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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Eaves not satisfied with Minnesota split

Freshman goaltender Joel Rumpel made both starts in the weekend series against Minnesota, giving up a single goal Friday but four Saturday to the No. 1 Gophers.[/media-credit]

If the Wisconsin men’s hockey team was young at the beginning of the season, then right now it’s experiencing some growing pains.

After splitting last weekend’s home series with No. 1 Minnesota, head coach Mike Eaves talked about the disappointment Wisconsin felt following Saturday night’s 4-1 loss in his weekly press conference Monday.

“There was a lot of disappointment in the locker room after the game because you’re 1-1 going into the third period, and you had an opportunity to get a sweep against the No. 1 team,” Eaves said. “There’s no question that it hurt, and rightly so. It should hurt when you’re a competitive group.”


Despite the split, even coming away with a win against not only the No. 1 team in the nation but also a storied rival was a major accomplishment for the Badgers, according to Eaves.

From sweeping North Dakota several weeks ago to the win this weekend, Wisconsin has shown it can compete with the nation’s best. But for Eaves there is still plenty of season left and he said his team will continue to grow.

“We swept the No. 5 team in the country and split with the No. 1 team, so we’re doing some good things,” Eaves said. “We’re going to continue to get better.”

But even with their successes, the Badgers still face problems with consistency.

Eaves said there are times UW moves the puck well and looks like a mature team. However, there are also times when its mistakes are costly.

“Again, that word ‘consistency’ comes to mind,” Eaves said. “There’s times when we look very good. Then there’s times when we don’t move it as well as we could, as quickly as we could. Working on that skill set is something that we do every week. It seems to me that the back-pressure of our opponents has allowed them to get takeaways and get stuff, which is something that hasn’t happened before. We’re maybe not moving our feet quick enough or moving the puck.”

Those mistakes were abundant in the third period Saturday – a period in which the Badgers consistently played well through the first month of the season – and ultimately allowed Minnesota to win. The mistakes have also played a major role in many of Wisconsin’s losses this year.

Eaves credits the inconsistency with his team to simply a young team finding its footing, but he doesn’t want to focus on breaking down stats so much with such a young team.

“I think it’s probably just that,” Eaves said. “I haven’t even looked at [the third-period statistics]. I don’t over-analyze numbers like that; I really don’t, especially with such a young group. We’re going to continue to go back … and he honest with each other and continue to grow.”

Road troubles linger with Colorado College

This weekend, Wisconsin travels to Colorado College, the very place where its up-and-down season ended last year.

To close out the regular season, the Badgers split the series with the Tigers at home, only to face them the following week on the road in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.

The Badgers won the first game 3-1, but the Tigers forced a third with an overtime win the following night. Colorado College ended Wisconsin’s season in game three with a 2-1 win.

While the loss stung – as any season-ending loss would – Eaves said they were able to move past the loss fairly quickly and focus on the next step for their team because they felt they had given the series their all.

“Not long at all,” Eaves said of the time it took to recover from the loss. “We played really good hockey. There were no regrets. The coaching staff felt that, the players felt that, that’s all we can ask from them. … To get it out of our system, not very long because we left it all out there.”

Eaves even cited the words of New York Islanders great J.P. Parise to explain just how difficult it is to stay upset over a loss knowing the high level of competition.

“In his broken French accent, [Parise] used to talk about [that] people don’t understand the fact that the other team wants to win pretty bad too,” Eaves said. “It’s a hard thing to do. We played our hearts out.”

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