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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Skille-ful performance salvages series split for UW

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]MH-vs-MSU-049-JS[/media-credit]In a weekend of must-win games for the Badgers as the team desperately tries to get back into the postseason race, the end result could easily be labeled a disappointment. After being embarrassed by visiting Minnesota State the night before, the Badgers literally didn't go down without a fight Saturday, as Wisconsin won 4-1 a night after losing 3-1.

Game two of the weekend series saw 108 penalty minutes and a five-minute brawl in the second period, with the main highlight being Jack Skille's first career hat trick.

After registering only four shots on goal in the first period Friday night, the Badgers came out swinging, firing 17 shots on goal in the first period. Freshman Michael Davies got Wisconsin on the scoreboard first, scoring on a wrap-around goal, beating Mankato goalie Mike Zacharias for the 1-0 lead.


With time winding down in the second period, the controversy started.

With the puck trickling out of Wisconsin's own zone, assistant captain Jake Dowell, seeing Skille start to break down ice, left his skates and used his stick to poke the puck ahead to his teammate.

As he broke down ice with defenseman Chad Brownlee on his back, Skille lost control of the puck, tripped Brownlee with his stick, which left him wide-open to backhand the puck past Zacharias for the Badgers second score of the evening.

"It was pretty obvious what happened and it was pretty much the ref's digression," Brownlee said. "If he didn't see it, I am sure that's why he didn't call it."

A minute later, the melee began.

Freshman Blake Geoffrion was checked hard into the boards in front of Minnesota State's bench and took exception. Separate fights broke out all over the ice between the two teams, including a verbal shouting and finger-pointing confrontation between the teams' two head coaches.

When everything got sorted out, 72 minutes and six misconduct penalties were handed out, with three players — including Minnesota State's leading scorer Travis Morin — from each team heading to the box.

After Minnesota State cut the Badger lead to one, Skille buried his second goal of the night when he was left wide-open in front of the net. The sophomore completed his hat trick with under a minute remaining with an empty netter, off a feed pass from Captain Andrew Joudrey, sending Badger hats flying onto the ice.

"That was a pretty generous pass for Joudrey," Skille said. "I can't remember the last time I had a hat trick."

Shane Connelly stopped 17 of 18 shots on the evening for the win in his first start since Dec. 31. On the season, the sophomore goalie is 3-0-1 in his four starts.

"I see him stopping more pucks, whether it's breakaways or drills," UW head coach Mike Eaves said. "His teammates will tell you that it's harder and harder to score pucks on him."

The victory was a total turnaround for the Badgers after a dismal game the night before.

"We went out there and played relentless from the start," Skille said. "We had a great start to the game and played the full 60 minutes."

Wisconsin wasn't as fortunate Friday night, playing a lifeless 60 minutes en route to an embarrassing 3-1 loss to the Mavericks.

Despite being near the bottom in conference, Minnesota State outworked, out-hustled and dictated the entire game against the Badgers. The Mavericks got two of their three goals from their freshmen wings, as Geoff Irwin and Kael Mouillierat scored big goals in a hostile environment to put State in a four-way tie for sixth in conference.

"They were strong and scored two huge goals for us," Minnesota State head coach Troy Jutting said. "When you get two freshmen to score goals on the road in a big game, they are big goals."

Even when the Badgers were doing things right, State found a way to put points on the board. Off a perfectly executed block by Andrew Joudrey, the puck caromed right back to the shooter, assistant captain Steve Wagner, who fired the rebound past Elliott.

"[The Mavericks] really collapse[d] to the net when the puck came out," Eaves added. "They were getting in the shooting lanes with the puck and we weren't able to get them in."

Wisconsin sophomore Ben Street removed some of the embarrassment from the Badgers' night when he scored his sixth goal of the season off a rebound in front of the net, but it proved to be too little, too late for the Badgers.

On the weekend, the Badgers went 0-for-11 on the power play and at times, failed to develop any rhythm on the man advantage. With a road series at Colorado College next weekend, converting on the power play will be at the top of Wisconsin's wish list.

"The power play wasn't going very well but [the production] is coming," Dowell said.

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