The bus ride from the University of Wisconsin's
campus in Madison to Lambeau Field in Green Bay takes a
little more than two hours, meaning it'd be easy for the
Badgers to head up there Saturday morning and arrive in
plenty of time for their 3 p.m. tilt with Ohio State at
the home of the Packers. But just to be safe and to get
a head start on the fun, the Badgers made the trek late
With his team having lost five of its last
six and clinging to a two-point lead in the WCHA standings,
it would be easy for Badgers coach Mike Eaves to view the
neutral-site outdoor game to benefit the U.S. Hockey Hall
of Fame as a distraction, but that's not the approach he's
"There's no hesitation on our part because
this is a life experience," Eaves said. "We look
at the big picture of one day being able to tell our kids
and our grandkids about playing in this game. This will
be a positive energizer for our team."
In addition to the game on Saturday, which is expected to have an audience of roughly 40,000, there is a pre-game banquet that will feature 14-season NHL veteran Dennis Hull as a keynote speaker. Eaves said that between the Lambeau event and the NCAA Regional to be held there next month, there should be a big boost for the hockey community in football-crazy Green Bay.
"People outside of Green Bay don't understand
how long there has been successful pro and amateur hockey
there and how active the hockey community has been,"
Eaves said. "Green Bay has really done this event first
As for the product he's putting on the ice
versus the Buckeyes, Eaves acknowledged that his team is
still trying to weather a big storm. After a knee injury
suffered in practice this week, senior center Adam Burish
may join goaltender Brian Elliott on the injured list this
"If you're not on the inside and you
don't see what goes on in our locker room, you might say,
'They're done, they're toast,'" Eaves said. "We're
definitely persevering through some tough times, but we're
going to get an important member of our team back soon and
go from there."
The Badgers snapped a four-game skid last
Friday, winning 7-2 in Duluth before falling 4-1 in the
"Saturday night was shame on us,"
Eaves said. "We fell into that human nature trap of
feeling good about ourselves."
Weather forecasts this weekend have varied, with some predicting 40s and wet snow while others calling for colder weather. Eaves said he believes the latter and is looking forward to coaching with mittens and a red parka on.
"I heard it's going to be 22 with gusty
winds," he said. "It's going to be perfect."
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
Hold That Tiger: Colorado
College has lost five of its last six heading into this
weekend's series at St. Cloud State, while the Huskies have
won six in a row. That has the Tigers looking up at the
Huskies in the race for home ice in the playoffs. But while
some think that this is the perfect time for Bob Motzko's
club to play CC and put the Tigers behind them, the coach
sees it differently.
"I see it just the opposite. I think
this is the most dangerous time to play them," Motzko
said. "Brett Sterling's gone a few games without a
goal, but he's not going to not score. You're eventually
going to run out of weeks that you can say you kept him
Great Weekend Getaway
Minnesota at Michigan Tech (Fri.)
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Sat.) It will require a tank of gas, and possibly
some snow tires, but adventuresome college hockey
fans can catch two unique games in less than 24 hours
this weekend. Start in Houghton on Friday for the
opening game of Michigan Tech's annual Winter Carnival
series versus Minnesota. After a night of snow sculpture-related
revelry (and hopefully some sleep) hop in the car
for the 210-mile trek to Green Bay for the Frozen
Tundra Hockey Classic at Lambeau Field between Wisconsin
and Ohio State. The forecasts vary, but they all call
for one thing -- cold. Bundle up.
While You’re There: Ever wondered
what Bart Simpson would look like if he were carved
out of snow? You can find out this weekend at Michigan
Tech, as the school celebrates its annual and renowned
Winter Carnival. Elaborate snow sculptures centered
on the theme "Cartoon Art for the Young at Heart"
have been under construction all week. If you're not
making the trip and want a look at the goings-on anyway,
check out the school's live
Forks, "Youthquake '06" continues. Last
Friday the Sioux posted a rare win at Colorado Springs
World Arena, with freshmen Jonathon Toews,
T.J. Oshie and Ryan Duncan scoring three
of the team's four goals. Since winning a gold medal
with Team Canada at the World Juniors, Toews has had
a hot hand for North Dakota, and heads into their
final weekend off of the season with three goals in
his team's last five games.
applaud Minnesota Duluth for its 4-1 win last Saturday,
what happened in the final 40 minutes of the Friday
night contest with Wisconsin was painful to watch.
