Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wisconsin Hosting Anchorage In WCHA First Round

In case you weren't already aware, your 2009-2010 Wisconsin Badgers clinched second place in the treacherous WCHA over the weekend. I'd like to take a brief moment and congratulate our players on a great regular season.

But It's time to turn our attention to the next step, the playoffs. It starts this weekend when the Badgers host the Seawolves from Alaska Anchorage in a WCHA first round match up. It's a best of three series with a game on Sunday night if necessary.

Anchorage finished tied for 8th in the league but lost a tie breaker to Minnesota State, so they finished with the #9 seed in the playoffs. They are coming off of a home split against Minnesota-Duluth. They won on Friday 3-2, and lost on Saturday 6-3.

Wisconsin and Anchorage only played twice this season and that was at the Kohl Center back in mid-November. Wisconsin got the sweep winning games 5-1 and 6-2. Back in that series both teams played one goalie on Friday and the other on Saturday.

I'm going to assume that Anchorage is going to be starting Jon Olthuis in goal this weekend. He's got the majority of the starts this season (25) and has played in the last 3 games. He carries an 8-14-2 record with a 3.57 gaa and an .871 save percentage.

The Seawolves are led up front by the line of Josh Lunden, Alex Gellert, and Kevin Clark (pictured top left). There is no doubt about it, senior forward Kevin Clark is the key to beating Anchorage. You shut down Clark and you shut down the entire team. Clark has had an outstanding season that should finish with All-Conference honors. Clark has scored 23 goals this season, 14 more than any other Anchorage player.

Make no doubt about it, Wisconsin needs to get back on track this week and lay the lumber to Anchorage. Anchorage is a team that if you let them hang around, they will find ways to beat you. The Badgers need to show the fire that was lacked this past weekend and not even allow them a chance breath.

Predictions, Friday: 5-1 Badgers; Saturday: 4-3 Badgers.

We need to fill the Kohl Center and give our boys some home ice advantage. Face-Off Series ticket holders will have game 1 and game 3 as part of their season ticket package. Slap-Shot Series ticket holders will have game 2 as part of their season ticket package. There are still tickets available for the weekends series. I just put in for two tickets and got section 121 (blueline) and got row E. So there are plenty of good seats out there to be had.