Sunday, November 30, 2008

BCHL 1st Stars

Big weekend for our BCHL recruits.

On friday, Justin Schultz was named 1st star after helping the Westside Warriors to a 4-1 victory w/ 2 goals. On saturday night he added an assist in a 3-1 loss. Justin is having another fine season in the BCHL leading all defensemen in scoring w/ 7-20-27 (37th overall). Due to a few injuries and the Junior A challenge, Justin has played 6 or so fewer games than everyone else.

Last night, Mark Zengerle scored the game tying and game winning goals to help the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to a 5-4 triumph. He also had an assist and for his efforts was named 1st star. Mark is 4th in the BCHL in scoring w/ 19-29-48 including 6 PP goals.

Also last night, Derek Lee had a goal and an assist on his way to being named 1st star in the Victoria Grizzles' 4-1 win. Derek is 25th in scoring in the BCHL w/ 7-23-30.

The BCHL is about half way through their regular season. W/ the upcoming break from Badger Hockey, I hope to catch a few BCHL games on their PPV.

3rd Jerseys



















thanks to HockeyFan for posting these on buckyville

Since there was in inquiry, here are the 3rd jerseys that Wisconsin wore for the Showcase over the weekend and will again wear for the Showdown between Chirstmas and New Year's.

IMO, they certainly aren't as bad as last season. I own one of those, damn. I like that they are Cardinal, since I really enjoy the road uni's the few times a year I might get to see them.

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
uwbadgers.com: 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.

Badger Men and Women win on friday

High time we have a post following a friday game instead of a weekend recap.

The Wisconsin Men's hockey team were winners last night over Michigan State 3-1. The Badgers outshot the Spartans 53-12, and basically dominated the whole game. Typing that, I think it was one of the wierder games I've been to at the Kohl Center. The crowd was kinda weak due to Thanksgiving and students home for the holidays. While the Badgers dominated it took them a good long time to sneak one past State goalie Jeff Lerg. It happened later in the 2nd when Ben Grotting scored his first of the year. John Mitchell added one in the third, then the Spartans got one back on a 5x3 PP. At this point I was nervous, becaues Michigan State had no business being in the game, yet down one goal they were a lucky bounce or deflection away from tying the game. W/ a few minutes left to play Matt Thurber notched his 2nd goal of the season, easing the anxiety. The Mitchell-Thurber-Grotting line had the collective hat trick on the night. Giving credit where its due, Jeff Lerg had a hell of a game for State, and while he had some puck luck, he stood on his head many times, otherwise it would have been a blowout. Good to see Michael Davies back in the lineup on the 4th line, I even saw him check someone into the boards.

Wisconsin needs to bring their best effort against Michigan tonight, who will surely test Connelly more than State did.

Some reading:

TCT (Milewski): Overwhelming shots advantage, second line carry UW
Ice House: Gameday Blog
WSJ (Baggot): UW dominates MSU but settles for 3-1 win
uwbadgers.com: Badgers thankful for a homecoming win


The Badger Women remain unbeaten after an 8-0 victory over Mankato friday afternoon. I missed the 1st period, but I was there for the fireworks in the 2nd as the Badgers scored 6 goals. Jessie Vetter recorded her 32nd career shutout in the win. Hilary Knight, Erika Lawler and Angie Keseley each had two goals. Mallory Deluce and Brooke Ammerman found the back of the net as well. Knight also had three assists, which was matched by Carolyne Prevost, while Lawler had two helpers.

The Women complete their series sunday afternoon at 2 PM. The Packers are going to lose anyway, make the wise choice and head to the Kohl Center to watch the best Women's hockey team in the nation!

Some reading:

TCT (???): UW routs Minnesota State, 8-0
WSJ (Staff): Unbeaten streak reaches 17
uwbadgers.com: Badgers blow past Mavericks 8-0

...the Badgers (15-0-2 overall, 9-0-2 in the WCHA) stretched their unbeaten streak to 17. The run is the longest to start a season since the NCAA began recognizing the sport in 1999-'00.

Around the WCHA Nov 28&29

Not sure how I forgot to post this in time, perhaps Thanksgiving got the best of me. So I'm a little late this week. Its a huge weekend for the WCHA in terms of non-conference matchups, w/ only one WCHA game on the schedule.

First last weekend, I was 3-2 in predictions, 8-8 on the season, not bad.

Wisconsin split w/ St. Cloud
Denver split w/ minnesota
Duluth took 3 pts from North Dakota
UAA split w/ CC
Mankato swept Tech

That's old news how about some scores from last night:

Michigan State 1 - Wisconsin 3
Michigan 6 - minnesota 3
CC 1 - Air Force 4
Colgate 1 - Denver 6
Mankato 2 - Bowling Green 2
Cornell 3 - North Dakota 7
Michigan Tech 0 - Bemidji St 3

Nice wins for the Badgers, Sioux and Pioneers. Not so good for the CC Tigers. I'm not sure yet that Air Force is for real, since CC was their first tough opponent, but they are still undefeated. Denver takes their crack at Air Force tonight, go Pioneers!

Tonight the slate is pretty full again:

Michigan @ Wisconsin
Michigan State @ minnesota
St. Cloud @ Duluth
Tech @ Bemidji
Cornell @ North Dakota
Air Force @ Denver
Colgate @ CC
Mankato @ Bowling Green

Wisconsin and minnesota both need wins, but I'm not cheering for the gophers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Friday, I'm in Love

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love
Both the Men and the Women are at home this weekend, I'm hoping to make it to 3 (if not all 4!) games . . .

Badger Men: Fri v. Michigan State @ 7 PM, Sat v. Michigan @ 7 PM

Gameday Links
TV: Fri - none, Sat - WISC in Madison live, WHA tape delay (10:30)
Video webcast: Fri - bigtennetwork.com, Sat - none
Radio: WIBA, yahoosports ($4.95/mo)
Gameday blogs: none

Lines
P. Johnson - Geoffrion - Gorowsky
Murray - Bohmbach - Stepan
Mitchell - Thurber - Grotting
Turnbull - Bendickson - Davies

Smith - McBain
McDonagh - Goloubef
Gardiner - TBA

Connelly
Gudmandson

Yep, it looks like Mike Davies had made his way back into the lineup. That leaves Dolan, Hickey, and Bardis out at forward -- I'm wondering if Dolan is still a bit banged up?

Series Previews
uwbadgers: Badgers showcase college hockey, Game notes
msuspartans: College Hockey Showcase on Tap for Icers, Game notes
mgoblue: Game notes
Milewski (TCT): College Hockey Showcase preview
Milewski (TCT): Eaves warns of pitfall in returning home
Milewski (TCT): Spartans stumble into Showcase
Milewski (USCHO blog): Showcasing the Showcase
Mason (Badger Herald): Men's hockey finally home for crucial 8-game stretch
Breiner (Daily Cardinal): Wisconsin hosts Michigan and Michigan State
Eisenstein (Michigan Daily): College Hockey Showcase looms as statement weekend once again
CHN Tale of the Tape: Michigan State, Michigan

Other Articles
Milewski (TCT): Gardiner's speed stands out
Baggot (WSJ): Badgers show killer instinct
Baggot (WSJ blog): Kill or be killed
Paul Braun (Badger Blog): Michigan Memories
Baggot (WSJ blog): Why I oughta . . .

Notebooks
USCHO: This week in the WCHA, This week in the CCHA
INCH: Great weekend getaway

Badger Women v. Mankato -- Fri 2 PM / Sun 2 PM

Gameday Links
TV: Fri - none, Sun - WPT tape delay (6 PM)
Radio: Fri - none, Sun -WIBA
Webstream: uwbadgers
Livestats: uwbadgers

Series Previews
uwbadgers: No 1 Badgers return home to face Minnesota State, Game notes
msumavericks: Mavericks battle No 1 Wisconsin this weekend in Madison
Donohoe (Badger Herald): No 1 Wisconsin hosts Mankato
Storlie (Daily Cardinal): Wisconsin returns home to challenge Minnesota State


Other Articles
Baggot (WSJ): Upbeat Duggan sets tone
Porter (Boston Globe): Red, white blue for Duggan
Olivia Jakiel (Badger Blog): Our time in Florida
Meghan Duggan (NCAA Blog): A change of scenery


Thursday, November 27, 2008

GB Gamblers Scouting Report

I made it to Green Bay last night for the Gamblers hosting the Chicago Steel. Gamblers won 5-1.