The Bulldogs trailed 2-1 after one period, and heard
famous alum Brett Hull implore them to "kick
some Badger butt!" in the conclusion of his number
retirement ceremony speech. Instead, the Bulldogs
allowed five goals on Wisconsin's final 19 shots in
an embarrassing 7-2 loss. Ouch.
The Huskies have moved into the upper half
of the WCHA standings via their three consecutive sweeps
of WCHA series. That's a feat the Huskies haven't accomplished
since November 2001, when players like Hartigan, DiCasmirro
and Malone were leading the way. As opposed to that superstar
system, the key for the Huskies in Motzko's first campaign
has been consistency.
"Our goal, as it has been from the start,
is still to get points every weekend, keep getting better
and stay off the rollercoaster," said Motzko. "If
you do that, you feel pretty good about yourself when you
get back to work on Monday."
It's worth noting that the only time this
season that the Huskies have been swept in a WCHA series
was at Colorado College in early November, so this weekend
provides the team with a chance at revenge.
"CC is one of the elite teams in the
country, so this should be a great test to see where we're
at right now," Motzko said. "We're going to see
if we've closed the gap at all."
As for the notion that with six wins in a row, the Huskies are peaking too soon, Motzko laughed and recalled predictions that his team would finish in the WCHA cellar.
"I don't think anyone thought we were
going to peak at all," Motzko said, with a chuckle.
"So this may have blindsided us as much as anyone.
Now we're in the hunt. I don't know for what, but we're
definitely in the hunt."
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• In a bit of an unexpected move, Minnesota
backup goaltender Jeff Frazee did not accompany the team
on its trip to Houghton for the Winter Carnival series versus
Michigan Tech. Frazee, a freshman who has started nine games
and is 4-2-2 thus far, was one of the most highly recruited
goalies in the nation last season while playing for the
USNTDP team in Ann Arbor. Frazee was left home for academic
reasons, and third-stringer Brett Solei will serve as Kellen
Brigg' backup this weekend.
• It was feast, then famine for Minnesota
State Mankato goaltender Dan Tormey during last weekend's
home split with Michigan Tech. On Friday the rookie collected
his second career shutout, blanking the Huskies, 4-0, with
26 saves. The next night was one of his more forgettable
outings as a collegian when Tech scored three goals on just
13 shots to beat the Mavericks, 3-2.
• Although it came to an end with Saturday's
3-2 win over North Dakota, the five-game losing streak endured
by Colorado College is a bad sign for Tiger fans hoping
to stay home for the playoffs. The last time the Tigers
lost five in a row, in the 2003-04 season, marked the only
time in the past dozen years that the Tigers have worn the
dark sweaters in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. They
went to Denver that year, and upset the Pioneers in two
• Here's a stat that doesn't look right:
heading into this weekend's series between the Pioneers
and Mavericks at Magness Arena, Minnesota State Mankato
leads the all time series with Denver 11-10-3. Even the
past two seasons, while the Pioneers were winning back-to-back
NCAA titles, they struggled to beat the Mavericks, and earlier
this season the Mavericks won and tied in Mankato.
• It's bad news, then worse news for
Alaska Anchorage fans. Since beating North Dakota 5-3 on
Jan. 6, the Seawolves have suffered a season-worst nine-game
winless streak (0-7-2) and are 0-4 since starting goaltender
Nathan Lawson went down with a knee injury in their 3-2
home loss to Denver on Jan. 27. They are off this weekend
before heading to Colorado College for a series on Feb.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report.