Sunday, January 31, 2010

We Have Ice!

























Well...at least enough ice to lay down the logos. Everything looks to be progressing nicely.

Check out the new pictures from Camp Randall.

NCAA Bracketology 1/31/2010

(Click on bracket to enlarge)

To get the bitter taste out of every one's mouths from the loss last night to Duluth, I've got your most recent NCAA Tournament Bracketology to keep every one's eyes on the real prize, Wisconsin's 7th National Championship.

First of all, lets talk about what changes went on in terms of the tournament with this weekends action. The top 3 seeds (Miami, Denver, and Wisconsin stayed the same. #4 overall seed Bemidji and #5 overall seed St. Cloud switched spots. North Dakota took a HUGE hit over the weekend by getting swept by Denver. They moved from the #10 seed in the tournament to the #15 seed, the current last at large seed in the tournament. One upset in a conference tournament and the Fighting Sioux are watching from home.

Let's get this thing started.

Step 1: Pick the 16 Tournament teams

1. Miami
2. Denver
3. Wisconsin
4. St. Cloud
5. Bemidji State
6. Duluth
7. Ferris State
8. UMASS
9. New Hampshire
10. Cornell
11. Boston College
12. Colorado College
13. Michigan State
14. Vermont
15. North Dakota
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion

Step 2: Assign the Seeds

No. 1 seeds: Miami, Denver, Wisconsin, St. Cloud
No. 2 seeds: Bemidji, Duluth, Ferris State, UMASS
No. 3 seeds: New Hampshire, Cornell, Boston College, Colorado College
No. 4 seeds: Michigan State, Vermont, North Dakota, Atlantic Hockey Champ

Step 3: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

Number 1 seeds are placed based on proximity to regional site.

No. 1 Miami is placed in the Mid-West regional in Fort Wayne
No. 2 Denver is placed in the West regional in St. Paul
No. 3 Wisconsin is placed in the East regional in Albany
No. 4 St. Cloud State is placed in Northeast regional in Worchester

Step 4: Place the other 12 teams avoiding intra-conference match ups if possible

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding.

If this is the case, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships are played by No. 1 v. No. 8, No. 2 v. No. 7, No. 3 v. No. 6 and No. 4 v. No. 5.

Number 2 Seeds:

No. 8 UMASS is placed in No. 1 Miami's Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Ferris State is placed in No. 2 Denver's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Duluth is placed in No. 3 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Bemidji State is placed in No. 4 St. Cloud's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Number 3 Seeds:

Our bracketing system has one Regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16, another with 2, 7, 10, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.No. 9 New Hampshire is placed in No. 8 UMASS's Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Cornell is placed in No. 7 Ferris State's, the West Regional.
No. 11 Boston College is placed in No. 6 Duluth's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Colorado College is placed in No. 5 Bemidji State, the Northeast Regional.

Number 4 seeds:

One more time, taking No. 16 v. No. 1, No. 15 v. No. 2, etc.

No. 16 Atlantic Hockey Winner is sent to No. 1 Miami's Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 North Dakota is sent to No. 2 Denver's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Vermont is sent to No. 3 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Michigan State is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Our Bracket as we have it set up:

Midwest Regional:

1 Miami vs 16 Atlantic Hockey winner
8 UMASS vs 9 New Hampshire

West Regional:

2 Denver vs 15 North Dakota
7 Ferris State vs 10 Cornell

East Regional:

3 Wisconsin vs 14 Vermont
6 Duluth vs 11 Boston College

Northeast Regional:

4 St. Cloud vs 13 Michigan State
5 Bemidji State vs 12 Colorado College

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. We have two, 2 Denver vs 15 North Dakota, and 8 UMASS vs 9 New Hampshire. The committee set a precedent last year when BU was the first overall seed and played the #15 seed to avoid an intra-conference match up. But the NCAA did that because there were only 4 CCHA teams in the tournament. I could see the committee keeping an intra-conference match up though because there are six WCHA teams in the tournament and they technically don't have to make the switch if there are 5 or more teams from one conference in the tournament. For now, I'm going to assume they will not make the switch like they did last season. The NCAA wants to protect the #1 overall seed if they can. So then our only switch is #9 New Hampshire with #10 Cornell.

So our new tournament now is:

Midwest Regional:

1 Miami vs 16 Atlantic Hockey winner
8 UMASS vs 10 Cornell

West Regional:

2 Denver vs 15 North Dakota
7 Ferris State vs 9 New Hampshire

East Regional:
3 Wisconsin vs 14 Vermont
6 Duluth vs 11 Boston College

Northeast Regional:

4 St. Cloud vs 13 Michigan State
5 Bemidji State vs 12 Colorado College

So how does it look? We've avoided intra-conference match ups as much as we could. How is attendance? That Northeast regional looks awful for attendance purposes. Last week Jason Moy (Braketologist extraordinaire) made a switch in his bracket to help out issues with travel and attendance by moving Wisconsin to St. Paul and Denver out East. Because in his original bracket, number 1 seeds Bemidji, Wisconsin, and Denver would have to fly. By switching Denver's "pod" with Wisconsin's, only Denver and Bemidji would have to fly. This week it makes more sense to switch Denver's "pod" with St. Cloud's "pod". In our original bracket, Wisconsin, St. Cloud, and Duluth would have to fly. By switching St. Cloud and Denver, only Denver and Wisconsin would have to fly. Let's try that and see what we come up with.

Midwest Regional:

1 Miami vs 16 Atlantic Hockey winner
8 UMASS vs 10 Cornell

West Regional:

4 St. Cloud vs 13 Michigan State
5 Bemidji State vs 12 Colorado College

East Regional:

3 Wisconsin vs 14 Vermont
6 Duluth vs 11 Boston College

Northeast Regional:

2 Denver vs 15 North Dakota
7 Ferris State vs 9 New Hampshire

I like that bracket a LOT better. Attendance looks good with St. Cloud, Bemidji, CC, and Michigan State in St. Paul, Vermont and BC in Albany, and Miami in Fort Wayne, and UNH and North Dakota in Worchester.

That's my bracket for the week. We'll see what Jason Moy from USCHO comes up with during the week. I'll be interested to see what he does with possibly moving North Dakota to face the number 1 overall seed Miami.

