Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Morning Bracketology Week 12: 1/31/11

I'm back again for this weeks installment of Bracketology. The Badgers took all four points from the reeling Michigan Tech Huskies and maintained their position in the Pairwise. Wisconsin took a hit after Friday nights games and dropped to #8 but with Michigan's 2-1 loss to rival Michigan State we were able to flip our comparison in our favor with the Wolverines.

There was one bid lost by the WCHA this week. Nebraska-Omaha, which has been a projected tournament team for the past 11 weeks dropped out of the projections after dropping a game to Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday night. The problem with scheduling teams like Huntsville is that if you win they don't help you at all, but if you lose it can really hurt.

Colorado College is still sitting on the doorstep. Their win over North Dakota helped a little bit and they are at #18 in the PWR. The Tigers have series with Denver, UMD, and Wisconsin left so if they can manage to find some W's in there they have a great shot at getting a bid.

So this week we have 4 WCHA teams currently projected to get at large bids with Denver (2), North Dakota (3), Minnesota-Duluth (4), and Wisconsin (7). Then we have Nebraska-Omaha (17), CC (18), Minnesota (22), Minnesota State (26), St. Cloud (30) and Alaska-Anchorage (31) on the outside looking in.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Yale
2. North Dakota
3. Denver
4. Minnesota-Duluth
5. Boston College
6. RPI
7. Wisconsin
8. New Hampshire
9. Michigan
10. Merrimack
11. Western Michigan
12. Notre Dame
13. Union
14. Dartmouth
15. Boston University
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion (RIT)

Bubble Teams (in order): Princeton, Nebraska-Omaha, Colorado College, Maine, Miami

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, North Dakota, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth
No. 2 seeds: Boston College, RPI, Wisconsin, New Hampshire
No. 3 seeds: Michigan, Merrimack, Western Michigan, Note Dame
No. 4 seeds: Union, Dartmouth, Boston University, RIT

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

Right now we have two host schools in the tournament. New Hampshire is hosting the Northeast Regional in Manchester, and Yale is hosting the East Regional in Bridgeport. Therefore, UNH is placed as the #2 seed in Manchester and Yale is the #1 seed in Bridgeport.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

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

No. 1 Yale (Host) is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport
No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 3 Denver is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester

Step 5: 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 UNH (host) is placed in No. 4 UMD's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 7 Wisconsin is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 6 RPI is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 3 Denver's Regional, the West Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Michigan is placed No. 8 UNH's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 10 Merrimack is placed in No. 7 Wisconsin's regional, the East Regional
No. 11 Western Michigan is placed in No. 6 RPI's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 12 Notre Dame is placed in No. 5 Boston College's Regional, the West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 Union is placed in No. 4 UMD's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 14 Dartmouth is placed in No. 3 Denver's Regional, the West Regional
No. 15 BU is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 16 RIT is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional

Our bracket as we have it set up:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
7 Wisconsin vs 10 Merrimack

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Boston University
6 RPI vs 11 Western Michigan

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Minnesota-Duluth vs 13 Union
8 New Hampshire vs 9 Michigan

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 Denver vs 14 Dartmouth
5 Boston College vs 12 Notre Dame

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. This week we have none so we're good on that front.

What about attendance? As we all know $ is the almighty in the eyes of the NCAA so they will get creative when it comes to moving teams. The first easy switch is Wisconsin and RPI. #7 Wisconsin gets flipped with #6 RPI therefore moving Wisconsin to Green Bay and keeping RPI in the Northeast.

Anything else? The more I think about it, I have a feeling that UMD if they stay a #1 seed will find their way to Green Bay. Like I've mentioned in the past, in the eyes of the committee, a flight is a flight and any team that has to go over 400 miles has to fly. Therefore, looking at #1 seeds not counting Yale since they are a host school, both Denver and North Dakota have to fly to any regional they are placed in but UMD can bus to Green Bay.

So I'm going to put UMD in Green Bay, North Dakota since they are a higher seed than Denver will get the #1 seed in St. Louis, Denver goes to Manchester and Yale is still the host in Bridgeport.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
7 Wisconsin vs 10 Merrimack

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4 Minnesota-Duluth vs 13 Union
5 Boston College vs 12 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Denver vs 14 Dartmouth
8 New Hampshire vs 9 Michigan

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 North Dakota vs 15 Boston University
6 RPI vs 11 Western Michigan

Then to help attendance in Green Bay we flip Boston College and Wisconsin. We can't just flip the individual teams because that would create an intra-conference match up between BC and Merrimack and it would also create a pretty big difference in bracket integrity so we'll take the entire Wisconsin/Merrimack match up and flip it with Boston College/Notre Dame.

Now we have:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
5 Boston College vs 12 Notre Dame

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4 Minnesota-Duluth vs 13 Union
7 Wisconsin vs 10 Merrimack

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Denver vs 14 Dartmouth
8 New Hampshire vs 9 Michigan

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 North Dakota vs 15 Boston University
6 RPI vs 11 Western Michigan

That helps out attendance as we have Yale and BC in Bridgeport, Duluth and Wisconsin in Green Bay, New Hampshire and Dartmouth in Manchester, and North Dakota in St. Louis.

So that's what I'll go with for week 12. Check out USCHO.com later this week for Jayson Moy's version.

Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:
Week 1: #12 overall seed vs Michigan in Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
Week 2: First team out of the tournament, #16 in the PWR
Week 3: Falling further away from the tournament, #24 in the PWR
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR
Week 5: Still hovering in the bubble, dropped a spot to #19 in PWR
Week 6: Gaining some ground, moved up to #17 in the PWR
Week 7: Stalemate, still at #17 in the PWR on a bye week.
Week 8: Back in the game, #12 overall seed in Northeast Regional in Manchester
Week 9: Moving on up, to the east side. #9 overall seed in the East Regional.
Week 10a: All the way up to the #8 overall seed vs Maine in the East Regional.
Week 10b: With the PWR tweak we drop a spot. Now playing BC in Green Bay.
Week 11: Keep winning, keep moving up. #7 overall seed vs Western Mich in Green Bay.
Week 12: #7 overall seed once again. This week vs Merrimack in Green Bay.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Better effort leads to win, sweep over Michigan Tech

In what seemingly was a no win whatever happens weekend for Wisconsin, there were plenty of positives to take note of. Patrick Johnson had a huge game on Saturday with a goal and two assists as well as playing hard nosed hockey the entire weekend.

Mark Zengerle (19 games), Tyler Barnes (15), and Sean Dolan (14) all busted out of lengthy scoring droughts. Zengerle ended up scoring on back to back nights, don't be surprised if that trend continues. Justin Schultz had another ho-hum 3 point weekend and is still tied for fourth in the country in scoring.

Brett Bennett played well in goal on Saturday night. He's taken some (in my opinion) unwarranted criticism from fans this season. You go a month between every start and tell me how sharp you're going to be. So it was nice to see him play a solid 60 minutes.

The Badgers will get a well deserved weekend off before traveling to Nebraska-Omaha for Wisconsin's first ever conference games against the Mavericks.

