Saturday, 3 November 2012

Tigers Thrash Badgers

I feel that the lockout is actually making me appreciate other forms of hockey a lot more. For example, I've been watching a lot more NCAA hockey thanks to The Score television network carrying games, and I'm finding myself entertained for the most part. Normally, there isn't a lot of NCAA hockey coverage in Canada, let alone games on TV, so this lockout - as much as I dislike the two sides - is actually making things better. However, Friday and Saturday's games were not as good as the games previously seen.

The Wisconsin Badgers, normally a powerhouse, looked quite horrible against the Colorado College Badgers. There should be some concern for the Badgers now as they have been swept twice in their first six games and sit at 1-4-1. Even worse is how the Tigers have absolutely owned the Badgers with a 16-4-1 vs. UW since the start of the 2006-07 season, including an 8-4-4 mark at the Badger's Kohl Center.

The Friday night setback, a 5-4 loss, saw the Badgers up 2-0 midway through the second period before it appeared that the Badgers were content to just sit back and coast to victory. Two goals within four minutes for the Tigers evened the score, and they erased a 3-2 deficit when the Badgers appeared to take their foot off the gas again. I can't explain why the Badgers appeared to stop skating and pressing the Tigers' defencemen on the forecheck. It just appeared that they were content with doing the bare minimum to win.

To Colorado College's credit, they never said "die", and saw Alexander Krushelnyski pot the overtime winner just 25 seconds into overtime. The Tigers won a lot of battles in the final forty minutes of the game, and just seemed hungrier when it came to loose pucks and winning those battles. As a result of their hard work, they defeated a deeper, stronger opponent by simply out-hustling them. Seems like a pretty simple concept, no?

"Our team believed tonight that this game was coming home with us," Krushelnyski told The Gazette's Neil Reid. "I think it was less frustration and more learning how to battle through adversity. Last week, we had a couple of tough losses, and the consensus among the team this weekend was that it wasn’t going to happen again.

"It was a good team win."

Things only got worse for the Badgers tonight as they dropped a 3-0 decision to the Tigers again. Colorado College was outshot 33-22, but the Tigers were the better team once again. Strangely, the officiating in this game was actually pretty sub-standard as the Badgers had a Matt Paape goal called back that would have made the score 2-1. I'm not sure what reasons the officials had for disallowing what seemed like a good goal, but the score remained 2-0 at that point.

Joe Howe played well in earning the shutout on Saturday, and it has to be said that goaltender Joel Rumpel was certainly the best player on the ice in both games for the Badgers. Had it not been for Rumpel in the Friday night game, the Tigers probably would have wrapped the game up by the middle of the third period with the chances they had.

The Tigers are now 5-3-0 on the season, but, more importantly, are 2-0 in WCHA play after their sweep of the Badgers. Colorado College suffered a pair of defeats against top-ten team Cornell, but used this weekend's games to rally the troops.

Wisconsin's faltering puts them behind the eight-ball at 1-4-1, and 1-2-1 in conference play. The Badgers will have to play better if they want to compete in the WCHA this season as this weekend's set of games doesn't make them look like a favorite for the Frozen Four tournament.

MO' BRO: Mike Gartner and Wendel Clark have both made the cut in being a Mo' Bro, and we'll add our third member to the Mo' Bro All-Stars tonight with the addition of our third winger in Chicago's Dirk Graham.

Dirk Graham's moustache was a fixture in the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup for eight seasons where it led the charge as captain in the last few years. Graham, however, saw his moustachioed greatness begin in Minnesota under the tutelage of Herb Brooks. A January 4, 1988 trade sent Curt Fraser to the North Stars, and Dirk Graham became a fan favorite with the all-star 'stache in the Windy City. Graham put up 33 goals and 45 assists in his first full season in Chicago, endearing himself to 'Hawks fans with his blue-collar work ethic and scoring ability. Graham's career would span from 1983 to 1995, and he proudly wore his moustache in each of those 12 seasons.

Dirk Graham proudly sported a moustache for his career, and you can proudly sport one for the month of November! If you want to get in on the action, head over to the Movember page and get registered so your 'stache can stand amongst these great 'staches!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Peter Santellan said...

With the lockout, I keep up a lot with the WHL, particularly the Winterhawks. However, when something of significance scampers through town like the Icebreakers tournament last month, I will make the effort to say a word or two about it.

Teebz said...

I watch some of the WHL on TV, but the closest team is still two hours away for me. I wish it was closer. I have attended a couple of CIS games, though, and it's been decent. The crowds, however, have not been.