Sunday, January 2, 2011

Badgers handle business, Sweep Minutemen

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. It wasn't pretty for the Badgers on Friday night in a 4-2 victory over the University of Massachusetts, but it was good enough to get the sweep. 3 of the 4 Wisconsin goals were scored on deflections off of UMass players.

The Friday night win is Wisconsin's fifth consecutive victory. The streak started on a Saturday night win at Alaska Anchorage. Senior center Podge Turnbull scored his eighth goal of the season and fifth goal in the past four games. Wisconsin is 7-0 in games that Turnbull scores a goal.

The Badgers got down early on a power play goal by Daniel Hobbs but the Badgers didn't stray from the game plan battling hard to match UMass's intensity. The Minutemen would take a 1-0 lead into the break and in a crazy situation, the UMass starting goalie Dainton, and Wisconsin forward Mark Zengerle would end up getting tossed from the game.

"The end of the first period was kind of a mess and we didn’t know what was going on until we came out of the locker room. We found out we lost one of our leading goal scorers and they lost their goaltender. It was a bizarre night," said Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves.

The Badgers would fight back to tie the game, and take the lead in the second period. Craig Smith and Podge Turnbull would score only :33 seconds apart to give the Badgers a 2-1 advantage. Freshman forward Michael Mersch would get credit for the primary assist on both goals.

Wisconsin would extend their lead in the third period with a goal by Jorday Murray mere minutes in to the period. The Badgers made it 4-1 later in the stanza on the penalty kill when Patrick Johnson found Ryan Little who deposited the puck in the net for a short handed goal.

Chase Langeraap would pull UMass within 2 late in the third period but it was a case of too little too late for the Minutemen.

Senior goalie Scott Gudmandson started once again in goal for Wisconsin and stopped 26 of 28 shots. Friday night was Gudmandson's seventh straight start. Gudmandson is 6-1 during that stretch with a 1.29 GAA and a .946 save percentage.

A few weeks ago when talking to the local scribes about Wisconsin's upcoming schedule of games head coach Mike Eaves talked about the need to bank some victories over some lesser opponents or as Eaves stated it, "put some hay in the barn." Wisconsin has done exactly that, going 5-1 against Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, and UMass.

The Badgers will have an opportunity next weekend to stockpile that hay as well when Canisius rolls into town. Wisconsin forward Jordy Murray is excited for the Badgers last non conference series of the season. “We know these non-conference games are huge, especially later in the season with RPI and ratings. Coming into these two weekends we knew we wanted to go 4-0 and we got that good start. Now we have to refocus for tomorrow and then Canisius.”
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