WSJ (Baggot): Johnson leads Badgers in sweep of Michigan Tech
Daily Cardinal (Evans): No. 8 UW sweeps lowly Tech in weekend set
UWBadgers.com: Badgers complete the sweep, defeat Michigan Tech, 4-1
UWBadgers.com: Final Statistics
UWBadgers.com: Game Day Blog
UWBadgers.com: Photos
MichiganTechHuskies.com: Furne scores eight goal in Tech hockey loss
UppperMichiganSource.com: Wisconsin completes sweep of Tech hockey
USCHO.com: Johnson notches three points as Wisconsin tops Michigan Tech
USCHO.ocom: Box Score

BOX SCORE

First Period
Wisconsin-1-13:49-Mark Zengerle (Craig Smith, Patrick Johnson)

Second Period
Wisconsin-2-7:46-P. Johnson (unassisted)
Michigan Tech-1-8:44-Ryan Furne (Steven Seigo, Deron Cousens)

Third Period
Wisconsin-3-7:46-Sean Dolan (P. Johnson, John Ramage)
Wisconsin-4-12:21-Justin Scuhltz (Zengerle)

Goalies
Wisconsin-Bennett-22 shots, 21 saves
Michigan Tech-Genoe-30 shots, 26 saves

Scores from around the WCHA Saturday
North Dakota 6, Colorado College 0
Alaska-Anchorage 1, Minnesota 0
Minnesota State 6, St. Cloud State 2
Alabama-Huntsville 2, Nebraska-Omaha 1

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The Bowl was filled...and then some

Last night 10,668 Badger hockey fans filled the Kohl Center to watch Wisconsin defeat minnesota 3-1

Wow was that fun!  I've never been able to sit in the 2nd deck (my prefered place to sit) to watch the Women, but didn't have much of a choice getting there 20 minutes before the puck dropped.  It was amazing to grab a seat and already see 90% of the lower bowl filled, and then watch as the 2nd level filled and filled, while the KC had to even open the 3rd level.  This is no big deal for a Men's game, but after regularly watching a 1/3 full (at best) lower bowl at games, it was exciting to see so many people at a Women's game.

And those that came were treated to one heck of a game!  The Badgers came out firing early in the 1st period as Hilary Knight scored her 99th career goal (34th of the year) past the gopher's goalie Raty (one rodent knows another...) less than a minute in.  Great passing from Brittany Haverstock and Meghan Duggan.  Later in the first, WI native Brianna Decker took the puck shorthanded around the entire gohper team scoring a highlight reel goal to put Bucky up 2-0.

The Badgers controlled the 1st period, notching 22 SOG.  In the second, the gophers took some of the momentum back scoring a SH goal of their own on a Klubertanz like play on the blue line by the Badgers for a nearly uncontested breakaway.  The Badgers answered later in the 2nd on a nice goal by Carolyne Prevost, putting the Badgers up 3-1, and that was the way the game ended.

The Badgers did very well on the PK, the gophers went 0-6 on the man advantage.  The other star of the game for the Badgers was another WI native Alex Rigsby.  She made some big saves in net and it was easily one of her best games of the year.  A nice night for the freshman.

W/ a win and an shootout win (5 points total in WCHA Women's scoring) the Badgers have opened their conference lead to 16 pts over minnesota and 17 pts over North Dakota.  The Badgers only need one win in the next 6 games to finish the regular season as WCHA champs.  Looks tough for a team on a 14 game unbeaten streak...

The 10,668 fans in attendance set a new NCAA record for a Women's Hockey game.  The previous record from Camp Randall last season was 8,263 fans.  Immediately following the game at center ice, Becker Law Office presented Second Harvest w/ a check for $10,668, in addition to all the non-perishable goods fans had donated on their way into the KC.  Hats off to Becker Law Office for the generous donation.  I'm hoping UW does this again next year, it was the prefect storm to get fans in the KC.  Men's team on the road, and no television for those games, no football and no UW basketball in prime time.

While I've had fun at Men's games this season, this was the most fun I've had at the Kohl Center this year.  The Women's team gave the fans in attendance a very entertaining game, and for the "no checking = no hockey" crowd there was a lot of physical play on both sides.  Brooke Ammerman even ignited the crowd after leveling gopher post whistle.

While I don't expect to see big crowds every game for the Women, I hope those in attendance enjoyed the game, and make it a point to catch a few games yet this season, next season and beyond.  At $5, its the best deal in UW sports for the quality of the product on the ice.

I didn't include any pictures, but the links to uwbadgers and WSJ at the top have some nice photo galleries, check them out.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Badgers grab 4-2 victory over Michgian Tech

Hey, two point is two points. It may not have been the prettiest victory but you can put another check mark in the "W" column. Badgers actually dropped a spot in the PWR from #7 to #8 with the win Friday but that's the way things go with a flawed ranking system.

Two key notes, freshmen wingers Mark Zengerle and Tyler Barnes both busted out of huge scoring droughts Friday night. Zengerle's goal was his first in I believe 2o games and Barnes his first in 15. Let's hope the floodgates open.

WSJ (Baggot): Badgers rally to beat Michigan Tech but aren't proud of the win
UWBadgers.com: Badgers down the Huskies 4-2
UWBadgers.com: Final Stats
BadgerNation.com: Badgers take first from Mich Tech 4-2
MichiganTechHuskies.com: No. 7 Wisconsin tops Tech hockey
MiningGazzette.com: Tech lead doesn't hold in loss to Badgers
UpperMichiganSource.com: No. 7 Wisconsin too much for Huskies
USCHO.com: Wisconsin snatches victory from Michigan Tech (Post game video with both Mike Eaves and Jamie Russell)
USCHO.com: Box Score

First Period
Wisconsin-1-6:37-Podge Turnbull (Tyler Barnes, Justin Schultz)

Second Period
Michigan Tech-1-0:41-Alex MacLeod (Brett Olson, Steven Seigo)
Michigan Tech-2-3:18-Evan Witt (Alan L'Esperance, Daniel Holmberg)
Wisconsin-2-13:17-Jake Gardiner (Jefferson Dahl, Justin Schultz)
Wisconsin-3-13:46-Mark Zengerle (Frankie Simonelli, Jordy Murray

Third Period
Wisconsin-4-13:12-Tyler Barnes (unassisted)

Goalies
Wisconsin-Scott Gudmandson-26 shots, 24 saves
Michgian Tech-Josh Robinson-22 shots, 19 saves
Michigan Tech-Kevin Genoe-20 shots, 19 saves

Scores from around the WCHA Friday:

Colorado College 4, North Dakota 2
Minnesota 5, Alaska-Anchorage 1
Minnesota State 3, St. Cloud 3
Nebraska-Omaha 4, Alabama Huntsville 0

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Projected Friday Night Lineups vs Tech

Projected lineups courtesy of Andy Baggot from the WSJ. Poster courtesy of the @BadgerMHockey twitter account.

WISCONSIN

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Patrick Johnson-Sean Dolan-Derek Lee
Ryan Little-Jefferson Dahl-Gavin Hartzog

Jake Gardiner-Justin Schultz
Craig Johnson-John Ramage
Frankie Simonelli-Eric Springer

Scott Gudmandson

MICHIGAN TECH

Ryan Furne-Brett Olson-Jacob Johnstone
Tyler Gubb-Patrick McCadden-Alex McLeod
Bennett Royer-Daniel Holmberg-Dennis Rix
Ricky Doriott-Evan Witt-Bryce Reddick

Tommy Brown-Steve Seigo
Deron Cousens-Daniel Sova
Brad Stebner-Pete Heinonen

Josh Robinson

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Street, Bohmbach play in ECHL All-Star game

One of my favorite things to do as a fan of Wisconsin hockey is to check up on former players from the program as they move on in their hockey careers at the professional level.

Two players who were key contributors to the success of the Badger program but maybe didn't get the headlines or the publicity that they necessarily deserved due to being over shadowed by others recently got a chance to compete as professionals in the ECHL All-Star game.

Ben Street and Andy Bohmbach, who both were seniors and influential members of the Badger squad last season who made a run all the way to the National Championship game participated in the 2011 All-Star game hosted by the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday night.

Street, a Coquitlam, BC native is having an outstanding season for the Wheeling Nailers. The former Badger captain's 43 points are good enough for 7th in league scoring. Street's 20 goals are good for 5th in the league. Street is second amongst all rookies in scoring as well. He also leads his club in plus minus with a +17. Street, who took a red shirt due to a severe knee injury in 08-09 was a member of the 2006 Wisconsin National Championship team and finished his Badger career with 93 points in 171 games.

Bohmbach, who hails from Hudson, WI is also playing well in his rookie season. The Toledo Walleye forward has 17 goals and 18 assists this season which is good for 18th in the league in scoring and 4th amongst all rookies. Bohmbach is also leading the Walleye's in scoring and goals scored. Bohmbach who came to the Badgers as a late summer recruit due to the departure of Joe Pavelski more than held up his end of the bargain as a Badger. He finished his career with 24 and 25 point seasons and was a top line winger on last years Frozen Four squad.

