Wisconsin splits weekend clash with Bulldogs

first_imgBadgers forward Tom Gorowsky scored an empty-net goal on Friday to add on to Wisconsin\’s win over UMD.[/media-credit]For the second series in a row, the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team let an opportunity slip through their grasp as they failed to sweep a WCHA opponent.After winning Friday’s game 3-1, the No. 16 Badgers fell to No. 15 Minnesota-Duluth 1-0 Saturday at the Kohl Center.Considering a victory would have left UW in a tie for first with Denver, the weekend split may sting even worse.“For some reason — we talked about it in the locker room — we just haven’t been able to put together a good Saturday night after a Friday,” senior forward Tom Gorowsky said. “If you want to be a championship-caliber team, you have to play at least two good games in a row, if not three, and we haven’t been able to put that together after Christmas break.”On Saturday, the Badgers found themselves stuck with a 0-0 tie heading into the final period. Some of that can be chalked up to strong defense on the Bulldogs’ part, but UW also failed several times to capitalize on obvious scoring chances. Most notably, when nearly halfway through the first period, Gorowsky missed an empty net from close in the slot.“I thought our energy level was real good in the third period,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “What concerns us as coaches — we told the boys after — is in our second period, where did we go? We didn’t give up a lot, but they probably had the puck more than we had (it).”Trying to ratchet up the intensity at the start of the final period, junior captain Blake Geoffrion picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty before the puck had dropped. After being removed from the faceoff circle for tussling with his Bulldog counterpart, Geoffrion continued to talk to the referee, earning himself two minutes in the penalty box.“Blake is trying to provide us with emotion,” Eaves said. “Did he go too far over the line? It takes two to dance, and just in my view of that, I thought the other young lad was involved as well.”“I’m not really sure — I gave him a love tap, and I got a penalty,” Geoffrion added.Though UMD failed to score on the resulting power play, the Bulldogs tallied the game’s only goal 4:32 into the period. UW sophomore Podge Turnbull turned the puck over in the Badgers’ defensive zone, and UMD’s Jack Connolly was able to find Jordan Fulton in front of the net for the game-winner.“That is definitely a strength of Duluth — they have good quick forwards,” sophomore defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “They cycle the puck down low, and I think tonight we were just one second too late in picking guys up and closing down on them, and it’s definitely an area we need to work on and get stronger.”Though Eaves was disappointed with the final result, Wisconsin’s coach chose to look at the positives at the end rather than dwell on the shutout.“We will break down the game and we will say, ‘We did a lot of really good things,’” Eaves said.Friday, UW fell behind early when Connolly recorded his seventh goal of the season 5:26 into the game. That was all the Badgers would allow, however, as UW held UMD to 21 shots for the game, including a mere four in the third period.“It was a point of emphasis that we were working on this last week,” defenseman Jamie McBain said. “Our up by a goal forecheck, as far as making sure that we have that third guy back all the time, and to make sure that we have numbers back. It may be boring because we aren’t going quite as hard, but its effective and gives us a chance to play solid defense all the time.”Wisconsin junior Michael Davies found the back of the net on a power play in the first period to tie the game at one. McBain picked up the primary assist to give him a league-leading 20 assists on the season.McBain picked up his second assist of the night when sophomore Sean Dolan slapped home a rebound for the game-winner midway through the second period.“We said going into this game — playing against young Stalock — that he is a very good goaltender and if we are going to have chances, they are going to be on rebounds,” Eaves said. “He is good with the first shot; If can see it, he is going to make saves. … It was about who is going to find a way to get to those pucks, and tonight, Sean Dolan got to a loose puck and whacked it in.”Gorowsky was able to put in an empty netter to give the Badgers a final score of 3-1.With the mixed results on the weekend, UW is choosing to look at this as a learning experience to help for the rest of the season.“Playing at the same level on Saturday has been a challenge for us right now,” Eaves said. “We talked about that after as a team, we brought it to a level of awareness and its like we say, every game is a riddle and we have to solve these Saturday games.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *