Photo courtesy of Nicole Haase
Let's be honest with each other. Last night was an embarrassing loss for the Wisconsin hockey program.
Not only did the Badgers lose to an inferior opponent who is missing multiple key players, but Wisconsin got pushed around in their own building. They also showed a lack of effort that hasn't been on display since Mike Eaves took this program over in 2002.
That said, this team has an opportunity tonight to come back out with a refreshed mindset. Sure, their quest of home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs may be out of reach at this point.
But that doesn't mean the season is over.
This is still the University of Wisconsin, and if the 20 players that pull on that Badger sweater tonight can't find that fire, that pride, then we've got issues.
However I'm not ready to write this club off just yet. Sure this young club has struggled at times, but they've also had some great moments including going to to toe with top-five teams in the country multiple times this season.
Five Key's For Saturday Night
- Play with PRIDE: Playing for the Badgers is a special treat. Tonight everyone in that Wisconsin locker room needs to take a step back and think about who they are playing for. They aren't just playing for themselves, their teammates, or their families. They are also playing for the alumni, their classmates, and every Badger fan across the world.
- Shoot the puck & crash the net: The Badgers had more shots last night than they have the past few weeks but there were a ton of shots from way outside that didn't have much of a chance. DRIVE the puck to the net, create opportunities. And when you see a teammate putting the puck on net, get yourself in position to bang home a rebound. Too many one and done's last night on shot attempts.
- Continue to play physical: Wisconsin can't let the Ramage hit from last night affect the way they play hockey. St. Cloud State is short on bodies and a lot of guys they do have in the lineup are banged up. Wisconsin needs to set the tone early that they are going to bang bodies around, especially in their own end.
- STAY OUT OF THE BOX: Everyone who knows anything about this team understands the struggles this club has on the penalty kill. Wisconsin needs to stay out of the penalty box to limit the Huskies chances with the man advantage.
- Be aware of Hanowski: With the injuries and defections, this Husky club doesn't have many weapons. Hanowski is clearly their one big gun and he needs to be accounted for at all times. If you shut him down, you shut St. Cloud down.
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