It was a nice opportunity to see Jefferson Dahl again, and it was a nice surprise to see Sean Little back in the lineup.

I hadn't seen Jefferson play since the state semi-final against Superior last March. He played on the 3rd EV line, the 2nd PP unit and was part of the 3rd PK group onto the ice. He saw a lot of playing time. The main thing that impressed me about Jefferson was that it appears that he has quickly adjusted to the play in the USHL. I would think that is a big step coming right from WI HS hockey, even w/ his success in the HS Hockey Elite League last year. Jefferson is a good skater, w/ good speed, who always seemed to be gravitating toward the puck. Prehaps this is due to some excellent vision on the ice and awareness of what is going on. On the 3rd goal of the night for the Gamblers, Jefferson had a beautiful feed to a teammate for a nice goal, notching his 3rd assist of the season. My only major knock on Jefferson was that he needs to get stronger, which isn't much of a knock because it will happen. Several times he'd be along the boards working for the puck and was easily bumped off by an opponent. Overall, I was impressed and I think Badger fans will really enjoy seeing Mr. Hockey 2008 in Cardinal and White in the future.

Sean Little skated w/ the 4th line for the Gamblers. For being the 4th line, his unit spent a decent amount of time working to generate some offense in the opponents end, though they didn't see a ton of ice time. Like Jefferson, Sean is a good skater w/ some speed. He's only 17 so still plenty of room to grow. Like his brother Ryan, he handed out a few big hits. The only major mistake Sean made was a big one, handing Chicago their only goal. He was at the bottom of the left faceoff circle and attempted a pass across the front of the crease, which was deflected by a charging Steel player right over Reid Ellingson's shoulder (Gambler goalie). He has a lot of potential overall.

A couple players who impressed me besides Badger recruits were Reid Ellingson and CJ Lee. Lee is committed to attend RPI, and I think they have themselves a very nice player. Lee scored two goals on the night and always seemed to be part of the action. Ellingson was strong in net and is a huge part of why the Gamblers are so much better this year. Its incredible to see the turnaround that the new coaching staff has done there so far. Ellingson played last year w/ N. Michigan, not sure where he'll be headed to next, but wherever he does land they'll be happy to have him.

Dean Chelios is a RW for the Chicago Steel. Didn't notice him much, though he did throw down the gloves in the 3rd period. He had the upper hand until late when his Gambler opponent landed a few lefts to his head.

Amazing all the fans who cheer harded for fights than goals at the Resch.

Will Davies play?

Yesterday, Todd at TCT had a piece about Michael Davies getting closer to returning to the lineup.

It's hardly a sure thing, but Michael Davies is at least getting closer to returning to the Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey lineup.

We usually use that kind of language when talking about an injured player; Davies is trying to earn his spot in the lineup again after falling out of favor.

But it is a little like a player returning from injury. Davies needs to show Mike Eaves and the UW coaching staff that he's willing to do what they have asked him to do -- contribute more to the team all over when he's on the ice.

"He's inching closer," Eaves said Tuesday. "That's probably the best way to put it. Today was a little look and see how he responded and how he looked."

I think Michael deserves a chance to get out there and see what he does back in the game setting. Sure he hasn't performed this season, but a six game layoff is far too long for someone who could potentially be one of our top scorers. Plus for those w/ season tickets on fridays, it is Michael's night on the ticket. Put him on the ice!

Here were the lines combos on tuesday:

Eaves said the line combinations the team used Tuesday -- it had an optional skate without coaches on Monday -- likely would change before Wednesday's practice. For the record, Blake Geoffrion was centering Jordy Murray and Derek Stepan; Andy Bohmbach was centering Tom Gorowsky and Davies; Sean Dolan was centering John Mitchell and Ben Grotting; Matt Thurber was centering Patrick Johnson and Chris Hickey; and Aaron Bendickson was centering Podge Turnbull and Tom Bardis.

In the past, the Showcase has been an opportunity for the backup goalie to get some action. In the last two seasons, both Shane Connelly (2006) and Scott Gudmandson (2007) started saturday night against Michigan State. While Goody played great against Tech earning the shutout (w/ some puck luck), we need to get to .500 and for the PWR rankings we need the wins. If Connelly plays well friday night, I want to see him in against Michigan, they are the better of the two teams we're facing this weekend, we need to bring our best.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drive for .500 by Christmas...Update

Four weeks ago following a disappointing weekend against minnesota, I laid down a plan for the Badger Men to reach .500 by Christmas break. Here is the latest update.

The original plan:

@ North Dakota - Split (1-6-1) - the Sioux are struggling too, get a win and start rolling - Mission Accomplished

vs Michigan Tech - Sweep (3-6-1) - this team is not good this season - Mission Accomplished

@ Duluth - 3 pts (4-6-2) - Duluth is also bad and the blog will be there to inspire the team – Mission Accomplished

@ St. Cloud - Split (5-7-2) - Hopefully get some revenge for the WCHA playoffs – Mission Accomplished

College Hockey Showcase - Split (6-8-2)

vs UAA - Sweep (8-8-2) - They might finish 8th in the WCHA, we can't afford a loss to them at home

I’m somewhat in shock that I picked the last four weekends in a row correct. Now the Badgers come home for the next 8 games, w/ only 6 road games left the entire regular season.

The Showcase includes our Big 10 friends from the East, Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan State (4-8-2) is our foe on Friday, and they are not having a good season. They have currently lost six games in a row. Michigan, who we see Saturday night, is having a better season, but still sits at 8-6 after being swept by Miami (OH) last weekend. Both of these CCHA teams lost a lot of talent to graduation and early departures. Michigan lost Hobey Baker winner Kevin Porter and both his linemates. Michigan State lost Tim Kennedy and Justin Abdelkader who were keys to their National Championship in 2007.

UAA will be a more difficult opponent than previously thought. This doesn’t mean that Wisconsin shouldn’t be able to sweep them at home, but they also shouldn’t take them lightly. A solid 60 minute effort will be needed both nights against the Seawolves.

While I have a split picked this weekend, I would be very happy w/ a Showcase sweep making the leap to .500 one week early. I think a sweep is entirely possible, but overall I hope the Badgers continue to improve each week. Reaching .500 appears to be completely w/ in this team’s grasp, it would certainly be a nice early Christmas present for the team to give themselves climbing out of the 0-6-1 start.

Badger Men fall out of polls

Wisconsin fell out of the USCHO poll entirely this week for the first time since Nov. 3, 2003. As Todd at TCT points out they were ranked or received votes in the previous 122 polls. Todd includes how he voted.

I care very little about polls, but I do find it odd that a team (Wisconsin) goes on the road in the WCHA and splits, and the votes they received last week evaporated. While Wisconsin was beaten bad on friday they shutout the #17 team in the country in their own house the following evening. They are obviously less deserving of those votes??? I'm not saying Wisconsin deserves to be in the top 20, but if someone thought they did before St. Cloud, not sure why they changed their minds. All the really matters in the PWR following the WCHA Final Five.

Wisconsin is still ranked in the LetsGoDu Superpoll. In a very early version of the pairwise rankings, Wisconsin is not ranked, while the Badgers are #31 in the RPI. Its obviously very early w/ Air Force, Cornell and Princeton as the top 3 teams in both.

The Badger Women on the other hand continue to dominate the polls. They received all 15 first place votes on their way to continue their death grip at #1. Rolling the #3 team in the country over the weekend certainly didn't hurt.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Patrick Johnson owns (insert name) College Hockey Showcase Edition

Well Patrick had a tall task last week in owning Garrett Roe; w/ out seeing the games in person or on tv, I don't completely know if he accomplished the task or not. He had a good thing going after owning Stalock the great big sieve the previous weekend. and Brett Olson and Seth Soley when Tech paid a visit to the Kohl Center the weekend before that. Perhaps Roe left the game in fear saturday, fear of Patrick Johnson. He wouldn't be the first WCHA athlete, nor will he be the last, I'm sure.

Since Wisconsin doesn't face a WCHA foe this week, I'm going to tone things down a bit. Billy Sauer would be a logical choice to be owned, but I think Michigan has a tandem thing working in goal and Sauer plays on fridays, which means the gophers get an easy win on friday night.

I'm going to give two options that won't be skating on the ice either night. Patrick will find plenty of CCHA posers to own regardless, so I ask you, which is more lame?

