Sunday, January 4, 2009

Badgers blow 3 goal lead, get swept by N. Michigan

A wise man once said, over confidence will be your undoing, and I think the Badgers (and their fans) might have had a little bit of that this weekend.

On friday, in a similar fashion to the Lake State game, N. Michigan came to play and the Badgers didn't equal their intensity for long stretches of the game. Huge let downs at critical times, early in the 2nd and 3rd periods, lead to three goals for the Wildcats and the Badgers weren't able to generate enough offense to overcome, losing 3-2.

Bad losses happen to good teams, maybe they needed the wake up call, and well...the Badgers got another last night in the 3rd period.

The game started off well for Wisconsin, Brendan Smith scored two PP goals in the 1st period (though he left w/ an injury late in the 1st), while John Mitchell notched two of his own goals in the 2nd period. Derek Stepan added a goal in the 3rd, and everyone was happy because they were getting ice cream. The game seemed in hand and then everything went to shit. W/ about ten minutes left to play the score was 5-2 and the Badgers were in control, but sloppy play, bad decision making, poor passing and puck control opened the door wide open for N. Michigan to capitialize and chip away at the lead, eventually tying the game 5-5 late in the period. All the swagger was gone, all the good feelings about making up for friday were dashed.

The Badgers were able to kill off a penalty that carried over into OT, but a big faceoff lose by Blake Geoffrion in our zone about halfway through the extra frame, was sent to the back of the net by N. Michigan and all the fans in Cardinal and White were left to sit in disbelief, a 6-5 OT loss. Several things stuck out at me.

  • The PK was not as good as usual. Matt Thurber was a scratch which I think was a bad move, w/ Patrick Johnson already out. Thurber sitting in street clothes put two of our best PK forwards out of the game. Derek Stepan is a great assest to the team, but not much of a PKer as of yet.
  • I didn't think the loss of Ryan McDonagh and Cody Goloubef was going to be such a deathstroke like last season's losses to the WJC, but it sure showed on the blue line. Eric Springer did not play well all weekend, he took a big step back. The pace of the game was fast last night, and Craig Johnson didn't keep up w/ it. Ryan Little and Jake Gardiner made mistakes, but played alright. W/ McDonagh and Goloubef we don't lose either game.
  • I think everyone was too overconfident coming into this weekend. Not just the players, but every fan and media outlet that follows the Badgers. N. Michgan had a bad record, they couldn't score, etc, but in the end they came away w/ two wins; the Badgers didn't. For a team that started 0-6-1 and needs every win down the stretch to make the NCAA tourney, every opponent should be considered equally w/ the goal to get the W, no matter what their record is or how futile they appear on paper.
  • Watching the 3rd period of this game was like watching friday night against Denver where the Badgers blew a 4-1 lead to lose 6-5. A lot of the same mistakes too, not taking care of the puck, players simply not doing their job, bad decision making and allowing the N. Michigan players to basically camp up right in front of the net.
  • Finally, some positives. The PP was great early on, and that was largely due to Jamie McBain. He had a monster game, and was like 6 blue liners all by himself, which he needed to especially when Smith left w/ injury. He'll be visiting an NHL town near you soon enough.

Some reading

Friday's game:
TCT (Milewski): UW beaten by basics

IceHouse (Milewski): GameDay Post

WSJ (Bagg0t): UW shocked by Northern Michigan UW edged out by Wildcats

Saturday's game:

TCT (Milewski): In 12 minutes, UW's big lead turns to loss

IceHouse (Milewski): Gameday Post

WSJ (Baggot): Northern Michigan pulls off stunning sweep Badgers drop series to NMU with overtime loss