Thanks to USCHO's Jason Moy. I followed his system that he has used in prior Bracketology articles on USCHO.com

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Duluth 4, Wisconsin 0

Ugh. What a frustrating loss tonight. Duluth came out hard as everyone figured they would and the Badgers had no answer. Junior goaltender Brett Bennett was pulled after giving up two goals on the first three shots of the game for Duluth and Wisconsin simply could not answer.

The Badgers could not not stay out of the penalty box all night, they were whistled for 13 penalties including a 5 minute major on Matt Thurber. One of Wisconsin's biggest strengths is the depth of their forward lines and with all of the penalties they simply could not get into a consistent rhythm. Wisconsin is fourth in the country in penalty minutes per game and that is simply unacceptable if we want to reach the level that we all know we can reach.

In what is becoming an increasingly alarming trend, the Wisconsin power play again looked awful this weekend. I don't understand what is going on because we have the personnel to have an effective power play. I think it may be time to switch Justin Schultz off the point on the first unit and try someone else back there. Maybe switch him out with any one of McDonagh, Gardiner, or Goloubef. Maybe even move Stepan to the middle of the umbrella, move Geoffrion up to Stepans spot and put big John Mitchell out front.

The loss is frustrating but taking two points on the road isn't terrible against a good Duluth squad. If anything this may be a nice wake up call for the boys to make them realize they aren't invincible and they need to play sixty minutes of hockey every single night if they want to win games in this league. This is only a minor setback on our journey.

Some additional reading material for you when you wake up Sunday:

USCHO Recap-Kevin Pates
USCHO Box Score
Badgers fall flat in finale vs. Bulldogs-Andy Baggot
Badgers fall to Bulldogs, 4-0
Bulldogs Bounce Back To Bounce Wisconsin

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wisconsin 5, Duluth 2

Wisconsin takes game one up in Duluth 5-2. Wisconsin dominated play for large stretches of the game. Thanks to everyone who stopped by during the live blog of last nights game. We had a lot of fun. We'll probably do it again in the near future. Not sure if we'll do it tonight or not.

Here are some Saturday morning links for you.

USCHO Recap
USCHO Box Score
College Hockey News Post Game
Badgers knock off WCHA-leading Bulldogs-Andy Baggot
Game Summary-Duluth News Tribune
Badgers Swarm Past Bulldogs-Duluth News Tribune
Saturday In The WCHA-Kevin Pates UMD Beat Writer
Wisconsin 5, UMD 2-Kevin Pates UMD Beat Writer
UW women's hockey: Buckeyes' last-second goal sinks Badgers

It's Friday, I'm in Love

Saturday, wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday, never hesitate...





BADGER MEN @ Duluth: FRI / SAT 7 PM

“We’re feeling great right now. It has been a tough stretch against some great teams, but it’s been fun and we hope we can keep this up.”

“Road trips are always big. We’re playing in a loud venue and it’s going to be exciting in that smaller rink. Duluth is a great team, they play similar hockey to us, and it’s definitely going to be a battle.”

-- Jordy Murray [Henson]


UW: 14-6-4 overall, 10-5-3 WCHA
UMD: 16-9-1 overall, 12-5-1 WCHA


Gameday Links
TV: Charter Extra 87 (Fri & Sat)
Radio: WIBA 1310
Audio webstream: insideBADGERSPORTS ($9.95/mo), www.fan1490.com (free, Duluth feed)
Video webstream: b2live ($7/game)
Live stats: umdbulldogs
Live blog: Capobianco*, Worgull (BN)*

* I don't have the direct blog links, but they should be linked on the front page of their respective sites at game time.

Weekly Shooutout Winner
This week, DEREK STEPAN won the shootout. I believe that's St. Stepan's 2nd shootout win this season.

Badger Lines
Murray - Geoffrion - C Smith
Street - Stepan - Davies
Mitchell - Bendickson- Bohmbach
Grotting - Dolan - P Johnson

McDonagh - Gardiner
Smith - Ramage
Goloubef - Schultz

Gudmandson
Bennett

Extra Skaters - Thurber, C Johnson

Goody on Friday (I'm in Love) and Bennett on Saturday?

Bulldog lines
M Connolly - J Connolly - Fontaine
Bordson - Oleksuk - Seidel
Fulton - Akins - Grun
Danberg - DeLisle - Hendrickson

Olsen - Montgomery
Bergman - Lamb
Kishel - Huttel

Reiter
Hjelle

Series Previews
uwbadgers: preview, game notes
umdbulldogs: preview, game notes
Baggot (WSJ): UW men's hockey at Minnesota-Duluth
Baggot (WSJ blog): Bendickson OK, Eaves sets lineup for Duluth
Henson (Badger Herald): Potential for scoring high in Duluth
Gabriel (Daily Cardinal): No rest for the weary
Pates (Duluth Tribune): Bulldogs face challenge to stay on top, face Badgers at DECC
Pates (Duluth Tribune): Wisconsin at UMD
Pates (Rink&Run blog): Game Day
Pates (Rink&Run blog): A showdown looms

Other Articles/Links
uwbadgers: Davies is WCHA Player of the Week
uwbadgers: Mike Eaves' weekly presser
Baggot (WSJ): Proof isn't in the points for Gardiner
Baggot (WSJ): UW alumni get-together set for this weekend
Baggot (WSJ blog): Some amazing things have happened to UW at the DECC
Baggot (WSJ blog): Five good minutes with Andy Hrodey
Baggot (WSJ blog): The weekend that was in the WCHA
Holt (Badger Herald): No one better
Breiner (Daily Cardinal): Defensemen drive UW's success
Savidge (Daily Cardinal): After impressive Denver series, Badgers playing like national champions
umdbulldogs: Drew Akins' blog

The Usual Suspects
CHN: Tale of the Tape
USCHO: This Week in the WCHA (Spisak), What I Think (Milewski), Tuesday Morning Quarterback (Milewski/Connelly, USCHO Extra)
INCH: Friday Four-cast, First Shift (national notebook), Defense keys St. Cloud surge (WCHA notebook)
Goon's World: Weekend Match-ups (Sioux 7)

HatchetJoe says . . .
HatchetJoe must be sleeping in today . . . perhaps we'll hear from him later?



BADGER WOMEN @ OSU: FRI 6 PM / SAT 2 PM

Gameday Links

No. 10 Wisconsin (14-9-3, 11-8-1) vs. Ohio State (12-10-4, 9-9-2)

Dates

Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:07 p.m. ET | Saturday, Jan. 30 at 3:07 p.m. ET

Location

Madison, Wis. | Kohl Center

Game 1

Buckeye Vision | Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio | Livestats

Game 2

USCHO.com | Livestats

Live Blog

UWBadgers.com

All-Time Series

Wisconsin leads 38-4-6


Thanks again to Jacqueline Boscacci!