Option #1 - Michigan's prehistoric championship banners. Michigan claims to have won more national championships, 9, than any other college hockey program. If you look really really close at the picture to the left, you'll see some old frayed banners high in the rafters. Michigan won seven national championships before 1965, and the question I must ask is does anyone actually remember this? Was anyone reading this blog even alive (feel free to lie if you were)? This is from a time when Colorado College claims to have won national championships, and based on their post season success in recent memory this hardly seems possible. Sure Michigan had those titles in the 90's w/ Marty Turco in net, but trying to trump other hockey programs by boasting about banners won before the wheel was created is quite lame.



Option #2 - Sparty the Spartan. A lot of schools have lame mascots, minnesota has the prize wrapped up pretty tight every year (if ruckus the red tailed hawk is excluded at Denver, bring back Boone!). Sparty the Spartan doesn't impress me much either. Why does he wear armor? Is he a panzy and is afraid of other mascots who might kick his ass? I suppose those shin guards would be a bonus if North Dakota came to town and Joe Finley was looking for another letter to write for slashing a mascot. Assuming the movie 300 is historically correct, Michigan State is promoting the killing of children who aren't prefect, the Spartan way of old. I'm highly offended by a university that would support such actions by trotting out a man-scot in a green skirt. Everything's pretty lame in (lower) Michigan (w/ the exception of Big Boy), but Sparty the Spartan ranks pretty high on that list.

Option #3 - The CCHA. A last minute addition, it wishes it was the WCHA, but in the end its not, which makes it really lame.

Big Saturday Night for Badger Recruits

Two Badger recruits were named 1st star this past Saturday, while another one was the 2nd star of his game.

In the BCHL, Mark Zengerle of Salmon Arm had two goals and an assist Saturday garnering 1st star honors, while he added an assist on Friday, helping his team to two wins on the weekend. Elsewhere in the BCHL, Derek Lee had an assist on the weekend for the Victoria Grizzles, and Justin Schultz had one assist in three games played for the Westside Warriors.

In the USHL, Craig Smith had two goals and an assist Saturday to help Waterloo to a victory, earning 1st star. Fellow Black Hawk Keegan Meuer had a goal in the winning effort. In Green Bay, Jefferson Dahl had two goals in the 2nd period Saturday night and was named 2nd star in the Gamblers victory. Tyler Barnes and Chase Drake played this weekend for Waterloo and Sioux City respectively, but did not factor into any scoring. Gavin Hartzog did not play for Fargo and Sean Little was out w/ injury for the Gamblers. Aaron Crandall was in net Saturday night for Des Moines, and was on the wrong side of a 5-3 decision, making 24 saves.

Overall in scoring in the USHL, Craig Smith is tied for 7th w/ 9-8-17, +5 through 12 games played. Everyone above him on the leader board has played 15 to 17 games. Craig is having a great season so far! I will continue to hype him for the foreseeable future.

Over at the NTDP, Michael Mersch and Frankie Simonelli are having a nice season w/ the U17 team. Through November 16th, Mersch is 7-2-9 in 17 games played and Simonelli is 1-3-4 on the blue line in 17 games.

The final stats from the HS Hockey Elite League are in for Team Wisconsin recruits Cody Strang and Matt Paape. Strang finished 5-9-14 in 18 games, while Paape finished 18-15-33 in 23 games.

Todd at TCT has all recruit stats as of November 20th here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Badgers Split w/ St. Cloud

Two different version of the Wisconsin Men's Hockey team were on display this weekend. On friday, the team that started the season 0-6-1 made a 60 minute preformance in 6-2 loss to the Huskies. Nothing was really going right for the Badgers, other than the PK units which continue to play great despite being on the ice way more than they should. Ryan Lasch and Garrett Roe got going for St. Cloud and while the Badgers pulled to w/ in 3-1 early in the 3rd, the game quickly got away. The defense was poor and Shane Connelly was not his best in net.

On saturday, arguably one of the best versions of the Badgers all season showed up, and Connelly returned in net to post his 1st shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory. Based on the radio coverage, Shane made some outstanding saves throughout the night and brought his best effort of the season after bringing his worst the night before. The Badgers put a ton of pressure on Jase Weslosky, though they only managed to sneak the one Jordy Murray goal through, it was enough.

The PK was impressive this weekend, not allowing a PP goal on way too many chances by St. Cloud. Need to clean up the penalties still, and bring an effort like saturday every night, but the team continues to move forward in a positive direction, slowly but surely.

Some reading from Friday night's game:

TCT (Milewski): Unflattering return to past for UW
Ice House: Gameday Blog
WSJ (Baggot): UW falls out of line
uwbadgers.com: Badgers take a hard hit

Saturday's game:

TCT (Milewski): Connelly goes out with a bang
Ice House: Ugly Numbers
Ice House: Gameday Blog
WSJ (Baggot): Connelly rebounds nicely in win
uwbadgers.com: UW blanks SCSU for weekend split

The one-on-one conversation didn't last long, but it was packed with meaning, emotion and sincerity.

University of Wisconsin men's hockey coach Mike Eaves pulled senior goaltender Shane Connelly aside Saturday morning and recited the words all struggling competitors crave to hear.

"I want to make sure you know I believe in you," Eaves said.

The Badgers return home this week for the first of four home series in a row, starting w/ the College Hockey Showcase. Michigan State visits friday, while Michigan visits saturday. State is riding a 6 game losing streak, so lets make it 7. While 8-6, Michigan is not the dominate team it was last year. It would be nice to get a sweep against these old CCHA foes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NCAA Record Set as Badger Women Sweep

The Badger Women went down to Fort Myers, FL this weekend, and come back w/ an unbeaten record and an NCAA record for senior goalie Jessie Vetter. On friday night, the Badgers fell behind 2-1 before scoring 7 unanswered goals, betting #3 New Hampshire 8-2. Earlier today, the Badgers completed the sweep beating New Hampshire 2-0 and in the process, Jessie Vetter now stands alone as the all-time NCAA leader in shutouts w/ 31.

This is just another notch on the belt of one of the best goaltenders in NCAA Women's Hockey history. No reason w/ 16 regular season games (hopefully 7 more beyond that) to play that record can't be raised a little higher giving the next top goalie a mountain to climb to be the best.

While Jessie's record is front and center, 5 Badgers scored 2 goals this weekend. Angie Keseley, Meghan Duggan and Carolyne Prevost had two goals a piece on friday, while Erika Lawler and Hilary Knight had a goal both nights. 11 Badgers had assists on the weekend, including 4 for Duggan, and 3 each for Knight and Lawler.

The Women proudly return home next weekend for two against Mankato, on friday and sunday at 2:05 PM. If you have friday off w/ the Thanksgiving holiday, get to the Kohl Center early and catch two games.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sean Little Commits to Wisconsin

The Green Bay Gamblers website is reporting that Sean Little has committed to Wisconsin, and the forward will join the team starting in the Fall of 2010. Sean is the younger brother of Badger freshman Ryan Little, so we'll have brother's Little here in a few seasons. Sean currently plays w/ fellow Badger recruit Jefferson Dahl.

A Fond du Lac native, Sean played last season w/ the Madison Capitals. He attended the Select 17 Development Camp and praticapted w/ Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka tournament over the summer. The College Hockey Recruit Exchanges listed him over the summer a few times as a top player who hadn't committed yet.

I discussed Sean Little a little w/ Dplaya of the HIW blog during the High School Hockey Elite League. He told me Sean had received interest from Wisconsin, but from other schools as well. Good to see that he decided to get on board. {Edited to add: Dplaya reports on his blog that Sean was considering offers from Denver, Boston U, Michigan State and another school that didn't make the final cut.}

Its been a rollercoaster week for Wisconsin recruiting, and I'm sure it will stay that way for sometime. I'm heading to the Gamblers game Wednesday night, I'll have a scouting report next weekend on Jefferson Dahl and Sean Little.

While I still have issues w/ over recruiting, we need forwards for 2010, here is how things look for 2010 as of right now.

Forwards

Mark Zengerle
Cody Strang
Matt Paape (or 2011)
Gavin Hartzog (or 2009)
Jefferson Dahl
Tyler Lapic
Sean Little

That seems like a lot, but we lose a huge class of kids, and as we've seen over the past 4 months never know what is going to happen. Hang on for the ride!