Not only did Bohmbach and Street play in the game but both recorded points. Both players were able to pick up assists during their first All-Star event. Both players will be back in action tonight with their respective ECHL teams. Bohmbach and Toledo will host Shane Connelly and the Trenton Devils and Steet and his Wheeling squad go on the road to take on the Elmira Jackals.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michigan Tech Week


Back in the saddle again. The Wisconsin Badgers are in the thick of a 14 game stretch of WCHA opponents and there is no time like the present to put some hay in the barn and rack 4 points.

This weekend's series sees the Badgers travel up to the UP to take on the Huskies of Michigan Tech. The WCHA race is as tight as ever and Wisconsin needs to bank as many points as possible.

The Badgers, who have won 10 of their last 11 games currently sit in fifth place in the conference swept Minnesota State at the Kohl Center last weekend behind two brilliant performances in goal by senior net minder Scott Gudmandson.

Sophomore defenseman Justin Schultz added to his possible Hobey resume with another solid weekend for the Badgers. The West Kelowna, British Columbia native racked up a pair of assists on both nights and now leads the Badgers in points. His 36 points this season are good for fourth in the nation overall, and first amongst all defensemen by 7 points.

Another sophomore having a huge season, Madison native Craig Smith managed to find the net once again this past weekend. Smith's breakaway goal on Saturday night was his 15th of the season (which leads the team) and his 9th in his past 11 games.

Senior Podge Turnbull continues to validate my criticism about why he wasn't in the lineup more last season. Turnbull found the twine once again over the weekend for his 10th goal of the season. Seven of Turnbull's goals have come in the past 10 games. The Badgers are now 9-0 when Turnbull scores a goal.

Smith and Turnbull's streaks have seemingly come at good times since others on the roster have been experiencing scoring droughts. Freshman winger Mark Zengerle has now gone 19 games without scoring a goal, sophomore Derek Lee 18, and Senior captain Sean Dolan has now gone 13.

Arguably the most important performance over the weekend was that of senior goalie Scott Gudmandson who stopped 71 of 74 shots over the weekend en route to the sweep. His big weekend turned heads at the league office and he was named the WCHA defensive player of the week.

Gudmandson is playing the best hockey of his Wisconsin career and undeniably will be Wisconsin's most important player down the stretch. Gudmandson is also making a run at history as his 1.76 GAA and .935 save percentage would both rank second on Wisconsin's all time single season list behind former Badger Brian Elliott in both categories.

One big key for the Badgers this weekend will be getting out on top of Michigan Tech early. The Badgers are 45-0-4 in their last 49 games when leading after two periods. Despite being out shot badly by Duluth and Minnesota State in the third period the past two weekends, the Badgers have been buckled down and won key games, mostly due to the play of Scott Gudmandson.

The Badgers will be without the services of Joe Faust this weekend as he stayed home with a shoulder injury according to Andy Baggot. The Friday night lineup is expected to be the same as the one Wisconsin trotted out on Saturday night vs Minnesota State.

Michigan Tech has been to be brutally honest terrible this season. They haven't won a game in their last 20 contests and have been shut out in their past 3. Back in October when they came to Madison, the Badgers were able to sweep them 5-2, 4-1.

One bonus for the Huskies has been the return of Superior native Brett Olson to the lineup. While he's only recorded one point in four games since returning from injury, Olson is the most potent offensive threat the Huskies posses. Olson led the Huskies in scoring last season as a Sophomore and has 61 career points. As is usual with Wisconsin natives, expect a little extra fire from Olson this weekend as he takes on the Badgers.

The Huskies goaltending this season has been rather putrid. Sophomore Kevin Genoe and junior Josh Robinson remarkably have the same abysmal .888 save percentage this season. Tech has been going with Robinson more lately as the junior has played in 5 of the past 6 games for the Huskies.

I feel like a broken record bringing up special teams every week but as always it's going to be vital for the Badgers to take advantage. Wisconsin currently has the second best power play percentage in the country at 25.69% and Michigan Tech's penalty kill is one of the worst in the country.

COVERAGE

There is no television this weekend but you can catch the Badgers on the radio with play by play man Brian Posick.

POLLS

The Badgers moved up a spot from #9 to #8 in the USCHO.com poll and up two spots from #9 to #7 in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll.

INJURIES

Like I already mentioned Joe Faust is out this weekend due to a shoulder injury. Andy Baggot also noted that Jordy Murray wore a no contact jersey at practice this week but he should be able to give it a go.

PREDICTIONS

I have to be honest, Tech is a terrible hockey team. If Wisconsin doesn't take four points this weekend it's going to be extremely disappointing. When the opportunity for points is there for the taking, the Badgers need to pounce.

Friday: Wisconsin 6, Michigan Tech 2
Saturday: Wisconsin 5, Michigan Tech 1

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Let’s Fill the Bowl Saturday Night at the KC

While the Men’s team is away near the Arctic Circle this weekend, the Women’s team will be hosting one of their big rivals minnesota, Friday and Saturday night 7 PM at the Kohl Center.

For Saturday’s game fans are encouraged to “Fill the Bowl” as UW attempts to break several attendance records while also helping to raise money and food for charity. Tickets for the game are $1, and for every fan in attendance Becker Law Office will donate $1 to Second Harvest. Fans are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, as they will collected as well.

UW did this same promotion two years ago and drew 5,377 fans when they hosted St Cloud. Last season, 6,085 fans came to the Kohl Center when UW hosted the US Women’s Olympic team which was 1/3 Badgers as well. The current record for attendance at any NCAA Women’s game was set at Camp Randall last year outdoors w/ 8,263. W/ the Men’s team on the road, no NFL football to watch (the Pro Bowl is lame), and tickets only $1 let’s see if that record can’t be smashed and get a big crowd Saturday night. And if you are a UW student, you get in free and get a t-shirt!

I’ve been on the record here on our blog many times in the past encouraging any and all fans to give the Women’s team a chance. As I posted a few weeks back, I too thought poorly of Women’s hockey until actually attending a game 3 years ago, and have been hooked ever since. I understand the bias related to the lack of checking, and the game is slower, etc, (weak excuses at best) but if you don’t have plans Saturday and have $1 come down to the Kohl Center and join me for some Women’s hockey. You won’t be disappointed, I assure you.

In case you needed a few more reasons, the Badgers are #1 in the country and can extent their nearly insurmountable lead for another WCHA regular season championship w/ 3 full weekends of hockey left before the playoffs. Currently UW is 12 pts ahead of the gophers. The Women use a different scoring system, 3 pts for wins, 2 pts for OT win or SO win, and 1 point for OT or SO loss. Hence, if the Badgers sweep, they would extend their lead to 18 points over the gophers and at least 15 points over North Dakota, virtually giving them the conference title (barring epic collapse or swine flu).

Two more reasons, Hilary Knight currently sits at 98 career goals, and has a good chance to hit the 100 goal mark this weekend. She would be the first Badger in the history of the Women’s team to eclipse 100 goals in her career. She leads the nation w/ 33 goals, 7 more than the next closest player, and appears on pace to break her own team record of 45 goals set in 2008/09. In addition, Wisconsin is the 2nd highest scoring team in the country, and features the three highest scoring players in the WCHA in Meghan Duggan, Knight and Brianna Decker.  That could very well be a line combo during the 2014 Olympics.

I hope to see a lot of people at the Kohl Center this weekend, I’m sure Phil will be there w/ his signs and hopefully there is a lot of counting to be done.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Has Eaves wrapped up coach of the year?

Coming into the 2010-2011 hockey season the general consensus amongst college hockey pundits, fans, and media was that the Wisconsin Badgers were in for a big time down year.

