Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin hockey continues road woes in Mankato

MANKATO, Minn. — The Wisconsin men’s hockey team hadn’t won
on the road all season. On top of that, it had a bad history playing at the
Alltel Center, with just a 4-7-1 all-time record entering their series with
Minnesota State.

Neither of those fortunes changed for the Badgers over the
weekend, however, as they lost 3-1 Friday and skated to a 1-1 tie Saturday.

Coming into the weekend series, Wisconsin (7-7-2, 4-5-1
WCHA) was a team playing with confidence, having just swept St. Cloud State at
home last weekend. The Mavericks (5-6-3, 3-6-3 WCHA) came in near the bottom of
the conference standings, sitting ahead of just lowly Alaska-Anchorage.

Unfortunately for the Badgers,
games aren’t played on paper.

Minnesota State jumped on the board first Saturday night
after Wisconsin goaltender Shane Connelly gave up a rebound and was unable to
corral the puck. The Mavericks’ Joel Hanson picked up the rebound and snuck it
past Connelly, who was out of position after the initial shot. The puck bounced
off UW defenseman Jamie McBain and into the net, giving MSU a 1-0 lead just
minutes into the game.

"I didn’t really get beat on it," Connelly said. "It was
just a rebound and kind of a fluke one."


Connelly would calm down after looking a bit rattled early
on. The junior netminder played confidently the rest of the game, stopping 29
of the 30 shots he faced during the night.

"A lot of times there were good shots, but the ‘D’ did a
good job of keeping guys to the outside," Connelly said. "They had a few good
odd-man rushes and one (save) I wasn’t supposed to make, I kind of fell over. …
We kind of got lucky there."

Neither team managed to score in the second period despite
several power play opportunities for each team.

Wisconsin’s best chance to score came midway through the
period after Minnesota State’s Brian Kilburg was called for elbowing. Freshman
Kyle Turris took a nice pass at the blue line, split a pair of Mavericks
defenders and fired a shot that clanked off the post.

The Badgers finally broke through in the third period on a
Jamie McBain slapshot. McBain took a centering pass from Turris and fired a
shot from the point that found its way past MSU’s Mike Zacharias, evening the
game at 1-1.

"I got the puck, saw the opening and just took the
opportunity to shoot," McBain said. "That’s what we’ve got to do more often."

The goal was the only time during the series Wisconsin
converted on the power play, as they went 1-for-14 on the weekend with the man

"We’d been getting the chances, and now finally we actually
got a little production out of it," McBain said.

Zacharias played a strong game in net for the Mavericks,
stopping all but one of the 29 shots he faced.

"I thought both goaltenders made some big saves," UW head
coach Mike Eaves said.
It appeared early as if things would go the Badgers' way Friday night, as
Turris put the Badgers on the board just over a minute into the game. Turris
took a pass from Ben Street and beat Zacharias past his left pad.

But Minnesota State had an answer, and it came just 13
seconds later. The Mavericks' Mick Berge snuck a shot five-hole to beat
Connelly, tying the game at 1-1.

It would be all MSU from that point on, as it would get all
the scoring it needed in the second period off two power play goals.

After a questionable call that put Josh Engel in the penalty
box for interference, Minnesota State's Geoff Irwin put the puck under
Connelly's left leg to give the Mavericks a 2-1 lead.

Another UW penalty led to another MSU goal, this time after
Turris was called for tripping midway into the second period. The Mavericks'
Rylan Galiardi redirected a shot from R.J. Linder, causing the puck to take a
funny bounce past Connelly for a 3-1 MSU lead.

Despite two 5-on-3 opportunities — one late in the second
and one in the third — UW was unable to muster a response, dropping the game

The loss ended a three-game unbeaten streak for the Badgers,
who went 2-0-1 against Michigan State and St. Cloud State in their previous
three contests.

"We get a tie, we move up in the standings a little bit and
we’re back right in the thick of things," Connelly said.

Wisconsin will now have nearly three weeks off before
returning to action Dec. 28 in the Badger Hockey Showcase at the Kohl Center,
giving the team plenty of time to assess where they sit after the first half of
the season.

"I would have thought we’d have done a little better on the
road. We’ve shown our youth there and need to grow there," captain Davis
Drewiske said. "The room for error really reduces in the second half of the
year. It doesn’t matter who you play, it’s going to be a battle."

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