Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW jumps back into WCHA mix

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After playing 10
consecutive games against ranked opponents, the University of Wisconsin men's
hockey team finished the tough stretch on a high note with a pair of home wins
over St. Cloud State this past weekend. The Badgers now sit in the middle of
the WCHA pack, tied for sixth place in the conference and 12 points behind the
leader, Colorado College, with four fewer games played. Considering the youth
of the roster, head coach Mike Eaves is pleased with his team's position.

"Right before
Christmastime, we want to be in the thick of things," Eaves said during a press
conference Monday. "Because we are so young, that would be a good place to be
because we would expect that the second half, based on our experiences, would
be a better place to find that consistency level."

Having played such
a daunting schedule early in the season, Eaves believes having exposure to
top-notch teams has given the young Badgers a chance to sharpen their skills
and gain experience.

"Seeing firsthand
the level of play that you have to compete against at the top level in that the
pace, the strength, the skill, the way the teams played tenaciously and played
together, those are things that you can talk about in practice," Eaves said.
"You can try to simulate, but to actually go and walk through the fire, you're
going to afford yourself to be a better team based on those things. So
hopefully, that has happened for us."



Turris gets back
on track

After experiencing
some struggles following his hot start to the beginning of his collegiate
career, freshman Kyle Turris broke his nine-game scoreless streak with a goal
Saturday night.

To help the
freshman shed the slump, Eaves had Turris play on two shifts, the first and
fourth lines.

"When a young man
is going through a slump, you want to give him opportunities to get out of that
slump, so by doing what we did this past weekend, him scoring is a good sign,"
Eaves said. "In a game filled with paw-playing and penalty-killing, you need to
involve them because they are going to get cold on the bench."

During the time
Turris was held in check, sophomore Blake Geoffrion picked up some of the
scoring load for Wisconsin, especially this past weekend when he collected four
points. Currently, Geoffrion has two multi-point games this season, one of
which came Saturday night against the Huskies.

"I think it is
interesting that he is being productive on an offensive scale when really he
has been asked to play against another teams' best line to shut them down,"
Eaves said. "For him, good defense leads to offense, but you can see the
confidence growing in him especially when he is holding onto the puck, making
good decisions and taking what is given when it is there."


Badgers defense
slowing down pace

After watching the
team's defensemen play an aggressive attacking game earlier in the season,
Eaves is pleased with improvements the unit has shown in making sure it doesn't
push too far up the ice.

"We're getting
better at it. We look at it, we use the term we want to get balance in our
attack," Eaves said. "And by having our defensemen up there along with three
forwards below the tops and circle does not present a lot of balance. We want
our defensemen to be up on the play, and if they are, then we need a forward to
give that attack balance by staying back a little bit."
The more defensive-minded approach should help the team that leads the WCHA in
goals allowed this season.

"We can get up and
down the ice," Eaves said. "It's finding that balance so you can do both."


Power play
having difficulty

Wisconsin continued its power play struggles this weekend,
unable to net a goal on any of its four opportunities with the man-advantage.

According to Eaves, the biggest problem is lack of
opportunities and with that, repetition.
"This past weekend, we only get four power plays. … We never got any rhythm at
all on our power play this weekend. And when we did get out there, it looked
like we had worked on it, and we know very well that we had," Eaves said.

For the season the Badgers are converting at a respectable
21.5 percent of their power play chances. It’s the struggles of late that are
the concern.

mean, we're going to continue to work on it," Eaves said. "We have switched
personnel in the last two weekends, and we will continue to do what we do based
on our opposition, but it'll come around. I have no doubt about that."

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