After leaving Wisconsin’s game Saturday night with an arm injury, freshman Matt Auffrey will be sidelined at least three to four weeks. He showed up at practice Monday with a cast on his arm but will hopefully be back on the ice quickly. In his place, sophomore Mark Heatley will step into the lineup.
“With Matt being out, Mr. Heatley gets a chance to, you know, he’s going to have three or four weeks there to really show what he can do,” Eaves said.
Auffrey who has two goals and two assists in six games has stepped in right away in his first year of competition and has become a key part of the power-play. He will join fellow freshmen Matt Ford and Josh Engel on the injured list.
Brückler will come around: As an All-American goaltender last season, Bernd Brückler set single season records in both goals against average (2.09) and save percentage (.924) in having one of the best seasons in Wisconsin history. This season however, things have not started off nearly as well for Brückler this season. He currently sports a 3.28 GAA and a .876 save percentage, far below his career averages.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “I think that if we took a look at the numbers from last year at this time and they’re primarily the same, and then he got in that groove.”
A year ago Brückler’s start was nearly as slow as he gave up 3.00 goals per game during the first month of the season while going just 2-3. Throughout the rest of the season though, Brückler held the Badgers’ opponents to 2 or fewer goals in 22 of his last 33 games.
“As athletes and as people we go through this flow and ebb,” Eaves said. “He may be down a little bit, but he’s getting ready to come up and get on top of his game again.”
While Brückler gave up five goals in the loss Saturday night, he made some of the big saves that the Badger coaches are used to seeing out of their goaltender.
“His performance in the second period when we were in our zone and he was getting peppered, he looked like the Bernd of old,” Eaves said. “I think that we look at that as an indication that good things are going to happen for him.”
UW scoring on power play: The Badgers’ power-play has been clicking all season long providing 13 goals thus far in 51 chances. The 25.5 conversion rate ranks Wisconsin sixth in the nation.
“All the things are there, I think, the ability, getting them on the same page and them taking advantage of it,” Eaves said.
With Wisconsin scoring nearly half of their goals on the power-play, the offense has been built around special teams play.
“That’s something you can build on,” Eaves said. “So [the power-play] has been a factor for us. And we can do better.”