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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW recovers from sweep

Oftentimes, after a big loss or tough weekend, players will talk about putting their struggles behind them and move on.

For men's hockey coach Mike Eaves, this is not one of those times for his No. 2-ranked Badgers.

"They won't see the big picture right today," Eaves said after Saturday night's 4-2 loss, which completed a road sweep for Denver. "But that's the message that eventually they'll understand as we go into practice the next week and go into the next series. They'll be more readily acceptable of that thought process and we'll preach it because it's the truth.


"We will be a better team because of who we played and how we played."

Eaves elaborated on that Monday, making it clear that he wants his players to remember this experience and put it to use later on down the road.

"By no means do we want to drop what happened last weekend," Eaves said at Monday's press conference. "We want to learn our lessons."

Through great goaltending, success on the power play and energy on the ice, Denver clearly showed why it is the two-time defending national champion.

But just as the Badgers learned their lesson against a veteran team in the NCAA tournament a year ago, in a 4-1 opening round loss to a veteran Michigan team, they will try to do the same again in the weeks ahead.

"We want to take those lessons that we learned playing against that type of team. That's a regional tournament game right there — those two games," Eaves said. "If we can take those lessons and move forward and learn from them, that will help us determine how good we'll be at the end of the year."

Helping the Badgers' cause will be the fact that, one year later, the Badgers are no longer a young team hoping to learn from older squads.

This time around they are one of those veteran groups, and a group that has shown its capabilities as far as learning from all of the experiences it has encountered.

"If I do a quick inventory of the lessons that we've learned, I would say this is a pretty good group," Eaves said. "I think because it's an upper-classmen team that applies to their ability to take the lessons and put them into action pretty quickly."

Badgers drop to No. 2: After seven-straight weeks atop the rankings, Wisconsin fell to the second spot Monday. Boston College assumed the throne, receiving 27 of the 40 first-place votes.

UW received 11 first-place votes while No. 3 Vermont received two. Minnesota and Cornell rounded out the top five.

Connelly gains valuable experience: While freshman goalie Shane Connelly's debut weekend left him with two losses, he could not be displeased by his effort.

Stepping in for the injured Brian Elliott, Connelly made 21 saves in his first official start as a Badger and came back with 19 in Saturday's loss, a game in which he allowed four goals, but only one of them came during even-strength play.

"The biggest positive is that he actually got in two games that were big games in the matter of sellout crowds, and he actually looked pretty good," Eaves said. "He would tell you that he would want another chance at a couple of those goals, but that's all a part of his process in moving things forward."

Eaves had the same message for his young goaltender as he had for his entire team heading into this weekend and the rest of the season.

"He's going to be a better goaltender this weekend because of this past weekend," Eaves said.

Connelly is expected to start against the Gophers this weekend, as Elliott continues to sit out due to a left leg injury he suffered in practice last week. Eaves said last week that he expects Elliott to be out 3-4 weeks.

Upon further evaluation: After reviewing film from last weekend's series with Denver, Eaves said the numbers — as far as scoring chances — were in his team's favor in both losses.

Of course, Denver had a difference-maker each night. On Friday night, it was the effort of junior goalie Glenn Fisher. Saturday night the Pioneers did their damage on the power play.

"We out-chanced that team both nights," Eaves said. "They only had [even-strength] scoring chances Saturday night. Eight of their 13 scoring chances came on the power play. The power play was the difference in goals scored."
Eaves was also pleased with the physical effort of the Badgers over the weekend.

"We had 83 hits Saturday night — the most of the season," he said. "It was one of those [weekends] where they played great road games, they got excellent goaltending. Probably Friday night, as [Fisher] said, he stole that game from us looking at the scoring chances."

But hits, scoring chances and other statistics are not the most telling numbers, as the Badgers walked away with two losses — doubling their season total.

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