It's Friday, I'm in Love

Badger Men @. St. Cloud: Fri/Sat 7PM

Gameday Links
TV: none
Video webcast: b2live (pay, not sure how much)
Radio: Fri - WIBA 1310, Sat- WTSO 1070, Fri/Sat- yahoosports ($4.95/mo)
Gameday blogs: Milewski, Capobianco

Lines
* The 4th forward line could be any 3 of the 4 players listed. Mike Davies did not make the trip.

Forwards
Tom GorowskyBlake GeoffrionDerek Stepan
John MitchellAndy BohmbachBen Grotting
Jordy MurrayMatt ThurberPatrick Johnson
Turnbull/HickeySean DolanAaron Bendickson

Defensemen
Brendan SmithJamie McBain
Ryan McDonaghCody Goloubef
Jake GardinerRyan Little

Goaltenders
Shane Connelly
Scott Gudmandson


Series Previews
uwbadgers.com: Badgers back on the road, Game Notes
Milewski (TCT): Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey vs. St. Cloud State
Milewski (Icehouse): What's your gut feeling
Mason (Badger Herald): Eaves' squad feeling at home away from home
Breiner (Daily Cardinal): Icers hope familiar venue is Cloud nine
CHN: Tale of the tape

Other articles
Milewski (TCT): UW sees benefit in tough schedule
Baggot (WSJ): Geoffrion makes a quick turnaround
Baggot (Badger blog): Side by side comparison
Gilbert (WCHA): Badgers prefer unbeaten streak to winless start
CHN: Team of the Week: St Cloud State

Notebooks
uscho: site appears to be down so I can't link it now
inch: Seen and heard in the WCHA, WCHA stick salute, bench minor, getaway



Badger Women v. UNH Wildcats in Florida: Fri 6pm CT, Sat 1 pm CT
Live Streaming and Live Stats -- click here for links

Series Previews
uwbadgers: No 1 Badgers head to Florida to face No 3 Wildcats, Game Notes
unhwildcats: #3 women's hockey faces off against #1 Wisconsin in Florida, Game Notes
Donohue (Badger Herald): UW looks to stay hot in Florida
Autry (Daily Cardinal): Ladies in red head to Fort Myers to face UNH
Mosgaller (Badger Herald): Badgers seek sunny revenge
Schmitt (Daily Cardinal): Series in Fort Myers is a homecoming for UW's Sanders

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And for good measure

Hey minnesota fans, Paul Bunyan called, he said you suck!

Badger Women add recruits too

Similar to the Men's team, Mark Johnson and the Lady Badgers received several signed National Letters of Intent this week as well. Returning letters and joining the Badgers next Fall are Brianna Decker (F) of Dousman, WI; Saige Pacholok (D) of Edmonton, Alberta; Breann Frykas (F) of East St. Paul, Manitoba and Becca Ruegsegger (G).

Coach Johnson had the following to say about each young woman:

About Decker, “Brianna is very competitive and has unbelievable potential that will fit right into our program very nicely,” said Coach Johnson. “She was one of the leaders for the team last year that won a gold medal and she is just coming off playing with our national senior team at the Four Nations which also won a gold medal. She is very gifted as a scorer.”

About Pacholok, “Saige is gifted in a lot of areas with skating and skill parts of the game,” Coach Johnson said. “She brings a lot of energy with her game and we are real excited for her growth as a player.”

About Ruegsegger, “We are excited with Rebecca coming into Madison and playing for us,” said Coach Johnson. “She has been at Shattuck throughout her career and had an opportunity to play for the Under-18 team last year. She has great work habits and is a wonderful person who is very academically sound.”

About Frykas, “Breann is a very intelligent player with great hockey sense,” said Coach Johnson. “She is also very gifted in the offensive part of the game.”

Until reading this article, I did not know that Saige Pacholok was coming to Madison. This is looking like another great class. Brianna Decker should be one of the top freshman in the country next year. In addition to these four players, it is expected that three other players will join the Badger Women in 2009: Lauren Unser, Alev Kelter and Derya Kelter.

Reminder, the #1 Badger Women are in Fort Myers, FL this weekend taking on #3 New Hampshire. Go Badgers!

Around the WCHA Nov 21/22

Around full week in the WCHA on tab, but here are last week's results.

St. Cloud swept Denver
Wisconsin took 3 pts from Duluth
UAA split w/ North Dakota
minnesota took 3 pts from Michigan Tech
CC split w/ Mankato

I was 2-3 last week bringing my predicting to 5-6 so far.

WCHA Standings

1 -minnesota, 5-0-3, 13 pts
2 - Colorado College, 5-2-1, 11 pts
3 - Wisconsin, 4-4-2, 10 pts
4 - Denver, 4-3-1, 9 pts
5 - Alaska-Anchorage, 3-3-2, 8
5 - Mankato, 3-3-2, 8
5 - North Dakota, 4-4-0, 8
8 - Duluth, 1-4-2, 4
8 - St. Cloud State, 2-3-0, 4
10 - Michigan Tech, 1-6-1, 3

A few stats related to the Badgers:

Jamie McBain leads the WCHA in scoring w/ 3-11-14. Tied for 5th are Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Smith w/ 7-3-10 and 3-7-10 respectively.

Blake is 2nd in goals w/ 7, Jamie leads in assists w/ 11 and Brendan is 4th w/ 7.

Blake also leads in PP goals w/ 5, Brendan is tied for 2nd w/ 3.

This weekend's games:

Wisconsin @ St. Cloud - to stay on track for .500 by Christmas the Badgers need a split
CC @ UAA - CC is nearly unbeatable at home, but on the road I say its a split
Mankato @ Tech - 3 pts for the land cows
North Dakota @ Duluth - 3 pts for the Sioux
minnesota @ Denver - last week surprised me for both teams, how about a split

Recruiting, the good news

Pictures from the player's respective USHL and BCHL website

Five players have returned National Letters of Intent and will be joining the Wisconsin Badgers next Fall to start the 2009/10 season.

Those players are: Justin Schultz, Tyler Barnes, Derek Lee, Keegan Mauer and Craig Smith.

As Todd points out, Aaron Crandall was not part of this group. Well either was Brock Montpetit, but that is old news now. Aaron had the following to say.

Nothing to worry about, Aaron Crandall said.

"I'm just signing in April," Crandall said. "Everything's still on plan."

As for the five players who signed LOI, Coach Eaves had the following to say about each young man.

Eaves on Lee: “Derek is a very skilled offensive player. He has great vision of the ice and has the innate ability to make the plays that he sees.”

Eaves on Schultz: “Justin is a very fine offensive defenseman. We’ve had a few of them here recently. Much like Derek, when you talk about offensive guys, there are certain adjectives that stay the same. He moves very well, he sees the ice very well and he has the innate ability to make the plays that he sees. He’ll be a young man who will provide offense from the blue line.”


Eaves on Meuer: “Keegan is a heart-and-soul player. He is guy who you want to go into the fox hole with. He’ll come to battle every night. He’ll give the team energy. He understands what it takes to win and is willing to do whatever he can. He’ll bring the hard in bushels and he’ll bring the type of energy that is very much a part of a championship team.”



Eaves on Smith: “Craig will fall into the category of a power forward. He is a big lad who can really skate and brings a physical presence to the game, but he also some ability with the puck. His foundation, the way he plays comes from his speed and raw power.”

Eaves on Barnes: “Tyler is kind of a hybrid between Derek Lee and Craig Smith. He is a very competitive young man who doesn’t shy away from getting physical but he has a nice package of offensive skills. He is one of those guys who have that disease of being able to score. The puck finds him or he takes a shot and it goes in for him but not somebody else, so he brings a nice offensive package along with a real competitive edge.”

So some good news comes out of the recruiting side of things afterall. Having seen Meuer, Smith and Barnes play, I'm pretty excited for them to join the Badgers. Craig Smith is having the year a lot of fans were waiting for and he should be ready to contribute significantly next season. Schultz is the big name of the class as a 2nd round pick. I'm sure McBain or McDonagh will be leaving early, and he will be a nice replacement for them. Lee could be a special player for the Badgers.
Over at Hockey In Wisconsin, Dplaya sent an email to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and receiving some scouting back from their coach on recent recruit Mark Zengerle, Derek Lee and Menomonie native Justin Csester. The post includes a video of Zengerle.
Dplaya also has a post about Brock Montpetit w/ some interesting thoughts.