Who could blame them? A year after being in the National Championship game the Badgers returned to the ice minus seven seniors who all saw significant minutes. Two of those seniors (Michael Davies and Blake Geoffrion) produced 50 point seasons and Geoffrion won the Hobey Baker.

The Badgers also returned minus 4 underclassmen. Two of those underclassmen (Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan) are in the NHL while 2 are seeing significant minutes in the AHL (Cody Goloubef and Brendan Smith). Both Smith and Stepan were also hit the 50 point plateau last season for Wisconsin.

To add a cherry on top of an already atomic bomb like summer of departures for the Badgers, both assistant coach, Mark Osiecki (Ohio State), and Kevin Patrick (Muskegon, USHL) left the program to take head coaching jobs elsewhere.

Yet remarkably the program has hardly skipped a beat. The Badgers are 17-8-3 this season, and were 17-8-4 last year at this same time. They are ranked #7 in the current Pairwise ranking and have positioned themselves a solid #2 seed come tournament time, a seemingly unthinkable feat mere months ago.

I don't think Eaves presence in this program can be understated. Little things this season such as moving redshirt sophomore Ryan Little from defense to forward this season has worked wonders. Little, who will hit anything that moves is a tough defensive forward that players hate playing against and has even chipped in on the offensive end with 5 goals and 4 assists.

Arguably the biggest move that Eaves made was accelerating forward Michael Mersch's time line to Madison. The listed 6'1, 196 pound forward is supposed to be a senior in high school right now. Recognizing Mersch's potential and that with the Badgers likely losing 8-9 forwards off last season's squad, Eaves asked Mersch to accelerate his high school studies to graduate a year early and play for the Badgers in 2010-11. The move has obviously paid off, given that Mersch has been an every night player putting up 15 points through his first 28 college games.

In my opinion it's a no brainer that Eaves has already locked up the coach of the year award by the results this team has shown. If anyone projected the Badgers to be this good, this soon after losing all they lost is lying. Look no further than down 94 West at Minnesota where they can't seem to get it together despite bringing in top 3 recruiting classes year, after year.

If Eaves can can have the program this productive after losing all those departures last summer, it's going to be fun to see the future of this program over the next few years when things settle down.

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Photo by JOHN T. GREILICK

Scott Gudmandson named WCHA Defensive POTW

Red Baron® WCHA
Defensive Player of the Week

Scott Gudmandson - Senior, Goaltender
University of Wisconsin

Press Release from WCHA.Com

photoVeteran goaltender Scott Gudmandson of the University of Wisconsin, who stopped 71 of 74 shots on goal for a .959 saves percentage and surrendered just two even-strength goals while helping the Badgers to a two-game conference sweep over visiting Minnesota State, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Jan. 25, 2011.

A 5-10, 185-pound senior from Sherwood Park, Alberta, set a career high last Friday (Jan. 21) for saves in a win with 37, including 16 in the third period, as Wisconsin prevailed 3-2 over the Mavericks at the Kohl Center. One of the two goals he surrendered came on a first period power-play as the Badgers were outshot 39-30 for the game. Then in last Saturday's (Jan. 22) 2-1 UW victory, Gudmandson stopped 34 of 35 Maverick shots, again stopping 16 of 17 shots in the third period. The Badgers were outshot 35-29 for the game and 17-4 in the third period. In addition, Gudmandson also helped Wisconsin hold MSU to one power-play goal in nine opportunities.

Through 21 games and 1223:55 minutes played this season, Gudmandson leads all WCHA goaltenders with a 1.76 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in all games, ranking second and fourth in the nation, respectively. In league games, his 1.94 GAA is second while his .933 save percentage is first. He also boasts four shutouts on the year.

Also nominated: Michael Boivin, D, CC; Sam Brittain, G, DU; Ben Blood, D, UND; Mike Lee, G, SCSU.

2010-2011 Wisconsin WCHA Weekly Awards
-Mark Zengerle-Rookie of the week-November 9
-Jake Gardiner-Offensive POTW-November 30
-Justin Schultz-Defensive POTW-Novemeber 30
-Craig Smith-Offensive POTW-January 11
-Scott Gudmandson-Defensive POTW-January 25

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Wisconsin Recruiting: Kerdiles earns promotion

When Nic Kerdiles gave his verbal commitment to the Wisconsin hockey program for 2012 last February, many recruitniks indicated that the Badgers had landed a big time target. Almost a year after Kerdiles made his commitment public, It's become apparent that they might have even underestimated him.

The recently turned 17 year old is having an outstanding season with the USA National Team Development Program. Kerdiles is third on the U17's in scoring but leads the team in scoring in USHL play. Kerdiles has also played well on the international level with 9 points in 11 games.

Thanks to a tip from @chrismpeters we've learned that Kerdiles outstanding play with the NTDP U17's has gotten him a promotion to the U18's.

Kerdiles has been up with the U18's for the past two weekends playing in four games. The first weekend Kerdiles got his feet wet with the big club playing in two USHL games. Last weekend however Nic got a big boost in competition when the U18's played two games against college teams Quinnipiac and Providence.

Apparently head coach Ron Rolston is confident in Mr. Kerdiles because he threw him right into the fire. Kerdiles has been playing on the U18's top line with projected first round NHL daft pick and North Dakota recruit Rocco Grimaldi. Kerdiles has even spent some time on the power play registering an assist on the man advantage against Providence.

Chris Peters indicates in his tweet that he's not sure if Kerdiles promotion is permanent or just a temporary thing but Peters reviews of Kerdiles should make Wisconsin fans Salivate. "Reports on Kerdiles have been really positive. Apparently he hasn't looked out of place with the U18s. His size helps." In the past in speaking with Peters told me, "He's only going to improve, kids like him are why the NTDP was created."

One of the biggest biggest amateur tournaments every year is the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. This years tournament is being played in Germany and usually it's rare for underage players like Kerdiles to be invited. Jack Skille and Phil Kessel come to mind as a few of the exceptional under agers who were invited by the United States. When I asked Chris Peters what Kerdiles chances of making this years squad was, it sounded promising, "
I'd say they are very good. IF he goes with U18s to 5 Nations in Feb, I'd say he's a lock. Not definite just yet."

The U18's have three more games in the USHL before they leave for the 5 Nations tournament in the Czech Republic in early February. Those three games will undoubtedly serve as a three game tryout for Kerdiles to see if he's got what it takes to play with the U18's internationally. I have a feeling he'll do just fine.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Super (bowl) Monday Morning Bracketology Week 11

I'm up early this morning so I figured I might as well pump out bracketology for you as you're waking up.

With a home sweep of Minnesota State, the Badgers improved two places in the PWR all the way up to #7 this week. You keep winning games, and you get rewarded. This week finds the Badgers playing Western Michigan in the Green Bay regional.

There were no bids won or lost by the WCHA this week. Colorado College is still sitting on the doorstep. They are going to need to reel off some W's down the stretch here if they want a shot at an at large bid. Just like last week, there are 5 WCHA teams currently projected to get at large bids and CC (19), Minnesota (21), St. Cloud (25), Minnesota State (29), and Bemidji State (30) on the outside looking in.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Yale
2. Minnesota-Duluth
3. North Dakota
4. Denver
5. Boston College
6. Michigan
7. Wisconsin
8. RPI
9. Notre Dame
10. New Hampshire
11. Western Michigan
12. Nebraska-Omaha
13. Dartmouth
14. Merrimack
15. Union
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion (RIT)

Bubble Teams (in order): Miami, Maine, Boston University, Colorado College, Princeton

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota, Denver
No. 2 seeds: Boston College, Michigan, Wisconsin, RPI
No. 3 seeds: Notre Dame, UNH, Western Michigan, UNO
No. 4 seeds: Dartmouth, Union, Merrimack, RIT

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

Right now we have two host schools in the tournament. New Hampshire is hosting the Northeast Regional in Manchester, and Yale is hosting the East Regional in Bridgeport. Therefore, UNH is placed as the #3 seed in Manchester and Yale is the #1 seed in Bridgeport.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

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

No. 1 Yale (Host) is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport
No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 3 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 4 Denver is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester

