December 26, 2004
Badger Hockey Showdown

Kohl Center • Madison, Wis.

Holiday Tournament Preview

This week's schedule
National TV Schedule

Holiday Tournament Previews
Florida College Classic
Great Lakes Invitational
Ledyard National Bank Classic
Ohio Hockey Classic
UConn Hockey Classic
Wells Fargo Denver Cup
Dodge Holiday Classic


Friday, December 31
Clarkson vs. Ferris State, 5:05 p.m. ET
Yale at Wisconsin, 8:05 p.m. ET

Saturday, January 1
Third-Place Game, 5:05 p.m. ET
Championship Game, 8:05 p.m. ET


Ferris State, in the midst of an otherwise unspectacular season, ended Wisconsin’s 15-game unbeaten streak to take the title, 3-1. Tournament MVP Mike Brown made 38 saves in the championship game, which was marred by some ugliness late – six players were assessed a total of 84 penalty minutes with 30 seconds remaining in the third period. The Badgers played without head coach Mike Eaves and several key players who were overseas at the World Junior Championship.


This marks just the second time in the 16 years of the Badger Hockey Showdown that a team other than Wisconsin has an opportunity to defend its title from the year before. North Dakota, which won the championship in 1999, returned the next season only to lose to Boston University in the first round (the Terriers beat Wisconsin for the title that year). No team has won the Badger Showdown in back-to-back years since Wisconsin in 2003-04.


The Showdown’s first game could prove to be a goaltenders’ duel, with Clarkson and Ferris State both led by experienced goaltenders. The Bulldogs’ Brown showed his ability at the Kohl Center last season, while Clarkson junior Dustin Traylen has sparkled on an otherwise disappointing Golden Knight team this season. Traylen’s play down the stretch was a big reason Clarkson reached last year’s conference title game in Albany, and he’s been solid in the first half of 2004-05 (2.68 GAA, .907).

Yale, while bringing in the worst record in college hockey, at least plays an entertaining style. Beneficiaries of the Bulldogs’ wide-open game include Christian Jensen (seven goals) and Brad Mills (12 points) – although, it should be noted, opposing teams benefit even more. To the tune of 5.17 goals per game.

That sound you just heard was Robbie Earl licking his chops. He’s a dynamic offensive player, just the type who can feast on Yale’s shortcomings, and he’s got a point to prove. Earl could be in North Dakota right now playing for the U.S. National Junior Team, but instead will lead the Badger offense.


It’s a deep year in the ECACHL, with five teams in the INCH Power Rankings, so it would appear to be an opportune time to catch two conference teams in one holiday tournament. Alas, you have to sink to serious depths to find Clarkson and Yale, who sit at 11th and 12th in the league. Neither would seem to be a threat to win two games in Madison. Ferris State has shown the potential to surprise – a 1-0 win over Michigan is among its wins this year – but the Bulldogs have only put back-to-back wins together once, and that was a series sweep of Connecticut. Everything, from their strong first half, to the home-ice advantage, to Earl and freshman Kyle Klubertanz not being in Grand Forks, points to a tournament title for the Badgers.

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