Recruiting, the bad news

Bad news first today, it happened yesterday, but Brock Montpetit will not be joining the Wisconsin Badgers next Fall. He has decommitted and will begin looking for a new home in the world of college hockey.

Apparently there were promises of a "full" scholarship at 100%, but at Wisconsin and every other school in the country for NCAA Hockey the max is about 90%. Being an in-state kid this isn't a lot of money, though I can understand if Eaves said 100% and now he is getting something different that wouldn't be cool. There is obviously a lot more to the story than this though. Brock's parents paid a lot more than $2,000 (the missing 10% roughly) for his tutition at Shattuck St. Mary's in 2006-2007. I think the real issue was that he was a 2008 or 2009 recruit, and he was pushed back til 2009 while his former Shattuck teammates Derek Stepan and Jordy Murray are currently on the Wisconsin roster. I can understand seeing others who committed after you, but arriving earlier making him angry, but Brock didn't exactly light up the USHL last season. In comparison, while against lesser opponents, Stepan and Murray dominated their opponents. Playing time is probably an issue next season too. As always, the whole story is out there somewhere.

This is the 4th decommitment for the Badgers since July when Patrick Wiercioch decided to decommit and head to Denver. Later Travis Erstad decided to take a different and puzzling direction w/ his hockey career heading to UW-Stevens Point. Next it was Nick Pryor's turn to decommit following his time w/ the US NTDP.

Eaves catches a lot of blame around other hockey blogs, espeically Western College Hockey. I'm not going to put on the cardinal and white glasses and paint Eaves as a saint, but he certainly is getting a worse name than he deserves. Does he over-recruit? Yeah he has, and its worried me all summer. I'm not blind, we are losing only one forward for sure w/ Ben Street's injury and possible medical hardship redshirt, but before Erstad decommited we had 6 forwards lined up, that was way too many.

Following the 2006 Championship season there was a large number of early departures that caught the program off guard, and there was no way to fill in the roster so late w/ a player of the caliber of Joe Pavelski or Robbie Earl. Since that time, Eaves has been stockpiling kids in an attempt to avoid this happening again, but it hasn't. It could happen following this season, prehaps they'll be ready then and look remotely wise, but at this point four players who would have been 2009 recruits won't ever be wearing the Cardinal and White. I'm not happy about this whatsoever.

The realities of the four decommitments are not directly over-recruiting, per the information available.

Patrick Wiercioch-pushed by Ottawa to step up to a higher level of play, he leaves for DU when David Carle is forced to quit hockey. Patrick knew only a few months before he would be 2008 only if McBain or McDonagh left, they didn't, yet he still choose to commit. My understanding is he never gave UW a chance to do something, he just left. I'm still bitter.

Travis Erstad-had a bad year in the USHL, from what I've heard he didn't like being away from home, so he decided to make a choice that was best for him. Would a 4th round NHL pick decommit, and then head to D-III, when dozens of D-I schools would be happy to have his services if he was forced out due to over-recruitment?

Nick Pryor-he told our blog that he wouldn't be able to get in for academic reasons, and then changed his tune when talking to Baggot and Todd Milewski. So Eaves is to blame for a kid having academic troubles? Prehaps the US NTDP should pull it together and make sure kids are progressing scholastically as well to reach their goals.

Brock Montpetit-this "could" be the actual case of over recruitment lost Wisconsin a recruit, and a decent one at that. I'm sure more info will leak in over time, but for now promises weren't kept and a young man was unhappy about circumstances, and Wisconsin looks bad for him decommitting.

Eaves and the coaching staff has set up the program to look bad anytime a recruit decides to go elsewhere at this point. Any idiot will point to all the kids lined up and scream over recruitment, even when that might not be the case. As a Wisconsin fan, I hope the coaching staff has actually learned something from all this and comes up w/ a better plan. Putting your head in the sand, lining up twice the amount of kids you need for class and hoping it will all work out, is far from a prudent way to go.

Lastly, Todd reports that Eaves says w/ the decommitment, that prehaps the recruiting door is open again. Unless a Dany Heatley or a Kyle Turris come walking onto the recruit radar for 2009, its time to close that door at forward and move on to 2010.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where in the world is Michael Davies?

photo from www.daylife.com

Carmen San Diego has nothing on Michael Davies right now. Two weeks back against Michigan Tech Davies was “unofficially” benched all weekend since no injury report ever mentioned him. Todd from TCT has more on that here. He was joined in street clothes by Josh Turnbull, allowing Tom Bardis and Chris Hickey to make their debuts. If you follow the team close enough, you saw this coming for both players, and I was surprised it didn’t happen sooner for Turnbull.

Outside of decent production on the PP (1-4-5), Davies hasn’t shown the same level of effort on 5x5 play where the whole team struggled early in the season and is steadily improving upon each weekend.

Turnbull returned to the lineup in Duluth this past weekend, but Davies didn’t even make the trip to the North Shore. Chuck had some good thoughts about this when he posted the lines last Friday. I’m in agreement that one weekend should have been a good lesson for Davies, but apparently Coach Eaves was of a different opinion. One thing we as fans don’t have access to is practice, and we have no way to measure the type of effort that a player gives during those sessions. Though hard work in practice hasn’t always translated into playing time during the Eaves era, otherwise Tom Gorowsky wouldn’t be this late “surprise” this season, since he is widely acknowledged by his teammates as one of the hardest workers on the team. Perhaps Davies didn’t get the message and went through the motions last week in practice earning his banishment to Madison while the team traveled.

Eaves had the following to say from the TCT article:

"It's a pretty interesting spot for young Michael right now," Eaves said. "I think for the first time in his life he's reevaluating where his talents are and where he needs to improve.

"First of all, not playing him in a couple of games and then not taking him on the road trip, it's something that he's looking himself in the mirror and asking himself, 'OK, what am I going to do about this situation now?' I'm sure Michael will respond the right way and be back in the lineup sooner than later."

Before the season started, I polled on which junior forward was going to make the biggest impact on the team. In a close race, Michael Davies tied for 2nd w/ John Mitchell behind Ben Grotting (though I think there was some voter fraud there). As fans we were expecting a lot out of him this season, and 12 games in there is rampant disappointment.

Davies looked good early in the season, I even remember him working in the corner for the puck and hitting people, things I had rarely seen in the past two seasons. Much like last season though, Davies wasn’t finishing on the PP. Despite his decent PP stats, he could easily have 3 more goals if he finished off a few plays.

I was pretty high on Michael coming into this season, I really want to see him succeed and become a 20 goal player. My thoughts from player previews:

07/08 Recap: Michael tied for the team lead in goals last season w/ 13, and led the team in PP goals (7) and shooting percentage (15.1%). There is no doubt that Michael had another good offensive season for the Badgers. His game also grew on the defensive side of the puck, and was much improved over his freshman season, where it often appears he was just out there for the offensive side of things, but he still has room to improve. Michael still doesn't appear to give it his all every shift, something Coach Eaves noticed which led one series to a saturday benching.

08/09 Thoughts: While it sounds like I'm being pretty hard on Michael in my recap, its because I think he could do a lot more for the Badgers if he put his all into every shift. Afterall, the name of the blog is 60 minutes, no alibis, no regrets. Along w/ Blake Geoffrion and Ben Street, Michael is our other top returning offensive threat. If he works to make more of his opportunities in the offensive end, and bury a few more shots, he could have a big season. The right combination on the PP w/ Michael could produce a rather potent unit, something the Badger's PP rarely sees. The following prediction could be low if he raises his game to another level this season, both on offense and defense.

Prediction: 35 games, 16-10-26

While the 2nd PP unit featuring 3 blue liners was decent against Tech, they looked horrible against Duluth. The PP needs Michael Davies, and Michael Davies needs to be on the PP. It appears the puck is on his stick now to get back out onto the ice and make us all proud. It will be interesting to see who travels to St. Cloud and who finds their way into the lineup on friday.

Badger Women to host Team USA before Olympics

In preparation for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Team USA Women’s hockey team will embark on a 10 game tour starting in September 2009. Games include matchups w/ WCHA, HE and ECAC All-Stars, three games against archrival Team Canada and one against Team Finland.

Three WCHA schools will host Team USA including the Badger Women, minnesota and North Dakota. The exact date for the game at the Kohl Center has not been set, but it will be in January 2010.

