Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Badgers drop pair to Gophers

The No. 7 Wisconsin men’s ice hockey team went into hostile territory against No. 5 Minnesota at the Mariucci Arena over the weekend. The rankings would prove to be deserved, as Minnesota prevailed 4-2 Friday and 3-2 Saturday. The Badgers won the first border battle between the two teams in mid-November at the Kohl Center, beating the Gophers 4-3 and tying them 3-3. Head coach Mike Eaves’ squad had high hopes for this weekend as well, but this time around, things did not quite pan out.

“This is the team that we saw on paper at the beginning of the year,” Eaves said.

The Badgers came into Mariucci Arena as cold as the sub-arctic temperatures outside the Arena. After losing Friday, Wisconsin regrouped on Saturday and gave defending national champion Minnesota all it could handle. UW wound up losing the game 3-2 but held a 1-0 lead in the first and then a 2-1 lead in the second.

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The Badgers took the lead a little over nine minutes into the first period when AJ Degenhardt caught the Gophers off guard. Degenhardt broke away from the Gophers’ defense with a pass from Adam Burish, juked twice and slid the puck past Briggs’ left leg pad.

The Badgers were only able to maintain their lead for about seven minutes. Minnesota center Jerrid Reinholz made a wrap-around pass to Chris Harrington who roofed the puck on Bernd Bruckler to tie the game.

“They move the puck very well and they create chances,” Bruckler said. “Every time they crash the net. It makes it tough on my defensemen and myself.”

UW drew first blood in the second period as well. Rene Bourque broke down the right side of Minnesota’s zone and backhanded a shot that rebounded off Briggs to John Eichelberger, who capitalized for Wisconsin’s second and last goal of the night. Three minutes latter Briggs sent an outlet pass to left winger Jon Waibel who executed a picturesque give-and-go with teammate Keith Ballard and proceeded to backhand the puck past Bernd Bruckler, tying the game at two.

Minnesota scored their third and final goal three minutes into the third period. Gopher forward Garrett Smaagaard pushed the puck past Badger defenders into the middle of the ice where Jerrid Reinholz one-timed the pass past Bruckler for the game-winner. Minnesota proceeded to lock down their defense and only allowed one Wisconsin shot on goal in the third period. The final result was 3-2 Minnesota.

“We pride ourselves on defense,” UW senior captain Dan Boeser said. “We had the lead. It hurts a little bit… We didn’t capitalize tonight.”

The Gophers dominated the Badgers in the first period of Friday night’s game, attempting 32 shots compared to a mere nine from Wisconsin.

The first goal of the game came at 14:20 into the first period. The Gophers were on the power play when center Gino Guyer sailed a wrist shot toward the net, which took an odd bounce off of teammate Barry Tallackson and wound up on the stick of sophomore Tyler Hirsch. UW goaltender Bernd Bruckler lost sight of the puck in the confusion and Hirsch easily put the puck into an open net, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

Just over three minutes later the Gophers scored their second goal. With Minnesota again on the power play, captain Keith Ballard set up and took a slap shot from the high slot that Bruckler was able to kick save. Unfortunately for Bruckler the puck rebounded right to Minnesota’s Troy Riddle who slipped it into the net.

The second period went much better for the Badgers, though they were still out shot ten to five. The only goal of the period came on a Wisconsin breakaway. Minnesota’s left-winger Thomas Vanek, one of the nation’s top college players, entered the Wisconsin zone and dropped a pass to Ballard. Wisconsin center Andrew Joudrey was able to poke check the puck away from Ballard and sent a pass up ice to a wide open Rene Bourque who slipped the puck through the five-hole of Minnesota’s net minder Kellen Briggs.

The Badgers were unable to carry the momentum from the second period into the third.

Another Badger penalty resulted in Minnesota’s third goal of the game when Keith Ballard wound up and shot a one-timer top shelf past a screened Bruckler. The Gophers nailed the Badgers coffin shut with their fourth goal. During four-on-four action Vanek sent a cross-ice pass to Jake Fleming who put the puck in the net and the game away.

The Badgers scored a consolation goal with less than a minute left in the third. Jeff Likens streaked in from the point and shelved a wrist shot to make the end score Friday night 4-2 Minnesota.

Things will not get any easier for the struggling Badgers, as No. 1 North Dakota is next on the docket.

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