So. | F | Los Angeles, Calif.
according to his coach, plays like a power forward and
has shown the ability to take over a game on his own.
Statistics: Wisconsin’s top freshman point-getter
with 14 goals and 13 assists last season; led the Badgers
in power-play goals (6) and game-winning goals (3); has the
only hat trick by a Badger at the Kohl Center since the building
opened in 1998.
He Does: Then-No. 1 North Dakota got an up-close
definition of the term “impact freshman” last
Feb. 6, when Earl all but single-handedly turned a sure Sioux
win into an overtime loss. North Dakota had a commanding 3-0
lead before Earl scored in the second period, third period
and overtime in Wisconsin’s 4-3 win. On a team with
heralded rookies like Ryan Suter, Jeff Likens, Mark Heatley
and Ross Carlson, Earl’s one-man show got him included
on that night’s ESPN SportsCenter highlights package.
Bigger Picture: Badgers’ skipper Mike Eaves
coached Earl with the National Development Team before the
pair migrated to Madison. He raves about Earl’s low
center of gravity, which “allows Robbie to play a power
forward type of game, and gives him the ability to pop guys
in order to get to the puck.” That power game helped
get the Badgers to within an overtime goal of the Frozen Four
last year. If Earl’s game can take the next step that
his coach expects this season, Wisconsin fans may party like
it’s 1992 (the year of the Badgers’ last Frozen
Tech coach Jamie Russell on Earl: "When we play
Wisconsin, you’ve got to look at your matchups on every
shift that he’s out there and be aware of what he’s
doing. Robbie plays both ends of the rink at full speed."