This should be a great event and I would expect (or at least hope) the Kohl Center to be filled w/ Team USA in town only a month or so prior to the beginning of the Olympic Games.

Here is the complete schedule:

2009-10 Qwest Tour Schedule (subject to change; all game times TBA)Date Opponent Site Location
Fri., Sept. 25 WCHA All-Stars Xcel Energy Center St. Paul, Minn.
Sat., Oct. 10 Univ. of North Dakota Gardens Arena Warroad, Minn.
Fri., Oct. 16 Canada Spokane Arena Spokane, Wash.
Thurs., Nov. 19 ECAC Hockey All-Stars TD Banknorth Sports Center Hamden, Conn.
Sun., Nov. 22 Hockey East All-Stars Whittemore Center Durham, N.H.
Sat., Dec. 12 Canada Magness Arena Denver, Colo.
Wed., Dec. 30 Canada Xcel Energy Center St. Paul, Minn.
January TBA Univ. of Wisconsin Kohl Center Madison, Wis.
Tues., Jan. 12 Univ. of Minnesota Ridder Arena Minneapolis, Minn.Thurs.,
Feb. 4 Finland Colo. Springs World Arena Colorado Springs, Colo.

A reminder, a version of Team USA will be at the Kohl Center to play an exhibition against the Badger Women on January 2, 2009.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Patrick Johnson owns (insert name) @ St. Cloud

The Badgers head out for one last road trip before Christmas break this weekend, their destination is St. Cloud, MN. Revenge should be on their minds following a sweep at the National Hockey Center during the 1st round of the WCHA last March. I'm sure Patrick Johnson will bring his 'A' game like he always does, but on the ice and in the smack talk department.

Patrick successful owned the fans choice last week, putting the puck past Alexander "the great big sieve" Stalock on friday night. Owning opponent is not always about the big hit or post whistle confortation, especially when a goalie is involved.

I'm lacking a good 4th candidate this week, but the first three should give voters some good options.

Choice #1-Ryan Lasch, he recently notched his 100th point in his career for the Huskies. A reigning Hobey finalist and 1st team WCHA choice is always deadly on the PP. Sitting at 1-7-8 isn't Hobey Baker pace, but that could change in a hurry.

Choice #2-Jase Weslosky, following in the footsteps of the overrated and completely undeserving two-time WCHA top goalie Bobby Geoffert, Jase is having a decent season. Though when you look at series against Mercyhurst, Robert Morris and Bemidji State already on the books its easy to have good stats. Did St. Cloud call Mankato and ask how to load the non-conference w/ cupcakes?

Choice #3-Garrett Roe, he leads St. Cloud in scoring w/ 5-13-18 and is having another good season following a great frosh campaign. Besides scoring, Roe likes to play the role of the agitator, though he's going to be reminded of who's king this weekend when Patrick Johnson comes to town.

Choice #4-Sam Zabkowicz, following a similar theme early this season, the Greendale, WI native is in his freshman season w/ the Huskies. I doubt he'll take home the prize this week as top vote getter, but that doesn't mean Patrick can't welcome him to the WCHA in style.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Badger Women Sweep

The Badger Women went to North Dakota and came back w/ 2 wins remaining unbeaten on the season, 12-0-2. On saturday the Badgers won 5-1 behind two goals from Jasmine Giles, a playmaker (3 assists) by Hilary Knight, and two assists each for Erika Lawler, Meghan Duggan and Mallory Deluce. Jesse Vetter was in net for the win.

Earlier today, the Badgers won 4-0 behind another shutout by Jesse Vetter and another hat trick by Hilary Knight. A 6 point weekend for Hilary! Jasmine Giles and Erika Lawler each assisted on two goals, notching 4 point weekends for themselves. Brooke Ammerman had two goals on the weekend as well continuing the great play by the frosh.

The Badger Women travel to Fort Myers, FL this weekend for a series against New Hampshire. GL to them and if its not too much to ask bring back some warmer weather when you return.

The Badger Women are 22-0 all-time against the North Dakota Women.

Stalock, Stalock!!! (sucks)

What a wonderful weekend of hockey up here in Duluth. I have some pictures from the DUMP, oh I mean the DECC, and I'll be posting those as the week goes on. The Duluth student section thought Stalock, Stalock!! was a good cheer, I guess it would be if he wasn't a huge sieve.

Friday the Badgers gave another one away, but they held on for the tie. A very strong 1st period was followed by the worst 2nd period I've seen this season. Blake Geoffrion got the team back into it w/ a few goals in the 3rd. Patrick Johnson accepted his task once again owning Alex Stalock to open the scoring in the game. Here are some articles for your enjoyment:

TCT (Milewski): UW's lead is short-lived in tie
The Ice House: Game Report (includes live blog)
WSJ (Baggot): Justice served in Duluth
uwbadgers.com (Capobianco): Game Day Blog

From Todd's blog, Geoffrion: "We didn't play 60 minutes tonight, and we've got to play 60 minutes. That's the bottom line. Our first and third period I thought were pretty good. That's the way we want to play consistently. The second period, I don't know where we went, myself included. We weren't bearing down at the blue lines and weren't getting pucks in. We're happy with the tie. We could be better."


Saturday was a pretty exciting night for the Badger fans in attendance. Wisconsin controlled the game for the majority, other than some stretches in the 3rd period when Duluth really brought the pressure. Connelly was huge in goal once again. Chris Hickey notched his first Badger goal and Tom Gorowsky was there early in the 2nd getting the eventual game winner. Tom had a great night. I've been pretty hard on Podge Turnbull, but its nice to see Wisconsin get a SH goal for once, as he was in the right place at the right time. Andy Bohmbach sealed the deal w/ the ENG. That second (corrected by author) goal of the season has been a long time coming for Andy who has played great all season long. His emergence from a 4th line grinder only playing half of last season, to a significant contributor during all facets of play is great, and Gorowsky had a beautiful assist connecting two of the hardest working players on the team for the final goal.

{Edited since it wasn't Andy's first goal of the season. Not sure how I missed the first one, now I feel like a MSNBC anchor during the 2008 election, spewing information w/ out actually knowing what I'm talking about.}

TCT (Milewski): Unbeaten streak rolls on with win over Bulldogs
The Ice House: Game Report
WSJ (Baggot): Success sustained in Duluth
uwbadgers.com (Capobianco): Game Day Blog

From TCT article, "With the schedule we had and the people we played and where we were, it's a little bit of a measurement of us," said Badgers coach Mike Eaves, whose team moved into a tie for third place, albeit having played two more games than the rest of the pack. "We've come a ways, but we know we have a ways to go."


The Badgers continue to improve every weekend. Three things that stick out to me. 1) the Badgers still need to improve their 5x5 play, its better than @ Denver for instance but it still needs work. 2) too many penalties plain and simple. If St. Cloud's PP is as good as last year, could be trouble next weekend. 3) Need to get 60 minutes of hockey each evening, close on saturday, but everyone need to play hard every shift. I'll add a fourth thing too, 4) the 2nd PP unit is HORRIBLE! Why is Patrick Johnson and Matt Thurber sitting on the bench in favor of 3 defensemen? Ratty was good enough for the PP last season, but not now? The 2nd unit was bad both nights, thankfully the 1st unit has meshed really well.

I saw Jake Gardiner get outskated late in the 3rd period saturday. I thought he was as fast as the wind. John Mitchell didn't have the best weekend either, I hope he's not trying to do too much based on his success last season.

Giving credit where its due, great weekends were had by Tom Gorowsky, Blake Geoffrion, Shane Connelly and Andy Bohmbach.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Lines @ UMD

Here are the lines for Saturday night at UMD. Sean Dolan injured his shoulder last night and is out of the lineup tonight. He is replaced by Chris Hickey. Eric Springer is also in the lineup tonight for Ryan Little after being a healthy scratch last night.



