look at what happened last Friday in Madison as a turning point
in the Wisconsin Badgers’ season. But according to coach
Mike Eaves, the turnaround had begun six days earlier.
the Badgers trailed North Dakota (the nation’s top-ranked
team at the time) 3-0 in the second period of Friday’s game
at the Kohl Center, and appeared headed for their sixth loss in
their previous eight games.
certainly wasn’t the start we wanted, and I was disappointed
with the response on the bench,” said Eaves. “But
we wanted to just keep pecking away and try to get one back. That
doesn’t happen very often against a great team like North
began with a Robbie Earl goal that got the Badgers on the board,
but with less than 10 minutes to play in the game and the Sioux
on a power play, it was still 3-1 North Dakota and all appeared
lost for the home club. That’s when questions about North
Dakota’s goaltending, which had been dormant for a while,
flared up again. Sioux netminder Jake Brandt tried to play the
puck and mishandled it, leading to an easy put-back goal by Andrew
Joudrey, and re-igniting the Kohl Center crowd. Post-game comments
by Sioux coach Dean Blais to the Grand Forks Herald made
it clear that the coach was a bit steamed by Brandt’s blunder.
he had to do was stay in the net with a two-goal lead, but Jake
found a way to botch it,” Blais told Herald reporter
Virg Foss. “You don't have to come out and play aggressive.
After that, he wasn't the same. He was rattled. The next two goals,
he should have had.”
The next two
goals both came from Earl, who tied the game with 1:01 to play
and won it on the only shot of overtime. It was a nice renaissance
for Earl, a freshman from Los Angeles who was rumored to be unhappy
after Eaves elected not to take him to Finland for the World Junior
a natural goal scorer and a point-getter, but he’s certainly
been going through some life lessons in the past little while,”
said Eaves. “What’s nice is that all through the little
funk he’s been in, he’s been working hard and has
always played with great effort and determination.”
with a sellout crowd of 15,000-plus on hand, the Badgers completed
the sweep, winning 5-2 despite being out-shot 43-23. Brandt finished
the game for the Sioux after Jordan Parise gave up three goals
on five Wisconsin shots in the second period and got the hook
from Blais. But Eaves said that his team wasn’t out-played
as badly as the stats might have indicated.
on goal can be deceptive,” he said. “If you look at
the scoring chances instead, they had a few more, but it was pretty
close to even.”
So did the
Friday night rally signal a turning point for Wisconsin? Eaves
said he thinks the rally began in earnest during a loss in Minneapolis.
real turning point was the Saturday night game in Minnesota,”
said Eaves, recalling his team’s 3-2 loss to the Gophers.
“We played well on the road and gave ourselves a chance
to win, so that was big for us.”
If the Badgers
are to land a spot among the top three in the WCHA this season,
the four points and the incalculable confidence they earned last
weekend might turn out to be pretty big as well.
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
for a Night, Rivals Forever – Ryan
Malone and Paul Martin were bitter college rivals when the former
skated for St. Cloud State and the latter manned the blue line
for Minnesota. Today, they’re NHL rivals with Malone skating
for his hometown Pittsburgh Penguins and Martin cracking the lineup
with the New Jersey Devils.
But for one
night, the hockey equivalent of dogs and cats living together
happened, as Martin and Malone teamed up for the East squad in
the NHL YoungStars Game last Saturday in St. Paul.
to remind Ryan that we’re on the same team now, so he doesn’t
have to hit me,” joked Martin before the game. “I
just wanted to come here and try not to get beat too bad.”
their time as WCHA rivals, Malone denied ever intentionally roughing
up Martin on the ice.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Minnesota Duluth (Fri.-Sat.) This is one of those classic “something’s
gotta give” weekends, when two red-hot teams face
off. The Bulldogs own the nation’s longest unbeaten
streak (9-0-1) while the Gophers have gone 9-1-0 over the
same stretch. Each team has a hot goalie. Each team has
a Hobey candidate who is bilingual. History favors the Gophers,
who hold a 118-61-10 all-time mark versus UMD, but more
recent history swings the way of the Bulldogs, who have
beaten Minnesota the last three times they’ve played.
