Monday, March 29, 2010

West Regional Thoughts...

I've had 24 hours to reflect on my thoughts from the West Regional and I'm still giddy as hell. Such a great feeling knowing your squad is heading to the frozen four. It's an even better feeling knowing that we have just as good of a chance as any squad there to come home from Detroit City with hardware.

First things first, Johnny Mitchell came up huge on Saturday night. I'm not going to take 100% of the credit for his two goals, but if you don't think me posting the picture comparing him to Goose from Top Gun (top left) had something to do with it your borderline retarded. Ok so it obviously had nothing to do with it, but it is great to see Johnny burying some opportunities. He's showed flashes of brilliance this season but nothing for a sustained period of time. If we can get him hot heading into the Frozen Four it's going to be scary.

I thought our defense played solid all weekend. Ryan McDonagh is just a beast. I feel bad that he doesn't get even close to enough credit. The guy flat out is a shut down defenseman. He's like the Deion Sanders of the WCHA. Smitty was solid and had some points. Gardiner stepped up and showed a little offense this weekend. Playing against other teams top lines he doesn't always have opportunities to jump up in the play offensively but when he can he's a major threat. Schultzy has really taken his game to the next level late in his freshman year. I hope we can keep him around for a while. Rammer and Goloubef were solid as well. Two more kids that don't get nearly enough credit.

Looking at the most important part of the Badger lineup, between the pipes, I thought that Gudmandson was good enough. There were a few goals that left me scratching my head but for the most part he looked assertive, confident, and ready to lead us to a title. I've said this all season, our goaltending doesn't have to go out and win us games, it just can't lose us games. If Goody puts us in a spot to win, I like our chances.

Offensively, you have to start with Mr. Geoffrion. I've got all the respect in the world for this guy. On the ice, off the ice, he is Badger hockey. He's making a serious push at the Hobey Baker and I would love nothing more than to see him and Mr. Smith in the final three with one of them winning it. Davies had another solid weekend, that snipe on Friday night was dirty. Steps continues to impress on both ends of the ice, that kid just has a gift with the puck and finding people. If you don't think Davies taking his game to an elite level has anything to do with Stepan your crazy. I thought that Podge did a nice job in both games. He didn't score but he had scoring chance after scoring chance. I wish he could have buried that break away but he wasn't the only Badger not to bury and opportunity this weekend. Andy Bohmbach was great. He was physical, assertive, and was setting up his teammates all weekend.

Overall I really liked the way the boys played this weekend. I'd like a little more consistency out of our PP but it's nice to see us scoring goals even when the PP isn't clicking. This is a Badger squad that can beat you from multiple angles and I think that's what makes us dangerous in this tournament. We're getting scoring from all four lines and there isn't many teams in the country that can say that right now.

We're a confident bunch and we should be. There are 2 other #1 seeds at the Frozen Four but we're just as good if not better than any of the other squads there. RIT is going to be a tough opponent in the opener. Say what you want about their schedule but if you saw them play Denver and UNH you know that they are the real deal. They frustrated both teams and counter attacked when presented an opportunity. We cannot get lax like we did on the PP when we gave up the goal to Festler on Saturday. RIT will make the Badgers pay if they are given an opportunity.

Would have liked to see some better attendance at the X but it was still a pretty good atmosphere. I have to give a shout out to our band and our students. You guys f'ing rock. I was sitting by a bunch of St. Cloud fans as well as Gopher fans and they could not stop talking about how awesome you guys are. Do what you have to do to get yourselves to Detroit.