WISCONSIN'S LINES

15 Tom Gorowsky-5 Blake Geoffrion-21 Derek Stepan
18 Jordy Murray-12 Matt Thurber-10 Patrick Johnson
24 John Mitchell-11 Andy Bohmbach-14 Ben Grotting
8 Podge Turnbull-13 Aaron Bendickson-25 Chris Hickey

7 Brendan Smith-2 Jamie McBain
19 Jake Gardiner-4 Eric Springer
17 Ryan McDonagh-27 Cody Goloubef

35 Shane Connelly
1 Scott Gudmandson

MINNESOTA-DULUTH'S LINES

22 Mike Connolly-18 MacGregor Sharp-19 Nick Kemp
12 Jack Connolly-23 Jordan Fulton-37 Justin Fontaine
20 Andrew Carroll-7 Drew Akins-16 Matt Greer
10 Michael Gergen-11 Kyle Schmidt-21 Cody Danberg

4 Evan Oberg-17 Josh Meyers
14 Jay Cascalenda-2 Brady Lamb
6 Scott Kishel-24 Mike Montgomery

32 Alex Stalock
30 Brady Hjelle
1 Kenny Reiter



Photo By: Isabel Alvarez /The Daily Cardinal

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Lines @ UMD

Usually 60 has a magnificent write up on Friday, and I never like to step on her toes with the, "It's Friday and I'm in love," but she seems to be slacking this week! (haha just kidding 60) Anyways, here are the lines, per Milewski.



Gorowsky-Geoffrion-Stepan
Mitchell-Dolan-Bohmbach
P. Johnson-Thurber-Murray

The 4th line is a game time decision based on how Grotting feels. Bendickson will be centering 2 out of Grotting, Turnbull, and Hickey.

Smith-McBain
McDonagh-Goloubef
Gardiner-Little

Eric Springer is also on the trip as the extra defenseman.

Davies did not make the trip.

I understand cracking down on Davies but wasn't sitting him an entire weekend enough? I sure as hell hope Eaves doesn't think just because we swept the worst team in the WCHA without him that he can continue to sit Davies. Davies is one of the top 2 offensive threats on the roster. Sitting him 1 weekend was fine, sitting him 2 is simply to stroke Eaves ego that he's in charge. Then again Davies could be injured, (which hasn't been talked about in the papers) and I could just look like a bafoon.

Regardless, I'm guaranteeing a sweep this weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A scout's view on Turris

Andy Baggot had a chat recently w/ a NHL scout and Kyle Turris came up during the conversation.

The scout thought Turris could have used another year playing with the Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey team instead of signing a NHL contract with Phoenix.

His reasoning shouldn't come as a surprise. Turris, he said, sorely lacks upperbody strength on his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame. Typically, college players make their biggest strength and conditioning strides between their freshman and sophomore years.

...

The scout blamed the Coyotes -- not Turris -- for being so impulsive. He said club officials intimated to Turris and his family early last season that they wanted him onboard as soon as possible, in part because those officials thought the club would struggle offensively and needed an influx of high-profile youth.

...

The scout said Turris will wind up being a good NHL player, but he said another year of college would have been best for his development.

Well I guess most Badger fans are as smart as this NHL scout on the subject of Kyle Turris. I watched part of the Phoenix/Columbus game last night, and the comment about strength is painfully obvious. They rotated KT to the front of the net on the PP and he was manhandled w/ out much effort. Same issue fighting for pucks in the corner.

And this answers the question in the comments section of my last Turris piece, the Coyotes were the root of his quick post NCAA Regional departure ending his Wisconsin career.

BCHL Forward Commits to the Badgers

New York native Mark Zengerle has committed to the Badgers, and will likely join the team starting in the Fall of 2010. Mark currently plays for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and is the 3rd leading scorer in the BCHL w/ 14-26-40 in 21 games. He came to Salmon Arm in a trade for Derek Lee. Mark is listed at 5'11 172 lbs.

It appears Denver, North Dakota and Boston U were on Mark's radar, but once he arrived in Madison last weekend for a visit during the Michigan Tech series that made his choice rather clear.

"Wisconsin was my first visit, and I knew that was the place I wanted to go," he said.

"Obviously, the hockey is pretty amazing," he added. "I really liked the coaches, I liked the facilities. I liked what the coaches had said to me."

Its nice to see the BCHL connection continue for the Badgers. In the recent past, the BCHL has supplied Wisconsin w/ Ben Street, Kyle Turris, and Scott Gudmandson, and we'll see Derek Lee and Justin Schultz in the Cardinal and White next Fall.

Mark welcome to the Badgers!

Update on the Drive for .500...by Christmas

A few weeks ago following a disappointing weekend against minnesota, I laid down a plan for the Badger Men to reach .500 by Christmas break.

The original plan:

@ North Dakota - Split (1-6-1) - the Sioux are struggling too, get a win and start rolling - Mission Accomplished

vs Michigan Tech - Sweep (3-6-1) - this team is not good this season - Mission Accomplished

@ Duluth - 3 pts (4-6-2) - Duluth is also bad and the blog will be there to inspire the team
@ St. Cloud - Split (5-7-2) - Hopefully get some revenge for the WCHA playoffs
College Hockey Showcase - Split (6-8-2)
vs UAA - Sweep (8-8-2) - They might finish 8th in the WCHA, we can't afford a loss to them at home

I still think this plan is doable and I hold to my projections. I'm wondering what Duluth team will show up this weekend. They got rolled pretty well last friday at Denver, then played some tough defense on saturday, but couldn't score enough to win. Which Wisconsin team is going to show up as well? Defensively at 5x5 there is still a lot of room for improvement.

St. Cloud hasn't won yet in the WCHA, but a sweep of Robert Morris should help their confidence. I would like to see the juniors lead the team in there to get some revenge, but lets not look ahead to next weekend just yet.

Something for fans to consider. After the St. Cloud series the Badgers only play 6 more games on the road the rest of the regular season, and most if not all of those games will be on olympic sized ice sheets. While there is still a lot of work left to do to make up for the bad start, 16 home games at the Kohl Center isn't a bad thing to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Around the WCHA Nov 14-16

Full week of WCHA games this weekend. Last week I did ok on my predictions, I went 3-3 on series, so I'll give it a go again this week, but first last week's results.

Wisconsin swept Michigan Tech
St. Cloud swept Robert Morris
Denver swept Duluth
CC split w/ North Dakota
Mankato took 3 pts from UAA
minnesota won and tied against New Hampshire

The WCHA Standings:

Team, WCHA Record, Points, Points/Game
Minnesota, 4-0-2, 10, 1.67
Colorado College, 4-1-1, 9, 1.5
Denver, 4-1-1, 9, 1.5
Wisconsin, 3-4-1, 7, 0.88
Alaska-Anchorage, 2-2-2, 6, 1
Minnesota State, 2-2-2, 6, 1
North Dakota, 3-3-0, 6, 1
Minnesota-Duluth, 1-3-1, 3, 0.6
Michigan Tech, 1-5-0, 2, 0.33
St. Cloud State, 0-3-0, 0, 0

I added the extra column since early in the season sometimes there is an inequality of games played. Wisconsin has played 8 (2 more than anyone else) while St. Cloud has only played 3. Based on this, Wisconsin is in 7th. Big weekend for the Badgers to gain more points making up for the ones left behind @ DU and against minnesota.

This week's games:

CC @ Mankato - Split
DU @ St. Cloud - Denver Sweeps
UAA @ North Dakota - NoDak takes 3 pts
Wisconsin @ Duluth - Wisconsin takes 3 pts
Michigan Tech @ minnesota - the rodents sweep

Badger Men sweep Huskies

Better late than never, eh? 60 had started this post on monday, and I'll finish it for her today.

In case you live under a rock (which would be pretty cold this time of year), the Badger Men swept the Huskies this weekend, winning 3-2 on Friday and 6-0 on Saturday. Here are the recaps and game stories:


Friday
uwbadgers: Badgers handle Huskies
Ice House Blog: Friday Recap
TCT (Milewski): UW rides fast start to a winning streak
WSJ (Baggot): McBain, McDonagh bring the heat in win over Michigan Tech

Saturday
Ice House Blog: Saturday Recap
TCT (Milewski): Geoffrion, UW power play deliver in rout
WSJ (Baggot): I know he has one but can't find it at the moment (good name for an article)

Post-weekend
TCT (Milewski): Sweep good for Badgers' soul
HIW (Dplaya): Badger Goals on the weekend
Daily Cardinal: Wisconsin takes two games from Michigan Tech this weekend

While the team had a great result this weekend, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Tech is far from one of the top teams in the conference, but they were a few whistles away from a closer game saturday. Teams like Denver and minnesota clean up some of the chances left in front of the net. Scott Gudmandson really needed that win on saturday. When I saw him skate out first my heart sank, but he proved everyone in the KC wrong w/ a good preformance, and some puck luck at times. The special teams was great all weekend, especially on saturday night.