Step 5: 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 RPI is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 7 Wisconsin is placed in No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 6 Michigan is placed in No. 3 North Dakota's Regional, the West Regional
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Denver's Regional, the Northeast Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Notre Dame is placed No. 8 RPI's Regional, the East Regional
No. 10 UNH (host) is placed in No. 5 Boston College's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 11 Western Michigan is placed in No. 7 Wisconsin's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 12 UNO is placed in No. 6 Michigan's Regional, the West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 Dartmouth is placed in No. 4 Denver's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 14 Merrimack is placed in No. 3 North Dakota's Regional, the West Regional
No. 15 Union is placed in No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 16 RIT is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional

Our bracket as we have it set up:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
8. RPI vs 9 Notre Dame

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 Minnesota-Duluth vs 15 Union
7 Wisconsin vs 11 Western Michigan

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Denver vs 13 Dartmouth
5 Boston College vs 10 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 North Dakota vs 14 Merrimack
6 Michigan vs 12 Nebraska-Omaha

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. This week we have one, Boston College vs New Hampshire

We're not going to switch BC out with Wisconsin and hurt attendance in Green Bay so we have two options, the first is to flip Boston College and Michigan. That would be the best for bracket integrity. Another consideration would be to flip Boston College and RPI. That would keep Boston College a few hours from home and boost attendance at the Bridgeport Regional.

At first I wanted to flip BC and RPI and originally posted as such here. The NCAA does love $, but I think it's just going to affect bracket integrity too much so I'm going to change out Michigan and Boston College.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
8 RPI vs 9 Notre Dame

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 Minnesota-Duluth vs 15 Union
7 Wisconsin vs 11 Western Michigan

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Denver vs 13 Dartmouth
6 Michigan vs 10 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 North Dakota vs 14 Merrimack
5 Boston Collegevs 12 Nebraska-Omaha


Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:
Week 1: #12 overall seed vs Michigan in Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
Week 2: First team out of the tournament, #16 in the PWR
Week 3: Falling further away from the tournament, #24 in the PWR
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR
Week 5: Still hovering in the bubble, dropped a spot to #19 in PWR
Week 6: Gaining some ground, moved up to #17 in the PWR
Week 7: Stalemate, still at #17 in the PWR on a bye week.
Week 8: Back in the game, #12 overall seed in Northeast Regional in Manchester
Week 9: Moving on up, to the east side. #9 overall seed in the East Regional.
Week 10a: All the way up to the #8 overall seed vs Maine in the East Regional.
Week 10b: With the PWR tweak we drop a spot. Now playing BC in Green Bay.
Week 11: Keep winning, keep moving up. #7 overall seed vs Western Mich in Green Bay.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

SWEEEEEP











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Saturday night lineups vs Minnesota State

One lineup change tonight for the Badgers as Eric Springer is inserted for freshman Joe Faust. In my opinion Faust has been playing much better than Springer but Baggot indicates that Faust may have injured his shoulder.

Minnesota State has changed up their forward lines in a few different places but the biggest item of note is Austin Lee playing tonight. Phil Cook got the start for the Mavericks last night (and played well). Lee started in Minnesota State's only victory over Wisconsin last season.

WISCONSIN

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Patrick Johnson-Sean Dolan-Derek Lee
Ryan Little-Jefferson Dahl-Gavin Hartzog

Jake Gardiner-Justin Schultz
Craig Johnson-John Ramage
Eric Springer-Frankie Simonelli

Scott Gudmandson

MINNESOTA STATE


Michael Dorr-Joe Schiller-Eriah Hayes
Chase Grant-Andrew Sackrison-Mike Louwerse
Adam Mueller-Rylan Galiardi-Justin Jokinen
Evan Mosey-Zach Lehrke-John McInnis

Channing Boe-Kurt Davis
Tyler Elbrecht-Ben Youds
Cameron Cooper-Josh Nelson

Austin Lee

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Badgers extend home winning streak with 3-2 victory

The Wisconsin Badgers extened their home winning streak to eight games after a 3-2 victory Friday night over Minnesota State at the Kohl Center. Senior netminder Scott Gudmandson stopped 37 shots en route to the victory.

Wisconsin goals were scored by Podge Turnbull, Jake Gardiner, and Michael Mersch. The Badgers are now 9-0 when Turnbull scores a goal. Turnbull has now scored 7 goals in his past 9 games.

With the victory, Wisconsin moved up 1 spot in the Pairwise from #9 to #8.

WSJ (Baggot): Gardiner's recovery saves the day for Badgers
PucKato (Frederick): Wisconsin 3, Minnesota State 2
UWBadgers.com: Men's hockey deafeats Minnesota State 3-2
UWBadgers.com: Highlights
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Press Conference
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Quotes
UWBadgers.com: Final Statistics
MSUMavericks.com: Second period dooms Mavericks at Wisconsin Friday

Scores from around the league
St. Cloud 2, Bemidji State 1 OT
Denver 3, Alaska-Anchorage 2
Nebraska-Omaha 8, North Dakota 4
Minnesota-Duluth 5, Michigan Tech 0
Colorado College 7, Alabama Huntsville 0

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Projected Friday Lineups vs Minnesota State

Thanks to Andy Baggot we've learned that Frankie Simonelli is back with the team after spending a day back at home tending to a family matter. That's great news for the Badgers. It also looks like freshman Joe Faust will replace Eric Springer on the pairing with Simonelli tonight. Additionally, freshman forward Gavin Hartzog will be in the lineup tonight for only the eighth time this season on a wing with Ryan Little and Jefferson Dahl.

WISCONSIN

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Patrick Johnson-Sean Dolan-Derek Lee
Ryan Little-Jefferson Dahl-Gavin Hartzog

Jake Gardiner-Justin Schultz
Craig Johnson-John Ramage
Frankie Simonelli-Joe Faust

Scott Gudmandson

MINNESOTA STATE

Michael Dorr-Andrew Sackrison-Eriah Hayes
Chase Grant-Rylan Galiardi-Zach Lerke
Adam Mueller-Joe Schiller-Mike Louwerse
J.P. Burkemper-Eli Zuck-Justin Jokinen

Channing Boe-Kurt Davis
Tyler Elbrecht-Ben Youds
Cameron Cooper-Josh Nelson

Phil Cook

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Minnesota State Mankato Week

Another week, another WCHA series. This week brings the 10-9-5 Minnesota State (or whatever they are being called now) Mavericks into Madison to take on the 15-8-3 Wisconsin Badgers.

Last weekend saw the Badgers with their backs up against the wall battling the flu bug and a 2-0 loss on Friday night but they were able to battle back and win a crucial Saturday night game against #5 Minnesota-Duluth in their new barn.

Sophomore Justin Schultz despite battling the flu this weekend was up to his old tricks getting the Badgers an early lead on Saturday night. As Andy Baggot points out this week, Schultz has a great chance to make Wisconsin history this season. His 14 goals are tied for first on the team, and no UW defenseman has ever led the club in goals. Additionally the UW record for goals in a season by a defenseman was set at 19 by former Badger Sean Hill. Schultz will have no less than 14 games to accomplish that feat.

Senior center Podge Turnbull who has been very effective since being inserted on a line with freshmen wingers Michael Mersch and Tyler Barnes found the net once again for his 9th goal this season. Turnbull has now scored 6 goals in his last 8 games and the Badgers are a ridiculous 8-0 in games where Podge finds the twine.

Wisconsin leading scorer and Sophomore alternate captain Craig Smith wasn't held quiet last weekend either. His second period power play goal on Saturday night turned out to be the eventual game winner for the Badgers. Smith's 33 points this season put him in a three way tie for third in the country in scoring behind the Miami duo of Carter Camper and Andy Miele.

Junior defenseman Jake Gardiner who has seemingly flew under the radar this season with the huge season of teammate and defensive partner Justin Schultz added a couple of helpers in the win on Saturday as well. Gardiners 26 points are third in the country amongst all defensemen behind only Schultz and Robert Morris defenseman Denny Urban.

