Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011

Badger men's hockey sweep 4/5 North Dakota

By Nicole
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Last week the Badger men's hockey team went into Houghton, MI and were swept by WCHA perpetual bottom-feeder Michigan Tech. They lost two OT games (their second and third of the season) and fans and others around the WCHA were wondering if Wisconsin was really that bad.

The Badgers are young - incredibly inexperienced and young. Coach Mike Eaves is dressing about 15 underclassmen a night with just five upperclassmen seeing ice time.

But this weekend they proved a lot of people wrong by not only beating a top-ranked team and WCHA favorite, but also putting 10 goals on the board in two games. In their early-season games, the Badgers had been playing from behind for most games. They often were able to catch up, only to lose it in OT.

But that wasn't a problem for them this weekend. The biggest story on Saturday, at least, was that North Dakota out-shot the Badgers 42-15, but still lost 5-4. Give tons of credit to freshman goalie Joel Rumpel for the win, getting absolutely shellacked and all but standing on his head to keep the Badgers in the game.

The best part of the 10 goals is that they were scored by some unlikely players. While Badger fans expect Justin Schultz, Derek Lee, Michael Mersch, Joseph LaBate and Mark Zengerle to notch tallies, it was nice to see some defensemen and young guys get on the board as well as John Ramage, Joe Faust, Ryan Little, and Brendan Woods all helped the team's cause.

Woods' goal Friday night was a spectacular one. Unassisted, he juked a ND defender, took it to net and made the goalie look silly. My guess is that the Badgers coaches did their homework, since I'd guess about 8 of the 10 goals were scored over the shoulder of both the ND goalies. They clearly had some scouting that Eidsness and Dell weren't doing well with shots up high, because the Badgers peppered them there.

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