I know Eaves wants more shots and scoring from our forwards, but if the blue liners are going to score on quality outside shots, keep them coming. A few players are really starting to heat up, including Blake Geoffrion, Brendan Smith, Jamie McBain and John Mitchell. Now if a few more guys come around, our offense could be a strong point the rest of the season, which is definately out of the ordinary. When the defense finally comes around, and it will, we should be in fine shape during the 2nd half of the season.

One player who didn't notch the score sheet this weekend, but who I noticed a ton was Andy Bohmbach. The Bohmber is a favorite of the blog, and I'm really impressed w/ his play this season. Last year Andy got a chance to play late in the season and I thought played quite well in his 4th line role. He definately carried that over to this season, and its great to see a hard worker like him (and Tom Gorowsky) playing on one of the top lines, and seeing some PP time. While the Bohmber will never likely be a big scorer, he has turned into a nice two way player, who does what is needed for the team to win. This sums it up pretty well:

Unrecorded effort

In three games as the top-line right winger, junior Andy Bohmbach doesn't have a point, but Eaves pointed out that doesn't mean he's not contributing.


Bohmbach was on the ice for the only even-strength goal Saturday and helped Jamie McBain's shot by screening goaltender Josh Robinson.

"He's doing those little, unsung things that don't get talked about a lot," Eaves said, "and giving us what he can to help himself stay where he's at and help the team win."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Turris a healthy scratch?

Todd at TCT has a post today about the WJC, discussing who might be gone from the lineup during the Badger Hockey Showdown and against N. Michigan. Todd thinks Ryan McDonagh is a lock (I would agree) and that Brendan Smith and Cody Goloubef will likely get a look from Team Canada. Todd also includes a few links about Kyle Turris. It appears the Coyotes might make KT available for the WJC. This didn't occur to any eligible full time NHL players last season, as Pat Kane, Sam Gagner and David Perron didn't play in the event.

KT has also gotten a taste of the cold harsh realities of playing in the NHL being a healthy scratch in the Coyotes' last two games against Calgary and Vancouver. Apparently Kyle wasn't very happy about this since he had 100 family and friends in attendance in a homecoming of sorts on the road at Vancouver. "He refused interview requests after the game."

The Great One had the following to say, "It really wasn't a big decision," Gretzky said after the game. "Nobody likes to not play, but the team had such a good effort on Tuesday night (a 4-2 win in Calgary) as a coaching staff we just really believed it was probably the wise thing to do. Kyle is going to be around for a long time and I know he is disappointed, but he'll get back in and when he gets in I know he'll play well."

I'm not exactly sure what is keeping KT out of the lineup, he started off well, but has cooled off quickly in the young season. Strength is still probably the biggest issue w/ Kyle, something he could have really concentrated on w/ another year at Wisconsin instead of traveling all over the continent. Alas, that is not the case, but the season is still young, I hope he turns things around and still make a run at the Calder.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Patrick Johnson owns (insert name) @ Duluth

New week, a new addition. Last week Patrick took his job very seriously as the fans voted for him to own both Wisconsin natives Seth Soley and Brett Olson (while the team spent the weekend owning Tech's goaltenders). While I didn't see Patrick lay either frosh out, he was definately in their face throughout the games, especially after the whistle letting them know what he thought. I'm not sure Patrick stops jacking his jaws toward the opponent from puck drop to final whistle. Get this kid some quench gum!

This week the team and our blog travels to Duluth, MN for a series against the bulldogs. My knowledge of the bulldogs is limited, since they suck, but I've compiled some good options. I'm just hoping the DECC doesn't fall on my head either night, since all indications are that its a huge dump.

Option #1 - Jack Connolly, the reigning USA Junior POY of the year can be honored in a different way by being owned by Patrick Johnson.

Option #2 - Justin Fontaine, he's tied for the team lead in scoring w/ 5-6-11. The former AJHL standout, was the top rookie for the bulldogs last season. He needs to learn his place in the WCHA, flat on his back after being owned.

Option #3 - Alex Stalock, nicknamed "straylock" for his odd style of coming way out of his net as a freshman, he has been a huge sieve his entire time in the WCHA, and I don't see that changing. If my memory serves me right, he took a swipe at Blake Geoffrion during their series at the Kohl Center last year. One guy who's bark is definately bigger than his bite.

Option #4 - MacGregor Sharp, he joins Fontaine on top of the scoring list for Duluth w/ 5-6-11. He has a pretty cool name, but that won't provide him immunity from being owned this week.

USA Women win 4 Nations Cup

The Team USA Women came away from the 4 Nations Cup w/ a gold medal after winning 3-2 in a shootout over Team Canada. Jesse Vetter was in net for Team US registering the win.

For the tourney, Hilary Knight led all Team USA scorers w/ 3-2-5. Meghan Duggan was 2-1-3 and Kerry Wieland has 2 assists. They were joined on Team USA by Erika Lawler, Molly Engstorm and recruit Brianna Decker.

Team Canada featured Badger alums Meaghan Mikkelson (1 goal) and Bobbi Jo Slusar.

Congrats to Team USA and welcome back to Madison to our Badger Women!

The Badger Women return to action next weekend when they travel to North Dakota for a pair of games.

Craig Smith named to all tourney team

Craig Smith finished an impressive preformance in the Jr A Challenge w/ 2 assists helping Team USA beat Team Canada West 7-1 to win the tourney. Smith finished the tourney 3-5-8 and for his efforts was named to the all tournament team.

Justin Schultz comes away w/ the silver as a member of Team Canada West and finished the tourney w/ 2 assists.

This had to be a great experience for Craig Smith on the world stage. It appears he has made leaps and bounds as a player since last season, as I keeping stating I really looking forward to seeing the Madison native in Cardinal and White next Fall.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Friday, I'm in Love

The Badger Women are off this weekend, which is fine as a number of them are in Lake Placid for the Four Nations Cup. The Badger Men are hosting my other alma mater this weekend at the Kohl Center.

Badger Men v. Michigan Tech, Fri/Sat 7 PM CST
TV
Friday - none
Saturday - WISC in Madison, WKBT in LaCrosse, Charter Main Street (Channel 87) and Time Warner Cable (Channel 32) in other parts of the state. I guess if you don't live in Madison or Lacrosse and don't have cable, you're SOL. Saturday's game will also be shown tape delay on Wisconsin Public Television.

Video Webcast
Friday - uwbadgers (free)
Saturday - none

Radio
Both nights -- WIBA in Madison, also available on yahoosports ($4.95/mo).

Lines (same as Gandalf posted yesterday)
Murray-Geoffrion-Bohmbach
Mitchell-Dolan-Gorowsky
P. Johnson-Thurber-Stepan
Hickey-Bendickson-Bardis

Smith-McBain
McDonagh-Goloubef
Gardiner-Little

Connelly
Gudmandson

PP units
As Davies and Turnbull are out, the PP's had a different look in practice:

Stepan-Geoffrion-Gorowsky (I might have the right/left switched)
Smith-McBain

Murray-Bohmbach-Gardiner (No idea who's the center or who's right/left, just listed the 3 in no particular order)
McDonagh-Goloubef

Series Previews
uwbadgers: series preview, game notes
michigantechhuskies: series preview, game notes
CHN: Tale of the tape
Milewski (TCT): Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey vs. Michigan Tech
Milewski (Icehouse): Debuts coming for Bardis, Hickey
Storlie (Daily Cardinal): Men's hockey looks to slow down against Huskies
Carey (Daily Cardinal): Now's the time for UW Hockey to gain ground
Bleach (Badger Herald): Following 1st win, men's hockey to host MTU
Warvie (Mining Gazette): Huskies begin tough stretch

Other Articles
Baggot (WSJ): Connelly saves
Baggot (Badgerbeat): The power of philosophy
Milewski (TCT): UW not red-faced over blue-line turnovers
Mason (Badger Herald): Skating from spectators to starters
Paul Braun's blog (uwbadgers): Bob Johnson, John MacInnes, and Hartmeyer Arena

Notebooks from The Usual Suspects
USCHO: This Week in the WCHA
INCH: Seen and heard in the WCHA, WCHA stick salute, bench minor, great weekend getaway

Other items of interest