Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers look to bite Bulldogs, snap four-game slide

The way Ross Carlson sees it, this weekend's matchup will be a battle between two wounded animals.

The Badgers, who had only two losses to their record just three weeks ago, have dropped four straight home games, though all four losses have come against the two teams now tied atop the WCHA standings.

The Bulldogs of Minnesota-Duluth come in on an even greater skid, having lost their last six games, none of which were against top teams in the league. Instead, Duluth has fallen to the top three teams of the lower half of the standings.


Still, it is clear that both teams will be hungry at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center this weekend.

"It's like a wounded dog," Carlson said. "If you have a wounded dog out there they're going to bite, so you have to watch out when they do bite."

For Carlson, the weekend will be a sentimental one. It always is when the UW winger goes back to his hometown of Duluth, Minn. to play in front of the family and friends that supported him and Nick Licari when they were part of a great run of hockey at Duluth East High School.

But this weekend will be even more special, as Carlson and Licari, who played on the same line back in high school, will likely get to do the same in their last trip home together as Badgers.

"It'll be really sentimental. Coach does have us on the same line right now, which is pretty awesome in itself," Carlson said. "Hopefully, it will turn out the way we want it to."

"We've had them play together before and they enjoy playing together. They have some chemistry…so I'm hoping that will excite them going back and playing together," UW head coach Mike Eaves said. "It's like old golf pros going back and playing the course they grew up on."

To understand the meaning behind the trip home, one must realize the two have been playing at the DECC since they were teenagers. They played peewee games in the building adjacent to Duluth's stadium and skated inside the arena — often selling it out — when they were in high school.

"I still think of it as my high school rink," Licari said. "I still remember scoring a lot of big goals and winning a lot of big games in there."

They both had interesting, and different, memories of their favorite games at the DECC. It's no surprise that Carlson — who could probably be described as the "class clown" of the team — picked a memory out of left field.

"[It was] Duluth East against Moorhead, and I had two double cheeseburgers before the game and I went and scored four goals, so that's one of the best games I had," Carlson said.

While he found a way to have success with the grease balled up in his stomach, he said it wasn't a trend that stuck with him down the road.

"I [tried it again] after that, but it didn't work out the rest of the way," he said.

Licari picked out a less surprising and more meaningful game from back at Duluth East.

"There's a lot of them," Licari said. "[There] was a big game against Greenway, which was the team that [future Minnesota Gophers] Gino Guyer and Andy Sertich played for. We beat them 5-2 at a sold-out barn."

Carlson and Licari will try to help add to their Duluth legacy by helping the Badgers bust their slump this weekend.

But while it will be an extra-special trip home for them, Eaves' squad has probably never been happier about getting away from home and a sold-out Kohl Center than they are this weekend.

Not only did it provide a stressful couple weekends for Shane Connelly, who played his first four college games in net over the recent stretch, but the Badgers have played exceptionally well on the road this season.

"It's a different type of mindset that you have when you go on the road," Eaves said. "You simplify, expectations are a little less and guys know they can win on the road. The change will be nice."

And though the Badgers know that nothing comes easy in the WCHA, it bodes well for them that they are taking on the ninth-place Bulldogs, who are eighth in the league in scoring with 2.75 goals per game and ninth in defense, allowing more than 3.5 goals per contest.

Come Monday, the world should know a few more details about the league. One, whether the Badgers will get back on track in their bid for the MacNaughton Cup. And two, which wounded animal bites harder: a Badger or a Bulldog.

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