Series Previews
uwbadgers: preview, game notes
ohiostatebuckeyes: preview, game notes
Erickson (Badger Herald): Badgers looking for success in Columbus
Evans (Daily Cardinal): Badgers in must-win territory as they travel to OSU

Other Articles/Links
uwbadgers: Prévost named WCHA Player of the Week
Hughes (Badger Herald): Deluce key to UW's offensive success

Some Extra Friday Reading Material









I never like to post over 60's "It's Friday, I'm in Love" because she does such a great job and it's such a valuable resource but I just wanted to give you some more reading material before the game starts tonight.

Yahoo! Sports has an NHL hockey blog called "Puck Daddy" and on Fridays Ryan Lambert (no relation to Adam that I know of) writes an NCAA Hockey column. If you are not familiar with the blog, every week he asks a college hockey blogger 5 questions and this week the Sixty Minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets. blog was featured. We feel very lucky to be featured on such a great blog like Puck Daddy so I figured I'd re-post my answers.

Thanks again to Ryan and go check out Puck Daddy, especially on Friday afternoons. Post a comment if you have anything additional you would add or if you think my answers suck.

1. How do you like the Badgers' chances to get to the Frozen Four this year as opposed to others? Is this team as good as the national title team a few years ago?

I've been telling everyone who will listen that this season is Frozen Four or bust for the Wisconsin program. The talent/experience level on this years team trumps every Badger team of the Eaves era with the exception of the ‘06 championship team. The "X" factor that separates the two teams is goaltending, and we all know the ‘06 team had Hobey finalist Brian Elliott(notes). The current Badgers will only go as far as goaltenders Brett Bennett and Scott Gudmandson will take them, and they have been pretty solid so far.

2. What's the feeling now that Duluth is breathing down everybody's necks?

It's really no surprise in my opinion. Everyone knew coming into the season that they would be able to put up points with Connolly, Connolly and Fontaine. It was really just a question how they could handle the loss of Stalock in net. This is one of the closest races in the history of the WCHA and there is no doubt that Duluth is going to be in it right to the end.

3. The Badgers have lost just once since the start of December. What's the key to keep them rolling like this?

There is no question about it: keep scoring goals. This isn't your usual Mike Eaves boring, trap-style hockey team. The Badgers are second in the nation in scoring this season. When Wisconsin scores three goals or more it's 14-1-2. When they score two or fewer they are 0-5-2. The top six forwards need to continue playing like the elite scoring forwards they are. If our bottom two lines can play even hockey plus/minus wise, we're going to have chance to beat any team in the nation on any night.

4. Is there any concern for next season given the reports about Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh potentially leaving school at the end of the year?

It's really the nature of the beast when recruiting players like McDonagh and Stepan that there are going to be rumors of them leaving. I think it's been a gift that we've had McDonagh in the program for three years and no one expects him back for another season so the recent rumors are no surprise. Stepan has been quoted on two radio shows, and in two different newspaper reports to be staying for next season so I would hope that issue is dead.

5. What has been the most pleasant surprise for the Badgers this year? What about biggest disappointment?

I think the most pleasant surprise would probably be a tie between the play of the goaltending tandem of Bennett and Gudmandson as well as the play of the two freshmen defensemen John Ramage and Justin Schultz. There is no question that the biggest disappointment has been senior forward John Mitchell(notes). Mitchell almost signed a free agent NHL deal in the summer is on pace for only 16 points after a 26 point season as a junior. The Badgers are going to need his scoring touch down the stretch if they want to make noise in the NCAA's.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hockeys Future NCAA Prospects Update

Hockey's Future is doing a series of updates on NHL teams college hockey prospects. Hockey's Future is one of the best resources on the net for following NHL prospects. We're still waiting on the profiles for five other players. When they become available we'll post them as well.

Cody Goloubef:

Chris Roberts has recently profiled the Columbus Blue Jackets who own the rights of Badgers Junior defenseman Cody Goloubef.

"Known primarily as a quiet defenseman possessing a sound defensive game in his first two seasons of collegiate hockey, Goloubef has been involving himself on the offensive side of the ice more frequently this season. He recorded a career high of 13 points in 36 games last season, and in just 22 games this season he’s almost matched that total with 12 points. His ability to move the puck up the ice and jump in on the rush has improved, and he already has a career high in assists with nine.

Goloubef is seeing top minutes on defense on a team that boasts a trio of first round picks on the blue line in Brendan Smith (DET), Ryan McDonagh (NYR) and Jake Gardiner (ANA). Add in John Ramage, an important piece to the United States’ blue line at the WJC, and Goloubef has been an important part of one of the top defense corps in the nation. He is currently tied for the team lead with a +16 rating as his defensive game continues to flourish as well."

Jake Gardiner:

Kyle Kujawa has recently profiled the Anaheim Ducks who own the rights of Badgers Sophomore defenseman Jake Gardiner and freshman defenseman Justin Schultz.

"After a promising rookie season, Gardiner’s game has taken a step back this season. He’s produced only three points in 20 games on the season after 21 as a freshman. A big part of the lack of production has to do with Gardiner being slotted into more of a defensive role. Brendan Smith (DET) receives most of the power-play minutes, so Gardiner is focused more on the defensive end of the ice.

The smooth-skating defenseman will likely step into that role if Smith turns professional after the season, as expected. From a development standpoint, it’s a move that could pay off for Gardiner, as he converted to defense from forward while in high school.

Gardiner won gold at the World Junior Championship with the United States. Gardiner started the tournament as one of the three defensemen rotated in and out of the last pairing, but gradually earned more ice time as the tournament progressed. His +9 rating was tied for the best on the team. He also added three assists in seven games."

Justin Schultz:

"One of the more pleasant surprises in the system is the play of the Schultz. Playing on a Wisconsin defense that is one of the deepest in the country, Schultz has been able to step in as a freshman and make a contribution. He’s put up nine points in 22 games so far, even logging some power-play minutes.

Schultz is a superb skater who excels at moving the puck. So far his defensive play has been acceptable. He still needs to put on considerable weight until he turns pro, as he’s still listed at 185, though he doesn’t look it. The former second-round pick has a lot of time to work on that though, and he’s in a system that has produced a few very good offensive defensemen in recent years."