Wisconsin's #1 net minder Scott Gudmandson once again found himself between the pipes on both nights for the cardinal and white. Scotty played solid both nights, something that the fans and the team have come to expect out of the gritty senior. Gudmandson is now second in the country in GAA and fourth in the country in Save Percentage.

Minnesota State comes into the Kohl Center after playing excellent hockey last weekend in Denver. The Mavericks played forced overtime on the Pioneers on back to back nights but only managed to escape with 1 point. A late goal with an extra attacker on Friday night by Denver's Kyle Ostrow forced OT and there would be no scoring in the extra session. Saturday night Minnesota State would come out firing with 3 goals to open the game but Denver would respond with 4 unanswered, including one in OT to grab the 3 point weekend.

Despite only being 4-9-3 in WCHA action, the Maverick have been playing much better hockey since the break. Besides the already mentioned weekend at Denver, Minnesota State swept American International and won the Shillelagh Tournament at Note Dame beating the Irish and Brown on back to back nights.

The Mavericks feature a pair of defenseman that would be solid for any team in the WCHA with Kurt Davis and Ben Youds. Both are playing at an all-conference level. Davis, a senior from Plymouth, Minnesota leads the Mav's in scoring with 19 points. Youds, a former Shattuck St. Mary's teammate of Badger Jordy Murray has chipped in 15 points of his own.

Offensively the Mavericks are led by former Minnesota Gopher Michael change of heart Dorr. The junior forward from Roseville, Mn originally committed to Minnesota-Duluth but reneged on that verbal when he got a better offer from the Gophers. After not seeing the playing time he thought he deserved with the maroon and gold, Dorr fled to Mankato.

In goal expect to see Sophomore Phil Cook this weekend. The Wheaton, Illinois native has played the majority of the minutes for Minnesota State this season and has put up average numbers so far. Cook brings in a 8-8-3 record with a .908 save percentage and a 3.01 GAA.

As always special teams will be big for who comes out with points this weekend. The Badgers are ranked #3 in the country in PP conversions and the Mavericks aren't ranked in the top 40. The Badgers must take advantage of this if they want to have success. Phil Cook doesn't have the greatest numbers in the league but I saw him absolutely stand on his head in a weekend sweep over Minnesota this fall. Cook has the ability to win games for his club.

COVERAGE

UWBadgers.com is listing the game on the Wisconsin Channel live on Friday night and WISC-TV on Saturday night with both games being tape delayed later that night.

POLLS

The Badgers stayed at #9 in the USCHO.com poll and moved up to #9 from #11 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll. Minnesota State was also receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.

INJURIES

As we found out last week, Sean Little and Tyler Barnes were banged up although Barnes played in both games and Little played on Saturday night. Jefferson Dahl who had missed some time played in both games as well. Yesterday we found out from Andy Baggot that Michael Mersch took a puck off the foot and was in a walking boot coming out of the rink and that Sean Dolan re-aggravated an ankle injury. Both of their statuses for the weekend are unknown at this point.

Update: Andy Baggot just tweeted the Mersch and Dolan were both at practice today and looked good so thats a positive sign.

Update 2: It looks like Frankie Simonelli might not be available this weekend as he's home in Illinois tending to some family issues according to Baggot.

PREDICTIONS

Minnesota State is a solid hockey club and I love their top defenseman and goalie Phil Cook. Unfortunately I see them coming in and sneaking out a victory from us on Friday night. We've got a lot of guys nursing different injuries and I'm afraid we're going to fall asleep one of the nights this weekend.

Friday: Wisconsin 2, Minnesota State 3
Saturday: Wisconsin 5, Minnesota Sate 2

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Updated Week 10 Bracketology

We already did our weekly Monday morning bracketology but with the update that the NCAA has tweaked the formula for at large bids I thought we better update the bracket to see how much it affected Wisconsin.

The Badgers dropped a spot in the PWR but in my opinion gained an advantage because with an easy switch we now have the Badgers in the Mid-West regional in Green Bay vs Boston College.

No bids were won or lost for the WCHA this week but Colorado College took a significant hit with after being swept by Alaska-Anchorage. CC dropped about 7 places in the PWR with the sweep. There are a few other WCHA teams currently lurking in the "Teams under consideration" area. Minnesota (21), Bemidji (22), CC (23), and Minnesota State (24) could all put themselves in tournament consideration with a few good weeks.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Yale
2. North Dakota
3. Minnesota-Duluth
4. Denver
5. Michigan
6. New Hampshire
7. Boston College
8. Notre Dame
9. Wisconsin
10. Merrimack
11. Western Michigan
12. Dartmouth
13. Union
14. Nebraska-Omaha
15. RPI
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion (RIT)

Bubble Teams (in order): Miami, Maine, Boston University, Alaska, Princeton

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver
No. 2 seeds: Michigan, UNH, BC, Notre Dame
No. 3 seeds: Wisconsin, Merrimack, Western Michigan, Dartmouth
No. 4 seeds: Union, Nebraska-Omaha, RPI, RIT

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

Right now we have two host schools in the tournament. New Hampshire is hosting the Northeast Regional in Manchester, and Yale is hosting the East Regional in Bridgeport. Therefore, UNH is placed as the #3 seed in Manchester and Yale is the #1 seed in Bridgeport.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

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

No. 1 Yale (Host) is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport
No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 4 Denver is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester

Step 5: 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 Nore Dame is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 7 Boston College is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 5 Michigan is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the West Regional
No. 6 UNH (Host) is placed in No. 4 Denver's Regional, the Northeast Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Wisconsin is placed No. 8 Notre Dame's Regional, the East Regional
No. 10 Merrimack is placed in No. 7 Boston College's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 11 Western Michigan is placed in No. 6 UNH's Regional, The Northeast Regional
No. 12 Dartmouth is placed in No. 5 Michigan's Regional, the West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 Union is placed in No. 4 Denver's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 14 UNO is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the West Regional
No. 15 RPI is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 16 RIT is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional

Our bracket as we have it set up:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
8. Notre Dame vs 9 Wisconsin


Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 North Dakota vs 15 RPI
7 Boston College vs 10 Merrimack

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Denver vs 13 Union
6 New Hampshire vs 11 Western Michigan

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 Minnesota-Duluth vs 14 Nebraska-Omaha
5 Michigan vs 12 Dartmouth

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. This week we have two, Boston College vs Merrimack and Minnesota-Duluth vs Nebraska-Omaha.

The Nebraska-Omaha flip is the easy one since we only have one option. Since UNO has to be a 4 seed, and they can't play first round games against 1 seeds North Dakota, Denver, or Minnesota-Duluth they MUST be flipped with RIT to the East Regional. As for BC/Merrimack, an easy switch of Merrimack and Wisconsin eliminates an intra-conference match up and boosts attendance by putting the Badgers in Green Bay.


Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)

1 Yale vs 15 Nebraska-Omaha
8. Notre Dame vs 10 Merrimack

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 North Dakota vs 15 RPI
7 Boston College vs 9 Wisconsin

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Denver vs 13 Union
6 New Hampshire vs 11 Western Michigan

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 Minnesota-Duluth vs 16 RIT
5 Michigan vs 12 Dartmouth

Attendance actually improved with the PWR tweak because an easy switch puts Wisconsin in Green Bay

Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:
Week 1: #12 overall seed vs Michigan in Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
Week 2: First team out of the tournament, #16 in the PWR
Week 3: Falling further away from the tournament, #24 in the PWR
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR
Week 5: Still hovering in the bubble, dropped a spot to #19 in PWR
Week 6: Gaining some ground, moved up to #17 in the PWR
Week 7: Stalemate, still at #17 in the PWR on a bye week.
Week 8: Back in the game, #12 overall seed in Northeast Regional in Manchester
Week 9: Moving on up, to the east side. #9 overall seed in the East Regional.
Week 10: All the way up to the #8 overall seed vs Maine in the East Regional.
Week 10b: With the PWR tweak we drop a spot. Now playing BC in Green Bay.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NCAA changes tournament criteria?