After UMD swept the Gophers in Minneapolis in October, it
would be logical to envision another Bulldogs sweep, what
with UMD playing at home and all. But Minnesota was a different
team back then, and it should be noted that only once in
recent memory (1993) were the Bulldogs able to sweep the
Gophers in Duluth. Add all that up, and you’ve got
two teams as close to dead-even as you can be. In the words
of Jack Morris quoting Marvin Gaye: “Let’s get
You’re There: For the first time in the last three
winters, there’s abundant snow on the ground in Minnesota.
That makes Saturday the perfect time to ski the North Shore
of Lake Superior. Within the city of Duluth is Spirit
Mountain, which is one of the state’s better resorts
and offers a great view of the harbor from the top of the
hill. Another nearby option is Mont
Du Lac in Superior, a smaller hill that’s perfect
for beginners. If you’re more adventuresome, make
the scenic 90-mile drive up the shore to Lutsen
Mountains, for the best skiing available between Vermont
Michigan Tech’s Chris Conner. After
scoring a shorty against St. Cloud State last weekend, he
now has seven shorthanded goals this year – just three
short of the national single-season record of 10 held by
John Madden of Michigan. And Conner’s 10 career shorthanded
goals are just one short of tying the Tech career record
of 11 held by Al Radke.
the rest of the Michigan Tech Huskies.
If you’re looking to get out of the league cellar
and make a late-season push, being a virtual no-show at
home in your Winter Carnival series before a big, encouraging
crowd is no way to do it. Maybe coach Russell will deliver
some inspiring words of wisdom on the long journey to Anchorage.
was always pretty tough to hit anyway,” Malone said, with
In the second
period of the game, Malone scored a goal, with Martin getting
an assist, but their efforts fell short as the West won 7-3.
TO PICK UP AFTER PRACTICE
weekend, for only the second time this season, Los Angeles Kings
coach Andy Murray got to see his son, Brady, play in person. The
elder Murray used the NHL All-Star break as a chance to fly to
Madison to see Brady’s North Dakota squad
face Wisconsin. “I thought he was average
on Friday, but the whole team dominated on Saturday,” said
Andy after Wisconsin beat the Sioux twice. “He’s having
a lot of fun, and getting to play a lot.”
reason for Minnesota State, Mankato’s struggles
this season may have something to do with how well the Mavericks
have gotten to know the inside of the penalty box. Heading into
their series at Denver this weekend, the Mavs
are averaging 20 penalty minutes per game, which is about the
only place where MSU is leading the WCHA.
1992’s famed Olympic Triplecast was one of the great busts
in broadcasting history (to recap, NBC got about a dozen people
to subscribe to three pay-per-view channels that broadcast every
minute of every sport from the Barcelona summer games) folks in
Colorado and North Dakotaare hoping the college
hockey triplecast will do a little better. The games from this
Friday’s Colorado College at North
Dakota game can be seen in Colorado Springs on cable
channel 32, in Grand Forks on channel 23 and nation-wide on CSTV.
So much for the college game being under-exposed.
the past decade, Alaska Anchorage has had a reputation
of playing stingy defense and even stingier offense. The 1997-98
Seawolves averaged little more than a goal a game for the season,
notching just 45 in 28 WCHA games. So the fact that the Seawolves
have three players with 10 or more goals this season is big news
in Alaska. Doyle Woody of the Anchorage Daily News points
out that with Curtis Glencross (13), Dallas Steward (11) and Chris
Fournier (10) all in double figures, it marks the first time in
nearly a decade that the team has had such a prolific trio. The
1994-95 campaign was the last time three Seawolves put up double
digits in goals.
owner of the WCHA’s best non-conference record sits in eighth
place in the league with a month left in the regular season. Denver
has been mediocre in the conference, but the Pioneers
were a perfect 10-0-0 versus non-conference opponents this season.
The Pioneers notched wins over Ohio State, Wayne State, Air Force,
Nebraska-Omaha, Niagara, Findlay and scored two-game sweeps over
Northeastern and St. Lawrence. That solid non-conference record
might be a reason why Denver is still tied for 11th in the national
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.