Brett Bennett:

Andrew Sykes has recently profiled the Phoenix Coyotes who own the rights of Badgers Junior goaltender Brett Bennett.

"Bennett, a fifth-round pick in 2006, has gotten off to a nice start with the Wisconsin Badgers. After starting his college career at Boston University, Bennett decided to leave the school and play a year in the USHL before returning to the collegiate level. That decision has turned out to be a good one as Bennett has been solid in goal for the fourth-ranked Badgers. The 21-year-old has appeared in nine games, posting a 6-3 record with a solid 2.12 goals against average and a save percentage of .904. Bennett has split the goaltending duties with fellow junior Scott Gudmandson and that formula has worked well all season, and has the Badgers very much in the mix for the national title."

Blake Geoffrion:

Connor Jennings has recently profiled the Nashville Predators who own the rights of Badgers Senior forward Blake Geoffrion and Freshman forward Craig Smith.

"Geoffrion is a tri-captain at the University of Wisconsin. The 21-year-old is a strong two-way winger with professional physical attributes.

The senior has progressed in the goal column every year at Wisconsin, and has continued that trend this season. Geoffrion leads the team with 15 goals, and has 21 points in 21 games, which is good for fourth on the team. He has also shown great ability on the power play, with nine of his goals coming when up a man. Geoffrion projects as a second or third-line forward."

Craig Smith:

"Smith has been having a solid season as a freshman for the Badgers. He has not shown much of a scoring touch, but has flashed significant playmaking ability in his short time with Wisconsin.

The fourth-round pick has 3 goals and 14 assists in 20 games. Smith is fifth on the team in scoring, only four points behind Geoffrion. The 20-year-old has a long time to develop, but could be a potential top-six forward in the NHL."

Get To Know Your Badgers: Seniors

Interesting tidbits about your favorite Badgers. We'll start with the senior class. Information in this post borrowed from the Mens Hockey Fact Book which is a very valuable resource.

Aaron Bendickson:
Played for four junior hockey teams before enrolling at Wisconsin. Bismark (NAHL), and Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Indiana (USHL). ) Played high school hockey in Thief River Falls home of the book "River of Champions." (Ok...that wasn't in the fact book but I really like that book so I had to add it in)

Andy Bohmbach: Father and brother played college baseball at Minnesota State and sister played softball at Augsburg. Went bar down on a break away in the 2004 Wisconsin state championship. His Hudson Raiders won the championship 2-0 even though former Badger Davis Drewiske's brother Jake was ejected 5 minutes into the game.

Michael Davies: Was the NAHL rookie of the year in 2004-2005 when he recorded 57 points in 56 games. Was second team All-USHL in 2005-2006 when he finished third in the league in scoring with an insaine 71 points for the Lincoln Stars.

Blake Geoffrion: Sophomore year was named Fenton Kelsey, Jr., Most Competitive, as voted on by his teammates. Played at the Culver Military Academy where Ryan Suter played before playing at the National team Development Program, where Suter also played.

Ben Grotting: First Badger ever to win a letter from the state of Alabama. Played for Mike Eaves brother at Shattuck. Father played college soccer in Minnesota at St. Olaf.

John Mitchell: Played tennis, hockey, soccer, football, and volleyball at Neenah, High School. Also can dunk a basketball. Won Otto Breitenbach Most Improved Player
Award as voted on by his teammates during his sophomore season.

Ben Street: Only Badger not to record a penalty during the NCAA Championship season of 05/06. First ever player to play for Badgers from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. First Badger from the BCHL since Rob Vega.

Camp Randall Setup Pictures

Here are some photos of Camp Randall over the past three days. These came from the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic Facebook page. It looks like they are going to have picture updates virtually every day which is awesome. They also have pics up of an outdoor practice the Badgers had in preparation for the game at Camp Randall.

Click on image to enlarge





























Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weekend Lineup Set

According to an Andy Baggot blog update tonight, it looks like Aaron Bendickson is going to be ok from his Tuesday scooter crash and will be in the lineup for this weekends huge series at the DECC.

There have been some minor changes to the lines that Wisconsin will take up to Duluth this weekend. The top two lines stay the same from Saturday but the third and fourth lines have been shaken up slightly. Andy Bohmbach and Ben Grotting have traded places in what is in my opinion, the correct move. Somehow, Patrick Johnson is still in the lineup.

Jordy Murray-Blake Geoffrion-Craig Smith
Ben Street-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
Andy Bohbmach-Aaron Bendickson-John Mitchell
Ben Grotting-Sean Dolan-Patrick Johnson

Extra forward making trip: Matt Thurber

Ryan McDonagh-Jake Gardiner
Brendan Smith-John Ramage
Cody Goloubef-Justin Schultz

Extra defenseman makin trip: Craig Johnson

Goaltenders will be decided after Wisconsin travels to Duluth.

Projected Duluth lineup from Kevin Pates:

Mike Connolly-Jack Connolly-Justin Fontaine
Rob Bordson-Travis Oleksuk-Mike Seidel
Jordan Fulton-Drew Akins-David Grun
Cody Danberg-Dan DeLisle-Jake Hendrickson

Dylan Olsen-Mike Montgomery
Wade Bergman-Brady Lamb
Scott Kishel-Chad Huttel

Again, thanks to Andy Baggot and Kevin Pates for blog updates with the lineups.

Wisconsins's Hobey Baker Chances












As the season progresses, the more and more talk there will be about the prospective 2010 Hobey Baker candidates. In my opinion the Hobey is a bit harder to judge than it's counterpart the Heisman trophy. The lack of television and publicity in the sport makes voting a very in-exact science.

Outstanding college hockey writer Elliot Olshansky has a piece out briefly identifying some of the favorites to contend for this seasons Hobey Baker. His focus in the piece is how many of the candidates are also flanked by another candidate from their own team.

Olshansky spends a good amount of time in the article talking about the chances a Wisconsin Badger could win the award.
"Perhaps the only easy group to pick a player out of is the crew from Wiscsonsin. Yes, (Derek) Stepan has been on a roll since returning from the World Junior Championship, with seven points in four games, to say nothing of (Michael) Davies, whose seven-game point streak has seen him score six goals and notch nine assists. (Brendan) Smith, however, remains the most remarkable of the bunch. His 1.30 points per game average is just a hair off of Matt Carle’s 1.36 clip during his Hobey Baker season, and that was accomplished on a team that didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Think Smith can make a run at the Hobey on a team that’s currently No. 2 in the nation? Also, he’s the only of the Badgers’ potential Hobey candidates whose goal total wouldn’t be an issue."
So basically Olshansky has identified Brendan Smith, Derek Stepan, and Michael Davies as the three Badger candidates for the Hobey, with Smith having the best shot out of the bunch.

I don't necessarily have a problem with the players he has identified, but to name those three and leave off senior captain Blake Geoffrion is a severe injustice in my humble opinion. Geoffrion is not far off of the other three in point totals and he has the added duties of being the leader of the number two team in the country. He is also third in the country in goals scored.

I think the biggest thing that makes me shake my head is the fact that national media outlets are pegging Brendan Smith as one of, if not the favorite to win the award. Inside College Hockey last week released their first installment of the Hobey Tracker and list Smith as one of the top 3 current candidates. Olshansky pegged Smith as his favorite to win the award, "Overall, while his scoring has faded a tad in recent weeks, Smith has the look of a Hobey winner more than anyone else in the race at the moment."

Really? The problem I have is that Smith is not the best player at his position on his own team, let alone the top player in the entire country. And this is no knock on Smith. He absolutely deserves the recognition and deserves to be talked about in the race, but Ryan McDonagh is a much more sound hockey player at this point. And that is the current problem with the Hobey Baker. Columnists and voters simply base voting on point totals without ever seeing a player play.

To be honest, I don't see any Badger winning the award this season. We have four outstanding candidates but we don't have the one outstanding player like we did when Elliott and Reinprecht were finalists. But I think if you ask any of the players I've mentioned, they would all agree that the goal is the National Title, not the Hobey Baker. The gentlemen that we have in our locker room have their eyes on the real prize.

Wednesday Morning Link Central

I guess I'll start off with the bad news first. Senior forward Aaron Bendickson was injured in a scooter crash on Tuesday morning. According to Andy Baggot, "Eaves said Bendickson felt better as the day progressed, but aggravated a previous injury during the incident and his status for a WCHA series at Minnesota-Duluth Friday and Saturday is uncertain."

With Bendickson unable to practice Tuesday. Eaves changed up the third and fourth lines for practice. I kind of like the new lines actually.

Murray-Geoffrion-Smith
Street-Stepan-Davies
Bohmbach-Thurber-Mitchell
Johnson-Dolan-Grotting

Junior defenseman Brendan Smith was held out of contract drills for precautionary reasons after the hit he took on Friday night that looked brutal. He will be available this weekend, and Eaves is "hopeful" on Bendickson.
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I posted this yesterday as well but deal with it anyways.

In an effort to become as user friendly as possible, the Sixty Minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets. blog has taken the next step and gotten a twitter account. I'm fairly new to the twitter scene so you'll have to bear with me in this experimental phase.

I'm not sure exactly what we're going to use the account for but it will be nice to get information out without having to make a full blog post every time. It will also be nice to post things on twitter from the blackberry since it's virtually impossible to do a blog post that way. We may experiment with game updates but we'll make sure we let you know here before we do it there.
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You may have saw this link in the comment section yesterday, but if you didn't, you can check it out now. Dillon Simpson, the top defensive recruit for the 2011 season has verbally committed to the University of North Dakota. He was most likely the top 1993 born player available period.

Simpson chose the Fighting Sioux over Wisconsin, Denver, and Michigan State where his dad Craig played college before a 10 year NHL career.

It will be interesting to see when he arrives in Grand Forks. Grand Forks Herald beat writer Brad Elliott Schlosshman noted that Simpson has accelerated his studies so he will be available for the 2010 season. UND currently rosters 8 defensemen and only graduate one blueliner, Chay Genoway (who might apply for a medical redshirt). North Dakota also has two recruits who have signed for next season, prospective first round draft pick Derek Forbort, and Nick Mattson.
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Tuesday was day two in the set up process for the rink that will be played on during the Culvers Camp Randall Classic. "On the second day, the ice mat was laid down as the finishing touches were made to the platform the rink will go on."

Also, not sure if you are aware but there is a live web cam at all times of the the rink at Camp Randall. This is the first time I've viewed it and it's currently dark out so I'm not sure of the quality but it's definitely something to look into.
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If you paid attention to ExileOnDaytonStreet's Alumni update Monday night, you would know that former Badger goaltender Brian Elliott has been playing great as of late. If not, shame on you.

Elliott continued the trend last night with a shutout victory over the New Jersey Devils in the seventh consecutive win for the Ottawa Senators.

From the TSN game recap, "Elliott, recently named the NHL's first star of the week, won his fifth consecutive start. He wasn't tested often, but managed to come up big when needed en route to his third shutout of the season."
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Wisconsin senior forward Michael Davies has been named the WCHA Player of the Week for his performance last weekend in a tie and a win for the Badgers over top ranked Denver at the Kohl Center.

The St. Louis native continued his red hot stretch of play with a goal and an assist both Friday and Saturday night when the Badgers recorded 3 huge WCHA points. Davies has 24 points in his last 12 games.
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TSN analyst Bob McKenzie has released his mid-season top 30 prospects for the 2010 NHL draft. McKenzie is pretty highly respected in the hockey community and it looks like a pretty good list.

NCAA prospects of note:

#13-Riley Sheahan-Notre Dame (Freshman)
#14-Nick Bjugstad-Blaine High School (Minnesota recruit)
#18-Derek Forbort-USNTDP (North Dakota recruit)
#20-Tyler Pitlick-Minnesota State Mankato (Freshman)
#21-Jarred Tinordi-USNTDP (Notre Dame recruit)
#25-Brock Nelson-Warroad High School (North Dakota recruit)
#29-Jaden Schwartz-Tri-City USHL (Colorado College recruit)
HM-Charlie Coyle-South Shore EJHL (Boston University recruit)
HM-Kevin Hayes-Nobles Prep (Boston College recruit)
HM-Stephen Johns-USNTDP (Notre Dame Recruit)
HM-Jonathan Merrill-USNTDP (Michigan Recruit)
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I posted this on our twitter yesterday afternoon but It's worth a link here as well. Senior captain Blake Geoffrion has been featured in Bruce Ciskie's latest NHL Fanhouse article.