According to a report by College Hockey News, the NCAA has tweaked it's criteria in determining who gets into the NCAA tournament and who doesn't by adjusting the formula.

Basically they have tweaked the "TUC" or "Teams under consideration" category from the top 25 teams in the RPI to any team with a .500 record or better. So now 34 teams are considered TUC's instead of 25.

What this means for Wisconsin? For one we dropped from tied for 7th in the PWR to #9 overall.

Read the article from the CHN they do a much better job explaining it. It's also being discussed on the USCHO message boards. If you have a question leave a comment and I'll try and find you an answer if I can't answer it myself.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Wisconsin Recruiting: Brad Navin has strained MCL

As Gandalf posted last night, Brad Navin (pictured left), a forward recruit from Waupaca injured his knee on Thursday in a game at Tomahawk.

The Sixty Minutes blog was able to speak with Navin on Monday afternoon to get the scoop on how bad it was. Navin told us that the doctor informed him that he has an MCL sprain. The good news is that no surgery is needed.

I'm told that these types of injuries aren't severe and that most likely one could expect to be full strength in 4-6 weeks. If the 4-6 weeks is true, that would have Navin coming back right around the first week of the WIAA playoffs.

Navin is committed to Wisconsin for either 2012 or 2013 depending on departures and his development so this doesn't effect his status with the Badgers one iota but it is sad because Navin is a prospective NHL draft pick and the less times he can be seen the more it's going to hurt him in that regard.

Also, there is zero question that he would have been named the Wisconsin Mr. Hockey this season. Personally I still think they should give Navin the award. He's by far the most impressive senior in the state and it's not close.

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Monday Morning Bracketology Week 10: 1/17/11

It's time once again for our weekly installment of Bracketology. This week finds the Badgers moving on up once again. For the third week in a row the Badgers are projected to be tournament bound. Last week Wisconsin checked in at #9, this week we're at #8 in the PWR following our road split at Minnesota-Duluth. Remember, we'd like to get to at least #13 or #14 to lock in an at large bid.

No bids were won or lost for the WCHA this week but Colorado College took a significant hit with after being swept by Alaska-Anchorage. CC dropped about 7 places in the PWR with the sweep. There are a few other WCHA teams currently lurking in the "Teams under consideration" area. Minnesota (21), Bemidji (22), CC (23), and Minnesota State (24) could all put themselves in tournament consideration with a few good weeks.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Yale
2. North Dakota
3. Denver
4. Minnesota-Duluth
5. Boston College
6. Michigan
7. Notre Dame
8. Wisconsin
9. New Hampshire
10. Maine
11. Dartmouth
12. Union
13. Boston University
14. Merrimack
15. Nebraska-Omaha
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion (RIT)

Bubble Teams (in order): Western Michigan, RPI, Miami, Alaska, Princeton

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, North Dakota, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth
No. 2 seeds: Boston College, Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin
No. 3 seeds: New Hampshire, Maine, Dartmouth, Union
No. 4 seeds: BU, Merrimack, Nebraska-Omaha, RIT

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

Right now we have two host schools in the tournament. New Hampshire is hosting the Northeast Regional in Manchester, and Yale is hosting the East Regional in Bridgeport. Therefore, UNH is placed as the #3 seed in Manchester and Yale is the #1 seed in Bridgeport.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

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

No. 1 Yale (Host) is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport
No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 3 Denver is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester

Step 5: 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 Wisconsin is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 7 Notre Dame is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 6 Michigan is placed in No. 3 Denver's Regional, the West Regional
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 UMD's Regional, the Northeast Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 UNH (Host) is placed No. 5 BC's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 10 Maine is placed in No. 8 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional
No. 11 Dartmouth is placed in No. 7 Notre Dame's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 12 Union is placed in No. 6 Michigan's Regional, the West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 BU is placed in No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth's, the Northeast Regional
No. 14 Merrimack is placed in No. 3 Denver's Regional, the West Regional
No. 15 Nebraska-Omaha is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 16 RIT is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional

Our bracket as we have it set up:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
8. Wisconsin vs 10 Maine

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Nebraska-Omaha
7 Notre Dame vs 11 Dartmouth

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Minnesota-Duluth vs 13 Boston University
5 Boston College vs 9 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 Denver vs 14 Merrimack
6 Michigan vs 12 Union

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. This week we have two, Boston College vs New Hampshire and North Dakota vs Nebraska-Omaha. We're in a tricky situation here because we can only move teams between bands but New Hampshire must stay in Manchester since it's a host school.

The Nebraska-Omaha flip is the easy one since we only have one option. Since UNO has to be a 4 seed, and they can't play first round games against 1 seeds North Dakota, Denver, or Minnesota-Duluth they MUST be flipped with RIT to the East Regional. As for New Hampshire/BC, UNH MUST stay in Manchester so we'll flip Note Dame and BC. It hurts attendance taking BC out of the East but we didn't have a choice. Flipping BC and Wisconsin would cause another intra-conference matchup so this is the best route. It creates more bracket ingtegrity as well.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)

1 Yale vs 15 Nebraska-Omaha

8. Wisconsin vs 10 Maine

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 North Dakota vs 16 RIT

5 Boston College vs 11 Dartmouth

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Minnesota-Duluth vs 13 Boston University
7 Notre Dame vs 9 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
3 Denver vs 14 Merrimack
6 Michigan vs 12 Union

It's not our best week attendance wise but it's certainly not our worst. Realistically there is nothing we can do to make it better either. So that's what we'll go with.


Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:
Week 1: #12 overall seed vs Michigan in Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
Week 2: First team out of the tournament, #16 in the PWR
Week 3: Falling further away from the tournament, #24 in the PWR
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR
Week 5: Still hovering in the bubble, dropped a spot to #19 in PWR
Week 6: Gaining some ground, moved up to #17 in the PWR
Week 7: Stalemate, still at #17 in the PWR on a bye week.
Week 8: Back in the game, #12 overall seed in Northeast Regional in Manchester
Week 9: Moving on up, to the east side. #9 overall seed in the East Regional.

Week 10: All the way up to the #8 overall seeed vs Maine in the East Regional.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

HIW reports Navin injured

Hockey in Wisconsin is reporting that 2012 or 2013 forward recruit Brad Navin injured his knee on thursday night against Tomahawk and will have it looked at this week.  Navin plays for Waupaca HS.

Navin is the favorite for Wisconsin's Mr Hockey award, and currently leads the state w/ 52 pts.

Waupaca visited Waupan last night, and I was originally going to drive up for the game to watch Navin play, but the Packers changed my plans.  Thanks goes out to Aaron Rodgers for saving me the trip.

Hoping a speedy recovery to Navin and that he is back on the ice soon.

Badgers battle flu bug, pick up split in Duluth

Sorry, don't have time to do a game recap right now. Check out Madison.com, UWBadgers.com, and the Rink and Run blog for more coverage of Saturday night's 3-2 Wisconsin road victory over #5 Minnesota-Duluth.

Wisconsin is now tied for 7th in the all important PWR with Notre Dame.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Badgers blanked at new Amsoil Arena

Some nights you just can't seem to catch a break. Friday night seemed to be one of those for the Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey team. Fifth ranked Minnesota-Duluth's two first period power play goals would hold up for a 2-0 WCHA victory.

Bulldogs goaltender Kenny Reiter (pictured), a junior from Pittsburgh got the shutout. Reiter also shut out the Badgers last season in Duluth at the old DECC. Reiter stopped all 22 Wisconsin shots on Friday night en route to the doughnut.

Wisconsin controlled play early in the game but Reiter came up with a few keys saves to weather the storm. Duluth would jump on the score sheet 13:17 in to the first period on the power play. Duluth forward Justin Fontaine, who was playing the point on the power play snuck in and found a loose puck in the slot and beat Gudmandson to give the Bulldogs a lead they would never relinquish.

