Bizarre weekend at Kohl Center

Well like I said in my prediction, the difference in the series would be Richard Bachman, the goalie for Colorado College who was the WCHA Player and Rookie of the Year last season. I also recall predicting that he would be chased from the game about 2 minutes into the third period in Friday night's game. Back to reality, that was a huge shock, as Wisconsin went on to beat one of the best defensive teams in the conference 6-1 in the series opener. So when Wisconsin jumped out to a 2-0 lead on its first two shots Saturday, it looked like the Badgers might roll again to a large victory, but the Tigers took a 3-2 in a span of 2:12 in the second period, and then struck with under four minutes left in the third to break a 3-3 tie and go on to win 4-3 and salvage the split.

As Todd Milewski of the Capital Times explained before the weekend, all UW needs to do is play approximately .500 hockey to ensure a home series in the first round of the WCHA Tournament. Well they did just that. When they moved up from 20th to 14th in the PairWise after Friday night's win, a win Saturday would have pushed them even further up in the top 14 (it would have put them at 13). However, they're now at 17, and while they sit 2nd in the WCHA in the standings, they've played two more games than Denver, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Luckily for Wisconsin, they play two of those three teams at home in the stretch (Den, ND), and they go to Minnesota.

So, when you consider that Wisconsin moved up 3 spots this weekend, then the CC series has to be considered a success. The Badgers should root for Denver to either sweep North Dakota, or the teams to split, because #1 in the WCHA is not as big of a concern as a top 5 spot, and the Fighting Sioux are right on their back.

Going back to this past weekend, the Badgers played fairly well. Friday they were lucky in the sense that CC had two or three great scoring chances in the first period and did not record a shot on any of them. That was the difference in the game, Wisconsin capitalizing on its chances and CC doing the opposite. Bachman gave up a few too many rebounds on shots he normally holds onto, and Wisconsin was able to take advantage of that. Saturday, Wisconsin just did not have the energy they had the night before, and while they jumped out 2-0 on two Cody Goloubef drives from the middle point, they really did not play that well and had five power play chances with the score tied at 3 and were unable to do anything. However, Wisconsin did notch its 32nd and 33rd power play goals, which puts the Badgers past the 32 tallies it notched on the man advantage last season.

Badgers off this weekend, and I don't know what to do with myself. However, this second half schedule is amazing. CC already in town, Duluth here in two weekends, at Mariucci, Denver in town, at Mankato (a place Wisconsin never plays well), and then NoDak at the KC to close things out. No matter what happens, the last five series will be eventful. Ten playoff games in a row before the playoffs actually start. What more could you want?

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