"Where Geoffrion has developed nicely -- besides his leadership -- is as a goal-scoring threat. He is a solid power forward, unafraid of the tough areas and very good with the puck around the net."

Ciskie is the UMD Radio announcer and also a very reputable college hockey writer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Adam Burish Takes Guitar Lessons



Thanks to CSNChicago.com for the video.

Recruiting: Tyler Barnes Scores In USHL All-Star Game

Tonight the Indiana Ice hosted the annual USHL All-Star game at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana. Waterloo Black Hawk and future Badger forward Tyler Barnes was selected for the event for the first time.

The two teams competing in the event represent the USHL's East and West Divisions, with each roster consisting of 21 players - six defenseman, 13 forwards, and two goaltenders. With the growth of the USHL to 14 Member Clubs this season, All-Star rosters were set at 21 to accommodate the increasing talent pool in the League.

"As one of the USHL's premiere events, the All-Star Game is a much-anticipated event not only for our fans, but the hundreds of NHL and college scouts who regularly recruit our young stars," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "Congratulations to all of those chosen – you're the best of the best."

Barnes, a 6'0 180 lb forward, scored at the 7:16 mark of the third period to give Team CCM a 4-3 lead. Team RBK would later tie it, but Team CCM prevailed in overtime for a thrilling 5-4 victory. Barnes, who played his high school hockey for Burnsville, is a 2010 recruit for Wisconsin.

The state of Wisconsin was also very well represented at the All-Star game. Forwards Nate Condon (committed to Minnesota) from Wausau, Brock Montpetit (committed to Nebraska-Omaha) from Somerset, Jeff Costello (committed to Notre Dame) from Milwaukee, and goaltender Troy Grosenick from Brookfield were selected to play in the event.

Tuesday Morning Link Central

In an effort to become as user friendly as possible, the Sixty Minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets. blog has taken the next step and gotten a twitter account. I'm fairly new to the twitter scene so you'll have to bear with me in this experimental phase.

I'm not sure exactly what we're going to use the account for but it will be nice to get information out without having to make a full blog post every time. It will also be nice to post things on twitter from the blackberry since it's virtually impossible to do a blog post that way. We may experiment with game updates but we'll make sure we let you know here before we do it there.
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On the recruiting front, Wisconsin native Garrett Allen seems to be a name picking up steam lately. He's been playing very well for Fargo (USHL) with 27 points through 36 games. Allen, a 1992 born forward has previously played For the Wisconsin AAA program, The Milwaukee JR. Admirals, and Team Illinois.

Allen, a Delafield, WI native has been talked about on this site before. He's known to have family ties to the Colorado schools (CC and Denver). Being an elite player from Wisconsin, you know that he's on Eaves radar as well. I've also heard recent talk about an offer from another elite WCHA program as well but that hasn't been confirmed.

I would expect Allen to probably end up making a commitment before the end of the hockey season. Being that he's currently a senior in high school, Allen (most likely) will end up being a 2011 forward recruit.

As it looks right now, we have six forwards lined up to replace seven forwards in 2010, and four forward commitments lined up to replace four forwards for 2011 (Yes I'm counting Stepan). Not taking into account the possibility of a transfer or early departure we more than have room for Allen in the 2011 class.

Cue the ensuing Baggot article. Just kidding. But seriously.
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Ok, so i made fun of Baggot, I better link something good that he did. He has a nice article up today on former Badger womens goaltender and 2009 Patty Kaz winner Jessie Vetter.

By the sound of it, Vetter got a sick sendoff in her former town of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin on Monday. Vetter is a member of the current womens Olympic hockey team that will be skating at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
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I should probably start doing this more but if your looking for some more coverage of this weekends Wisconsin series with Duluth you can check out these sites:

Runnin' With The Dogs
The Ciskie Blog (Bruce Ciskie, former? UMD radio announcer)
Rink & Run (Kevin Pates, UMD beat writer)
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The Monday polls came out as usual. Wisconsin is ranked number two in both national media polls. But we all know polls don't matter. If you read Bracketology on Sunday night, you know that Wisconsin is still third in the Pairwise Ranking.
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I don't think I've been giving this my due diligence, but former Wisconsin beat writer Todd Milewski is doing awesome work over on USCHO to keep his hockey fix intact. He had a great article up on Saturday night after the game talking about the atmosphere this weekend.

I really like the stuff that Milewski puts out there and it's still sad that he was forced into a new role.

Robbie Earl Wild Pictures

With ExileOnDaytonStreet's recent alumni update, I just had to include a couple of recent Robbie Earl photo's from the Minnesota Wild Skills competition.

Photo credit to outstanding up and coming photographer Brace Hemmelgarn.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Alumni Updates

Robbie Earl:

Ever since not getting picked up off waivers (more on that in a bit), Earl has made the most of his limited ice time. Two goals in two games has been drawing some raves from west of the St. Croix. This is especially notable considering that he's getting less than nine minutes of ice time (he got less than 7:00 against Detroit), and also considering that he's mostly playing on the fourth line. Not easy to score a goal when you spend most of the game paired with Andrew Ebbett and Derek "Good Lord, That Man Was Sired By A Moose" Boogaard. It definately seems like he's starting to find a groove that he was unable to get in Toronto. What once seemed like a career AHLer is finding ways to be a serviceable third and fourth liner.

In either case, he's getting some very favorable press in St. Paul. Wild beat writer Michael Russo had this to say:

And, 29 GM's should get fired today. These 29 men could have had Robbie Earl for jack squat Wednesday when he was on waivers. In the two games since, the former Wisconsin Badger's got two goals -- and now five in 15. I'm no math genius, but that puts him on pace for 27.33333333333333333 goals over an 82-game season.

He also brought speed, physicality and a helped draw a double minor from Derek Dorsett. The Wild's 9-0-1 the past 10 games Earl's in the lineup, and 10-3-2 overall when he plays. He's a difference maker!!!

Good work, Robbie!

Jamie McBain:

A nice little write-up on McB that I found on NHL.com.

Adam Burish:

Stumbled accross this NHL.com video linked on UrineSoakedHellholeNow.com of Adam Burish discussing, among other things, his timetable for returning to the Blackhawks. You can sense the restlessness, and there's something about that that seems like vintage Burish to me:



Dany Heatley and Joe Pavelski continue to set the world on fire in San Jose. I don't need links or stats. It's just a fact.