Three and a half minutes later the Bulldogs would extend their lead, once again on the power play when Mike Connolly buried another power play goal.

The Badgers would regroup in the second period creating multiple scoring opportunities but were never able to find the twine.

Give credit to Duluth in the third period as they played smart, defensive hockey and shut down the Badgers. They worked the clock and limited the Badgers chances.

Reiter would finish the game with 22 saves. Wisconsin's Scott Gudmandson would finish with 25 saves on 27 shots.

An interesting note Friday night was the fact that Wisoconsin suited up 7 defenseman, inserting Joe Faust into the lineup. We found out why during the broadcast when it was brought to our attention by the UMD radio crew that the Badgers had been hit by the flu bug. Most notably, star sophomore Justin Schultz was feeling the affects of the virus. Schultz only played on the power play most of the first and second period and finally started to see a 5 on 5 shift late in the third period. No word on how many Badgers were affected.

The Badgers will be back in action on Saturday night to avenge the Friday night loss. I think it's safe to assume that senior backstop Scott Gudmandson will be back between the pipes for the Badgers.

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Friday night lineups vs Minnesota-Duluth

Friday night lineups courtesy of Andy Baggot. Interesting note that freshman defenseman Joe Faust has been interested into the lineup as a fourth line winger. Baggot speculates that one of the top 6 defensemen may not be 100% and he's a back up play of sorts. Another note, Tyler Barnes who has a rumors "boxers fracture" in his hand is IN the lineup tonight and that's obviously great news.

WISCONSIN

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Ryan Little-Sean Little-Patrick Johnson
Derek Lee-Jefferson Dahl-Joe Faust

Jake Gardiner-Justin Schultz
Craig Johnson-John Ramage
Frankie Simonelli-Eric Springer

Scott Gudmandson
Brett Bennett

MINNESOTA-DULUTH

Mike Connolly-Jack Connolly-David Grun
Justin Fontaine-Travis Oleksuk-J.T. Brown
Dan DeLisle-Keegan Flaherty-Mike Seidel
Max Tardy-Jake Hendrickson-Joe Basaraba

Justin Faulk-Mike Montgomery
Wade Bergman-Brady Lamb
Drew Olson-Trent Palm

Kenny Reiter
Aaron Crandall

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Bi6 Ten Hockey Conference to start in 2014?

The blog "College Hockey High Horse" which apparently covers Minnesota-Duluth hockey has an update this afternoon that his source at the NCAA winter meetings going on right now in San Antonio, TX is saying that a Bi6 Ten Hockey Conference is set to start in the fall of 2014.

A few things about this report. First of all, until today I've never heard of this blog. Not that it isn't credible, just simply stating, I've never heard of it until today.

Second of all, I think anyone could take a guess that 2014 would be the year the conference would start. Pretty much every article written about the formation of the new conference has conceded that 2014 is the target date for the conference.

So I'm not sure if we have any new information here really or not. We know that the leagues (WCHA and CCHA) as they are set up right now will not be the same in 2014. We know that most likely there will be a Bi6 Ten Hockey conference. And we know that there had already been a target date of 2014 for the new conferences to be set.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Knight raises the bar on scoring goals for UW Women

Last weekend Hilary Knight became the all time leading scorer in UW Women’s history, passing Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej who originally set the bar at 89 career goals at the end of the 2008 season. Knight currently has 91 goals, has the rest of this season (on a pace of 1.18 goals a game) and ALL OF NEXT SEASON to keep breaking her own record.

I know we have been pretty pathetic on Women’s Hockey coverage so far this season, so in case you forgot, Knight, teammate Meghan Duggan and coach Mark Johnson were all gone last season helping the United States to a silver medal in Women’s Hockey. As a 20 year old, Knight was one of the top scorers on the team and was taken under the wing of Women’s Hockey legend Jenny Potter during her year away from UW.

I’ve been following Knight since the first Women’s game I attended back in February 2008. 60 and another friend challenged me to attend a Women’s game, since like most Men’s fans I figured there wasn’t a good reason to waste my time watching them. Arriving after the game started, I sat down and then watched a UW player weave her way around three Mankato defenders, scoring a highlight reel goal to finish it off. That young lady was Hilary Knight. I was instantly hooked, these women have crazy talent, and w/ out all the clutching and grabbing (and checking) of the men’s game, they really get to show off their skills. My $30 for a season ticket has been well spent since then.

Andy Baggot wrote a great article about Knight today in the WSJ. I learned a lot more about Knight than I already knew. As Baggot describes in his article, the refs credited her w/ what would have been her 90th career and school record goal, but knowing she never touched the puck, made sure she didn’t get credit for it. In the second game of the series Knight scored two goals to set the record. Coach Johnson commented in the article:

"Most people are self-centered and want recognition and want to be on the front page of the paper," Johnson said. "It's nice to see athletes in today's environment do things the right way."

Exactly! Sports at the college and pro levels (and even high school in the major sports) has become such a circus, filled w/ kids and adults whose egos are often so big you’d wonder how the metrodome roof doesn’t explode every Sunday rather than collapse after a snowfall. Players celebrate making a tackle or a meaningless slam dunk, which the last time I looked, was their job to accomplish. The fact that scoring a record breaking goal is an afterthought to an athlete is so out of the normalcy and refreshing it’s hard to believe it’s true. UW has had its share of great players on the Women’s team, but in the end Hilary Knight might end up being the best ever, at least the best non-goalie ever. Jessie Vetter’s accomplishments are a Mount Rushmore all by themselves.

I like the way Baggot ended his article too:

"She wants to do the right things all the time," Johnson said of Knight.

 At her current pace Knight will hit the 100-goal plateau this season, something done only by a handful of juniors in the history of college women's hockey. For some perspective, Johnson had 125 goals in 125 games through three seasons en route to being the all-time leader for the UW men.

 About that goal Knight refused to own: It was at least the third time this season she did so. One came at the expense of a hat trick, which didn't bother Knight one bit.

 "No matter who's scoring," she said, "I'm celebrating the same way."

Hilary Knight is the kind of role model young kids should have growing up; too bad they are in such short supply.

The Women, who remain #1 in the country at 20-2, return home this weekend to take on the winless St Cloud Huskies. Friday night @ 7 PM, Sunday afternoon @ 2 PM. Come out the Kohl Center w/ the Men’s team in Duluth and see some great hockey, well at least out of the Badgers. No Packers excuse either, they’ll have already beat the Falcons on Saturday.

Skate w/ the Badgers follows sunday's women's game.  The Women skate first at 4:45 and the Men follow at 5:30.  Updated those, thanks to the anon for the correction.

Photo from USA Hockey

How hurt is Tyler Barnes?

I woke up this morning and found an e-mail tip that Tyler Barnes had gotten hurt in practice. A quick check of Madison.com finds an article up from Andy Baggot about both Tyler Barnes and Sean Little being banged up and their statuses unclear for the trip to Duluth.

The information I was told is that Barnes may have broken his hand in practice after punching the glass. (Update: Latest I'm hearing is that its possibly a "boxing fracture" whatever the hell that is.)

However, in Baggots article he noted that Barnes practiced yesterday (albeit not on one of the top 4 lines), and usually if you have a broken hand you most likely aren't going to practice.

So just how hurt is Tyler Barnes? Hopefully not very. I'm praying the broken hand rumor is false and that he's just sore. Barnes has been one of the better surprises for us offensively this season and has shown flashes of brilliance at times this year.

Barnes has recently found a home on a line with winger Michael Mersch and centerman Podge Turnbull. The unit has been very solid during Wisconsin's current winning streak.

According to Baggot's article if Barnes and S. Little can't go this week then Derek Lee will take Barnes spot on the Mersh/Turnbull line, Ryan Little joins Patrick Johnson and Sean Dolan on the shut down line, and freshman Jefferson Dahl is back in the lineup centering Jason Clark and Gavin Hartzog. Obviously the Murray/Smith/Zengerle line is still intact.

I'll post more information as it comes to light.

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