Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badger hockey sweeps Huskies

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Not to be outdone by the football team’s offensive outburst this weekend, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team swept Michigan Tech at the Kohl Center with an offensive flurry of its own, totaling nine goals in two games.

The Badgers won 6-0 Saturday and took Friday night’s contest by a final of 3-2 as they improved to 3-4-1 in the WCHA. Following a win over North Dakota two weekends ago, UW has built a three-game winning streak — a feat they never accomplished last season.


Despite shutting out MTU Saturday, head coach Mike Eaves maintained his team still has lots of room for improvement.

“We probably played average,” Eaves said. “You take a look at the 6-0 score and you think, ‘Wow, that is really something.’ But it is a little false gold there. The power play was five-for-seven, but we still didn’t do things as well as we wanted to five-on-five.”

With a chance for the first sweep of the season, Eaves made the move to start sophomore goaltender Scott Gudmandson Saturday night over senior Shane Connelly. Gudmandson — who had given up a total of 12 goals in his previous two starts — came up big several times to preserve the shutout.

“He was excellent all week in practice,” Eaves said of Gudmandson. “We had discussed that whether or not we were going to play him was going to be very dependant on how he practiced. He was excellent, and he made our decision easy by the way he practiced.”

The Badgers got on the board with just over five minutes left in the first period when junior captain Blake Geoffrion tipped in a slap shot from sophomore defenseman Brendan Smith. The goal was the first of five power play goals for UW and the first of Geoffrion’s two on the night. Geoffrion, who also added an assist, has scored four goals the past three games and leads the team with five on the season.

“He is a stubborn young man,” Eaves said. “He is most effective when he is [in front of the net] and it is finally showing itself. I hope he continues to buy into it, plant that big body of his in front of the net and let pucks hit him, whack away at rebounds and tip pucks in because that is where he is the most effective right now.”

“Coach keeps calling me Thomas,” Geoffrion added. “I keep saying, ‘What?’ He is talking about Thomas Holmstrom, from the Detroit Red Wings, and that is who he wants me to play like. The first time he called me that I was like, ‘Is this guy crazy?’ … but that is how he wants me to play.”

Wisconsin struck again on the power play a little over half way into the second period when sophomore John Mitchell knocked in the rebound from sophomore Cody Goloubef’s slap shot.

UW poured it on in the third, scoring four more goals — including three on special teams.

For the game, eight different players from UW recorded a point while Gudmandson finished with 34 saves.

Friday, the Badgers’ victory wasn’t quite as comfortable. UW built a 3-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the second period but had to endure a spirited MTU comeback attempt.

“We kind of let up our guard a little bit defensively,” Mitchell said. “But we were able to pull it out in the third and kind of get back together. We went back to the basics: keep it simple and go back to playing hard again and pull out the win.”

UW put MTU in a hole early when sophomore Ryan McDonagh scored just over a minute into the game. McDonagh received a pass from sophomore Patrick Johnson and shot a wrister from above the left circle, managing to get the puck through traffic and past Huskie goaltender Rob Nolan. Freshman Matt Thurber also received credit for an assist, his first as a Badger.

“Tonight we rode the great-start wave,” Eaves said. “Getting off to the 2-0 start in the first and building it to three. But I think, as a coaching staff, there were moments when we weren’t as consistent as we had been in our last game against North Dakota. So, from that standpoint, we are very pleased to get the two points.”

The Badgers finished the first period just like they started it — scoring a power play goal. With only 13 seconds remaining, junior defenseman Jamie McBain one-timed a pass from Smith and beat Nolan top shelf to give UW a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. UW’s blue liners finished the game with two of the three Badger goals and five total points.

“The reason those young men are on the power play is the fact that they have magic,” Eaves said of his defensemen. “Brendan [Smith] has demonstrated four-on-three, [McBain] has a good shot, and we are trying to set them up and create shooting lanes so they can use their natural ability.”

A weekend sweep is always welcomed, but for a team that was winless through the first seven games, getting four points in one weekend does wonders for the team’s psyche.

“We are just a lot happier, or I know I am,” Geoffrion said of the team’s winning streak. “Just because our team is winning, we are going to keep riding this wave as long as we can. Keep playing hard every night, and when you do those things you have a good shot.”

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