Bernd Bruckler:

This is a poorly translated link ("is Andre Lakos some time no longer in the squad by a tractor." Zuh???), but evidently Bernd's been battling an ACL injury, although Torpedo is still in the playoff hunt in the KHL. Speedy recovery, Bernd!

Brian Elliott:

One of the greatest Badger goalies of all time had one of the greatest weeks of his professional career last week, winning four games in four starts- a streak that included a stretch of three games in four days. It was enough to earn the NHL First Star of the week last week.

He was lights out with a .957 SV%, 1.26 GAA and allowing only 5 goals. I caught the end of an interview with Els on Hockey Central, and so far I haven't seen it on Versus.com or on Youtube. I'll keep an eye out for it, but in the meantime, here's a WTF save Elliott made against Marian Hossa after the puck took a WTF bounce off the endboards:

2/3 Point In the Season All WCHA Teams

Put together my All WCHA teams at the 2/3 mark into the season. We've played 18 out of 28 conference games in now so we have a pretty good idea at this point in the season. Obviously things are going to change but I figured this would be fun to get some opinions on.

First Team All WCHA:

F-Justin Fontaine-Minnesota Duluth
F-Rhett Rakhshani-Denver
F-Jack Connolly-Minnesota Duluth
D-Brendan Smith-Wisconsin
D-Ryan McDonagh-Wisconsin
G-Marc Cheverie-Denver

Second Team All WCHA:

F-Blake Geoffrion-Wisconsin
F-Mike Connolly-Minnesota Duluth
F-Michael Davies-Wisconsin
D-Garrett Raboin-St. Cloud State
D-Patrick Wiercoich-Denver
G-Dan Dunn-St. Cloud State

Third Team All WCHA:

F-Derek Stepan-Wisconsin
F-Rob Bordson-Minnesota Duluth
F-Brett Olson-Michigan Tech
D-Gabe Guentzel-Colorado College
D-Nate Prosser-Colorado College
G-Alex Kangas-Minnesota

All Freshman Team:

F-Craig Smith-Wisconsin
F-Danny Kristo-North Dakota
F-Rylan Schwartz-Colorado College
D-Matt Donovan-Denver
D-Steven Seigo-Michigan Tech
G-Mike Lee-St. Cloud State

Player of the year: Marc Cheverie-Denver
Defenseman of the year: Brendan Smith-Wisconsin
Rookie of the year: Craig Smith-Wisconsin

Recruiting: Stats Update

Recruiting statistics have been updated. You can always find them at this location. There is also always a link on this blog on the left side bar.

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, tips, opinions, whatever...feel free to e-mail me at chuckschwartz@live.com at any time.





Click on image to enlarge.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

NCAA Bracketology

With only six weekends of regular season hockey left, it's officially time to start watching the all important Pairwise Rankings on a regular basis.

What did the important 3 point weekend against Denver do in terms of the Pairwise? Well...absolutely nothing, yet. We are still ranked third with Denver ahead of us tied for first.

The games against Denver could end up being big for us though as the Pairwise continues to shift as the season goes on. Denver currently has a 3-1 comparison victory over us. They get points for higher RPI, better record against common opponents, and better record vs teams under consideration. We get a point for head to head. We can flip the comparison against Denver if our RPI goes higher than Denver's. We would each have two points and the tie breaker is RPI. So If we want to pass Denver the head to head point we won this weekend is pretty important. If we play Denver at the Final Five there is a decent chance that single game could be for the number 1 seed in St. Paul.

I don't see us flipping the comparison with Miami for the number 1 overall seed. They have a 3-0 advantage over us and we don't play them head to head. Improving our RPI and beating St. Cloud and Michigan would go a long ways in improving our chances of flipping the Miami comparison.

Here is the NCAA bracket if the season ended today.

Albany     Worcester  Fort Wayne  St. Paul
Wisconsin Bemidji Miami Denver
UMass St Cloud UNH UMD
UND BC Ferris Vermont
Mich St CC AHA Champ Cornell

Step 1: Pick the 16 Tournament teams

1. Miami
2. Denver
3. Wisconsin
4. Bemidji State
5. St. Cloud
6. UMASS
7. Duluth
8. New Hampshire
9. Ferris State
10. North Dakota
11. Vermont
12. Boston College
13. Michigan State
14. Colorado College
15. Cornell
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion

Step 2: Assign the Seeds

No. 1 seeds: Miami, Denver, Wisconsin, Bemidji
No. 2 seeds: St. Cloud, UMASS, Duluth, New Hampshire
No. 3 seeds: Ferris State, North Dakota, Vermont, Boston College
No. 4 seeds: Michigan State, Colorado College, Cornell, Atlantic Hockey Champion

Step 3: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

Number 1 seeds are placed based on proximity to regional site.

No. 1 Miami is placed in the Mid-West regional in Fort Wayne
No. 2 Denver is placed in the West regional in St. Paul
No. 3 Wisconsin is placed in the East regional in Albany
No. 4 Bemidji is placed in Northeast regional in Worchester

Step 4: Place the other 12 teams avoiding intra-conference matchups if possible

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding.

If this is the case, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships are played by No. 1 v. No. 8, No. 2 v. No. 7, No. 3 v. No. 6 and No. 4 v. No. 5.

Number 2 Seeds:

No. 8 New Hampshire is placed in No. 1 Miami's Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Duluth is placed in No. 2 Denver's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 UMASS is placed in No. 3 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 St. Cloud is placed in No. 4 Bemidji's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Number 3 Seeds:

Our bracketing system has one Regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16, another with 2, 7, 10, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.No. 9 Ferris State is placed in No. 8 New Hampshire's Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 North Dakota is placed in No. 7 Duluth's, the West Regional.
No. 11 Vermont is placed in No. 6 UMASS's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Boston College is placed in No. 5 St. Cloud's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Number 4 seeds:

One more time, taking No. 16 v. No. 1, No. 15 v. No. 2, etc.

No. 16 Atlantic Hockey Winner is sent to No. 1 Miami's Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Cornell is sent to No. 2 Denver's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Colorado College is sent to No. 3 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Michigan State is sent to No. 4 Bemidji's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Our Bracket as we have it set up:

Midwest Regional:

1 Miami vs 16 Atlantic Hockey winner
8 New Hampshire vs 9 Ferris State

West Regional:

2 Denver vs 15 Cornell
7 Duluth vs 10 North Dakota

East Regional:

3 Wisconsin vs 14 Colorado College
6 UMASS vs 11 Vermont

Northeast Regional:

4 Bemidji vs 13 Michigan State
5 St. Cloud vs 12 Boston College

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round matchups. We have three, Wisconsin vs Colorado College, Duluth vs North Dakota and Vermont vs UMASS. We switch Colorado College with Michigan State and we switch Vermont and North Dakota.

