Badger Hockey Showdown
Center • Madison, Wis.
Lake Superior State vs. Providence, 5 p.m.
Clarkson at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 30
Lake Superior State/Providence vs. Clarkson, 5 p.m.
Lake Superior State/Providence at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.
TV: MyMadison TV will carry Saturday's second
Northern Michigan continued its tradition
of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride
in this holiday clash, as Wisconsin beat the Wildcats
5-1 in the title game. It was the fourth time in the
previous 13 tournaments that the Badgers had beaten
Northern for the title. The Wildcats got to the finals
with a 6-2 tournament-opening win over Wayne State,
while Wisconsin beat Western Michigan 4-1 in round
one. Wayne State rebounded to beat Western 6-3 for
third place. Badger goalie Brian Elliott faced just
37 shots, total, in the two games, stopping 35 of
them en route to earning MVP honors.
Notre Dame surrendered 18 goals in
two games during the first Badger Hockey Showdown,
held at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center in 1989.
The Irish, who were in the early stages of their return
to D-I hockey at the time and were playing as an independent,
lost 9-3 to Wisconsin in the tournament’s second
game, and fell 9-1 to Minnesota Duluth in the third-place
game. The Irish defenders cut their goals-against
in half in the school’s second Badger Hockey
Showdown appearance, in 1995. Notre Dame upended the
host Badgers 3-2 in the opener before falling 7-3
to Boston University in the title game.
Overlooked in the CCHA among all the
hype about Indiana’s only college hockey team
and its resurgence has been the quietly solid season
that Lake State is having. The Lakers head to Madison
on a 5-1-2 tear and boast the tournament’s top
goalie (sorry, Badger fans) in senior Jeff Jakaitis.
Clarkson features the tournament’s most prolific
scorer in junior Steve Zalewski, and it appears that
the Golden Knights match up well with host Wisconsin
in round one. Both feature top-notch goaltending but
the fact that two talented Badger forwards (Jack Skille
and Blake Geoffrion) are toiling for Team USA in Sweden
does not bode well for a club that’s struggled
to score all season. Seemingly overmatched Providence
has lost three in a row and has won just twice since
Nov. 1. The Friars have scored eight goals in the
two wins, and a total of eight goals in the seven
HOW WE SEE IT
Lake State looks to us like a team eager
to prove it belongs in the room with the contenders.
The opener is a perfect chance for the Lakers to flex
some muscle versus a Providence team that brings many,
many questions to the Kohl Center. As much as we respect
the host Badgers historical success in their own tourney
(they’ve won nine of the previous 17) we don’t
see them having enough offense, especially with Skille
gone, to stay with Clarkson in the second game on
Friday. Look for Wisconsin to rebound on Saturday
and handily beat Providence for third place. It will
be an evenly-matched title game, with Clarkson’s
scorers having to find a way past Jakaitis to get
the crown. We don’t see that happening and can
envision a few boos from Badger fans (still bitter
about that controversial loss in the 1992 NCAA title
game) as the Lakers hoist the trophy on Saturday.
— Jess Myers