good to see the Badgers stay out of the box saturday night, a trend that I hope continues. Secondly, I think Cody Goloubef deserves some recognition. Cody doesn't have the big numbers of his fellow top draft pick blue liners, but I think he is putting together quite a season. His play is consistent, consistently good. Though Cody has played 50+ games as a Badger, he just turned 19, and has a lot of potential in front of him. Also, Eric Springer deserves nod too for his play friday, 60 was really impressed w/ him, and it should be mentioned he leads the dmen in +/- w/ +8.