So our final tournament now is:

Midwest Regional:

1 Miami vs 16 Atlantic Hockey winner
8 New Hampshire vs 9 Ferris State

West Regional:

2 Denver vs 15 Cornell
7 Duluth vs 11 Vermont

East Regional:

3 Wisconsin vs 13 Michigan State
6 UMASS vs 10 North Dakota

Northeast Regional:

4 Bemidji vs 14 Colorado College
5 St. Cloud vs 12 Boston College

Looks good to me.

Thanks to USCHO's Jason Moy. I followed his system that he has used in prior Bracketology articles on USCHO.com

Badgers Win, Davies Reaches 100 Point Plateau

Let me preface this post by stating that I was away last night and was not able to catch the game so this recap is strictly going off game recaps and the box score.

First and foremost, the most important news of the night, apparently Brendan Smith was healthy enough to play last night. He was in the lineup and from the post game articles I've read, the injury wasn't an issue last night as he wasn't even mentioned. Smith is going to be a key cog not only defensively but on the PP down the stretch for the Badgers so we need him healthy for the stretch run.

Second, I think I like that Eaves went to Brett Bennett in goal last night. While I would like to see us find a go to goaltender down the stretch, we need both goaltenders sharp right now because we're only going to go as far as they will take us. It sounds as if Bennett played well enough to get back into the Friday/Saturday rotation again.

Congratulations to Michael Davies on his 100th career point as a Badger. It's obviously no secret that I love the way the kid plays the game and he has been unbelievable this season and especially over the past 12 games. In that stretch, the senior forward from St. Louis has recorded an absurd 24 points.

I really hope that the Badgers players aren't reading their press clippings thinking that they are all of a sudden a great hockey team. While we've had success, we've also had failure including this weekend. It was a big three points but we still have a lot of work to do. It's only January and there are lots of games to be played. The current goal should be a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Box Score courtesy of collegehockeystats.net

First Period:
15:47-WIS-Ben Street (Michael Davies, Ryan McDonagh)

Second Period:
2:32-DEN-Matt Donovan (Rhett Rakhshani, Anthony Maiani)
2:55-WIS-Craig Smith (Blake Geoffrion, Jordy Murray)
6:25-WIS-Jordy Murray (Craig Smith, Blake Geoffrion)
13:43-DEN-Rhett Rakhshani (Matt Donovan)

Third Period:
6:36-DEN-Tyler Ruegsegger (Matt Donovan, Joe Colborne)
13:30-WIS-Michael Davies (Justin Schultz, Derek Stepan)


Photo by RedHeat15

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Should Eaves Go Back To Gudmandson Tonight?

I haven't gotten an opportunity to see the lineup tonight so if it has already been released somewhere pardon my ignorance. I am looking for some input from readers on whether or not Eaves should go back to Gudmandson tonight in net for the Badgers.

Gudmandson is having a nice season for the Badgers but so has Brett Bennett. When Bennett got hurt a few weeks ago Goody played really well in back to back games at North Dakota. But last weekend, Eaves gave Gudmandson an opportunity to seize the starting position by starting him both nights and on Saturday he didn't play as well. Granted the team didn't give him much help.

I'm torn on the issue because I think Brett Bennett needs some action as he's only played in one game, the exhibition vs the U18 team in like a month. But I also feel like the Badgers need to find one starting goaltender to go to down the stretch eventually.

So what do you guys think? Gudmandson played well enough last night to probably get the start tonight but does Bennett need action too?

Photo by RedHeat15

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Recap: Badgers Tie Pioneers 3-3

The weekend that everyone had been waiting for is finally here. The anticipation of the number 1 team in the nation, the Denver Pioneers coming to town to take on the number 3 team in the nation, the Wisconsin Badgers was almost too much to handle this week.

The Friday game did nothing to disappoint. In a hard fought WCHA conference battle, the Badgers and Pioneers battled to a 3-3 tie in front of over 12,000 fans at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers controlled much of the early action but it was the Pioneers who were able strike first. At the 16:38 mark Boston Bruins first round draft pick Joe Colbourne went bar down on a beautiful shot on the power play. Matt Donovan and Drew Shore collected assists on the play.

After no scoring in the second period, there was a fury of activity in the third. Denver took a 2-0 lead early in the period with a goal by Kyle Ostrow only 1:56 into the period. With the outstanding play of Denver goalie Marc Cheverie it wasn't looking good for the Badgers.

Badger captain Blake Geoffrion got the Badger scoring started when he re-directed a Michael Davies shot on the power play two and a half minutes after the Ostrow goal. Less than three minutes later the Badgers struck again to tie the game. Michael Davies found himself all alone on the side of the net with a wide open look and buried the puck. It was Davies 22nd point in his last 11 games and his 99th career point as a Badger.

With all the momentum on their side, the Badgers took a 3-2 lead a minute and a half later. Jordy Murray made a nice move down the left side boards and found a streaking Blake Geoffrion who redirected the puck in the net for his second goal of the night.

The Poineers would not go quietly. Fighting tooth and nail right down to the wire, the Pio's got the game tying goal from Anthony Maiani with just under two minutes to play in the game.

With the game tied at 3-3, Wisconsin called timeout with :04 seconds to play in the game. On the faceoff, Ben Street kicked the puck to Cody Gouloubef in front of the net but he found iron with :01 to play.

In overtime, both teams had multiple opportunities to end the game but it just wasn't meant to be. The game finished as a hard fought 3-3 tie.

Both goaltenders played outstanding all night and kept their respective teams in the game. Saturday night is going to be one hell of a battle.

Notes: Brendan Smith left the game in the third period with an apparent elbow injury. He looked to be in serious pain. I'll give up an update when I hear official word, but it doesn't look good for the Junior defenseman. It's too bad, Smith was the leading scorer on the team with 30 points in 22 games for Bucky.

Friday Night Three Stars:

First Star-Blake Geoffrion-UW (2 Goals)
Second Star-Marc Cheverie-Denver (32 Saves)
Third Star(s)-Michael Davies-UW (G, A), Anthony Miani-DU (Clutch GTG, A)

Photo by RedHeat15