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Wisconsin vs. Alaska Anchorage hockey recap: Badgers fall to 0-2 with loss to Seawolves

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The return of Hobey Baker candidate Joel Rumpel wasn't enough to put the Badgers over the edge in a loss to Alaska Anchorage Saturday night.

Freshman forward Matt Ustaski started the scoring for the Badgers Saturday night with his first of the season.
Freshman forward Matt Ustaski started the scoring for the Badgers Saturday night with his first of the season.

In front of a large crowd (for Alaska standards) of 3,001, the Badgers dropped their second consecutive game to start the season, falling to 0-2.

Both goals for Wisconsin were scored by freshmen, one by true freshman Matt Ustaski, and another by redshirt freshman Tim Davison. All the assists were picked up by freshmen, as well. In actuality, Wisconsin's rookies played pretty well Saturday night, but it was the veterans who didn't come to play.

Joel Rumpel struggled in his first action of the season, stopping just 21 of 25 shots on the night. That comes on the heels of veteran challenger Landon Peterson stopping 30 of 31 shots in the season opener on Friday.

The positive news is that the upperclassmen will eventually come around, and with an infusion of freshman talent, this team definitely has better days ahead.

Scoring

FIRST PERIOD

1-0, Alaska Anchorage (14:02): Tad Kozun (Chase Van Allen, Derek Docken): Tad Kozun finds a loose rebound and bangs home his first collegiate goal for Anchorage.

SECOND PERIOD

1-1, Wisconsin (2:31): Matt Ustaski (Ryan Wagner, Keegan Ford): Wagner comes across the offensive blueline and throws a shot at the Anchorage net. Goaltender Oliver Mantha kicks a huge rebound back out, and freshman Matt Ustaski jumps on the loose puck and buries it in the back of the net for his first career goal.

2-1, Alaska Anchorage (3:38): Kozun (Dylan Hubbs, Van Allen): The Seawolves regained the lead when Kozun followed his own shot and deposited it past Rumpel for the 2-1 lead.

3-1, Alaska Anchorage (9:23): Hayden Trupp (unassisted): This is definitely a goal Rumpel wants back. Hayden Trupp brings the puck in the zone and wrists a shot towards the net that bounces off the glove of Rumpel and over his shoulder, into the back of the net.

3-2, Wisconsin (17:01): Tim Davison (Cameron Hughes, Jake Linhart): Another freshman connection produces a goal as Cameron Hughes finds Tim Davison for his first goal as a Badger. Hughes brought the puck into to the offensive zone down the right wing and was able to find Davison trailing the play. Davison did the rest, sniping a shot past Mantha to cut the Anchorage lead to 3-2.

THIRD PERIOD

4-2, Alaska Anchorage (3:49): Scott Allen (Brett Cameron and Austin Coldwell): Allen seals the deal for Anchorage, spinning and beating Rumpel for the 4-2 advantage.

3 stars of the game

1. Tad Kozun (Alaska Anchorage): Two goals in your second collegiate game? Yeah, that's good enough for the No. 1 star.

2. Olivier Mantha (Alaska Anchorage): Twenty-seven saves on 29 shots. Also, multiple saves were of the ridiculous, acrobatic style.

3. Tim Davison (Wisconsin): Credited with one goal but was active on both ends of the ice all weekend long.

Impressions

  • While the power play unit didn't score, I did like the opportunities they set up. The first unit featured  Dougherty-Schulze-LaBate-Soleway-Zulinick, while the second unit had Hughes-Drake-Besse-Davison-Navin.
  • The Badgers were presented a few different opportunities on the 5x3, including early in the game. Wisconsin didn't take advantage of either.
  • There was a crazy waived off goal in the first period. It turns out that when the officials went to review the goal, the review system wasn't working. So they asked the goal judge if it was a goal, and he ruled that it was. Obviously Wisconsin was furious with this decision, so they protested until the video system was back up. When the refs reviewed the tape, they realized the puck never crossed the line, and therefore it was no goal.
  • Alaska's third goal was one of the weakest goals I've ever seen Rumpel give up. I'm not sure if it was a lapse in concentration or if he lost it in the lights or something, but he needs to stop that puck.
  • Jack Dougherty didn't have his best night on defense. He had a number of pass breakups, which are obviously positive things, but he was also beat a lot as well. I wouldn't worry about it too much, as Dougherty has the talent to succeed at this level.
  • Brett Cameron's hit on Tim Davison in the third period was legal. I don't like the hit, especially because it forced Davison's helmet to come off, but I can't argue that it was dirty. It was within the rules. It's unfortunate that Davison was hurt, but what do you do? The hit was shoulder to shoulder.

Quotes

Wisconisin assistant coach Gary Shuchuk on WIBA 1310 after the game with Brian Posick:

On the freshmen and the direction of the team:

"I think we're moving in the right direction. Like Mike (Eaves) and I were saying on the bench, we're excited, we're excited for what this team can do. I tell you what, (freshmen) Adam Rockwood and Cameron Hughes, these guys are players -- and Ryan Wagner. They're fun right now, just wait until they get used to the system a bit, and then we have big Matty (Ustaski). I think we have some pieces to the puzzle. Funny thing is it's our older guys that are going ‘holy crap, our young guys, look at this.' Our older guys are taking a back seat. But you know what, when we all come together, it's going to be fun.

On freshman Jake Linhart making his college debut:

"I thought Jake Linhart for his first game out there, was like a veteran out there. Poised with the puck. I whispered in his ear, ‘play like you did with the Chicago Mission, just dominate.' And he did."

Comparing Friday's game to Saturday's effort:

"Compared yesterday to today? Yesterday was like this angst the coaching staff had. We weren't playing like we were capable of doing. Today, we played, it was like, you know what, that's pretty good. We're going to get better and better as these guys get more games in them."

On Tim Davison, who took a nasty hit late in the game:

"He's doing fine. He's got a little cut on his eye and he's got a couple stitches. It's tough, because that guy is coming though, that Cameron is a big kid and he left his feet and just hammered him. Timmy will be fine.

"What I liked about that, we stood up for him. Every guy on the ice went after him. They had an extra man, and we grabbed our guys, and we stood up for Timmy."

On where Wisconsin goes from here:

"Overall, I'm happy. Mike (Eaves) is really happy. Basically, he said in the locker room to the guys, we're disappointed we lost, but we're going to take away a lot of things from this. We're going to grow from this experience (in Alaska). Bad environment, bad accommodations, we came together. So now we go back to work on Monday and get ready for the rest of the season."

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