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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin confused by NCAA playoff bracket

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Despite suffering a heartbreaking loss to Minnesota-Duluth
in the WCHA Final Face-Off Sunday, the No. 5 Wisconsin women?s hockey team is
headed to the NCAA tournament to make a run at a third-straight national

However, Wisconsin was thrown a curve ball when the
selection committee released the eight-team bracket Sunday that has the Badgers
traveling to Minnesota to take on the Gophers in the NCAA quarterfinal.

?We?re very surprised that we are playing Minnesota,? UW
head coach Mark Johnson said at his Monday press conference. ?We looked at
maybe two of our matchups, depending on what we did this (past) weekend.
Minnesota was not in any of the pictures, to be honest with you. So coming home
on the bus when all of a sudden we heard Minnesota, I think we were all a
little bit surprised, like ?OK, how did that happen”

Wisconsin has some right to be upset by this year?s bracket,
as the Badgers and Gophers both finished the year with 27 wins. Wisconsin also
went 3-1-1 against Minnesota this year, including a win in the semifinals of
the WCHA Final Face-Off last weekend. But Johnson figures his team isn?t the
only one confused by this year?s bracket.


?You look at last year?s (bracket) compared to this year?s,
and it is a totally different, completely different setup,? Johnson said. ?It?s
nice if somebody comes out and says ?Here?s what we did. Here?s why we did it,
and this is the direction we wanted to go.? People are a little bit confused,
and if you?re on certain teams right now, you?re probably very, very

Johnson also said it seems like the selection committee
considered travel expenses as part of its selection since the pairings limit
the travel. Beside Wisconsin traveling to Minnesota, Dartmouth will play at
Harvard, Mercyhurst will play at Minnesota-Duluth and St. Lawrence will play at
New Hampshire.

?It looks like financial criteria was used step No. 1 if you
look at the way the brackets are set up,? Johnson said. ?It?s totally the
opposite. It?s 180 from where we were last year.?

Despite being frustrated with the selection committee,
Johnson is confident his team will not be distracted this weekend and is excited
to be a part of the NCAA tournament again.

?There?s only eight teams now,? Johnson said. ?You?re one
win away from the Frozen Four and an opportunity to take a run at the
championship again. It?s an exciting time of year. I think with the players,
they get excited this time of year. Practices are sharp. They?re crisp.

?There?s energy that I think might not be there in December
and January. This is what they work for. This is the opportunity that will be
presented to them, and hopefully Saturday we come out and play our A-game.?

And while his team is still confused as to how and why it is
playing Minnesota, Johnson said his team is looking forward to playing their
border rivals again.

?We don?t have to travel very far. It?s an opponent we know
very well,? Johnson said about playing Minnesota. ?We?ve played them three
times in the last three or four weeks here, so we?re excited. The team?s
excited. It?s a fresh start.?


Zaugg new scoring leader

Senior alternate captain Jinelle Zaugg almost single-handily
willed her team to a third-straight conference tournament title with her
performance over the weekend. And while Wisconsin fell just short, Zaugg become
UW?s all-time scoring leader.

Coming into the postseason, Zaugg needed to score twice to
tie Meghan Hunter with 84 career goals. Against rival Minnesota in the
semifinals, the 6-foot-1 forward tied the record with a pair of goals.

?I?m excited for Jinelle,? Johnson said. ?She stepped up and
played really well and scored some timely goals against Minnesota.?

In the championship match against the Bulldogs, Zaugg led
the Badgers back from an early 3-0 deficit to help force overtime by scoring
two more goals to set the record. Despite becoming Wisconsin?s all-time scoring
leader, Zaugg was upset that she missed an opportunity to win the game in
overtime, according to Johnson.

?[Sunday] if you asked [Zaugg] a question, she?d probably be
bitter about the opportunity she missed in overtime,? Johnson said. ?The young
lady from Duluth slid across as the puck was going in the empty net, and she
was able to deflect it with her body. [Zaugg] played very well [Sunday] scoring
two nice goals and had an opportunity in overtime to win it.?

Her four-goal performance earned Zaugg a spot on the WCHA
Final Face-Off all-tournament team. Now, as UW prepares to enter the NCAA
tournament, Johnson is looking to the senior to continue to lead the charge.

?Hopefully, [Zaugg] will continue that this weekend,?
Johnson said.

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