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Wisconsin vs. Alaska hockey recap: Badgers outplayed in 1-0 season-opening loss

Thirty saves from goaltender Landon Peterson was one of the few highlights in the season opener for the Badgers in a 1-0 loss to Alaska.

Larry Radloff Photography

For the first time since the 1931-32 season, the Wisconsin hockey team starts the year by getting shutout in the season opener.

A power play goal Colton Parayko and 14 saves by Davis Jones were all Alaska needed to topple the Badgers in a 1-0 victory at the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage.

Wisconsin played six true freshmen in the game as well as two redshirt freshmen. The group showed flashes at times, but failed to sustain enough consistent offense to threaten the Nanooks.

Scoring:

1-0 Alaska (PP): Colton Parayko from Marcus Basara

First Impressions:

  • Freshman center Ryan Wagner is incredibly quick. Had a break late in the first period where he just scooted around a defenseman to get an opportunity at the Alaska net. I thought he played with some grittiness and gave one of the better efforts tonight.
  • Senior Matt Paape was the first forward off the bench killing penalties. Head coach Mike Eaves mentioned that he would be filling in the role of Keegan Meuer from last year, and that includes on the penalty kill. Other forwards killing penalties tonight included Grant Besse, Brad Navin and Wagner.
  • The Badgers caught a big break in the second period when Alaska had a goal waived off. Parayko fired a shot that Landon Peterson gloved, and the ref quickly blew the whistle. What the ref didn't see, however, was that Peterson didn't hold on, and an Alaska forward quickly snapped the rebound into the net. The goal didn't count -- although it should have.
  • Wisconsin junior defenseman Eddie Wittchow was injured in the second period and didn't return. He stepped up on an Alaska forward in the neutral zone and took the brunt of the force and had to be helped off the ice.
  • Landon Peterson was outstanding in goal tonight. He got the start because Joel Rumpel had numerous tests this weekend, including one at 6:30 a.m. this morning, and Eaves didn't feel like he was ready to play tonight. Peterson stood up to the challenge and looked as good as he's ever played.
  • Tim Davison was one of Wisconsin's best defensemen I thought in his first game as a Badger. He committed to UW all the way back in September of 2010, and after redshirting last year, played his first game tonight. He was involved in the offense, he was solid in his own end, and made solid breakout passes to get the Badgers started up ice. I like the potential here going forward.
  • Adam Rockwood and Cameron Hughes showed flashes of why they were so heavily recruited. Hughes' speed is evident immediately and Rockwood saw extended playing time as the game wore on. Both kids will get better as the season wears on.
  • I didn't like Joseph Labate's game tonight. He had a good shift in the early going where he had a nice shot on goal on a 2-on-1 and was stopped, but didn't do much after that. He also took three penalties, which is totally out of character. He'll have better nights ahead.

Quotes:

Wisconisin assistant coach Gary Shuchuk:

- On the large group of freshmen playing in their first game:

"Honestly, I thought our young guys did great. They brought good enthusiasm. They still have to get used to the league and how quick the transition of the game is -- when you make a turnover, how quick the other team is coming.

"They infuse this enthusiasm. Our older guys are going, ‘holy crap, these guys are doing it, I better do it.' We see it on the bench. It's great, our younger guys are holding our older guys accountable, and it should be the other way around."

- On tonight's effort:

"I think we lost way too many 1-on-1 battles. It's funny, we practice it every day, we battle each other, and we go against a guy you don't know, and we don't win those battles. That's kind of disappointing that way."

- On the lack of shots tonight:

"We're trying to get these guys to have a shooters mentality. I think we passed up on a lot of good opportunities. We had chances to shoot the puck, and we didn't, and sometimes we missed the net."

- On the possibility that there may be line changes tomorrow:

"I think so. Coach was just trying to get whoever was going to play. We told the guys that, we're going to play the guys who are going. It doesn't matter if you're a fifth-year senior or a fourth-year senior or a freshman. Mike's going to play the guys that give us the best opportunity to win. Guys know going into games and going into the season, just because of who you are or what you stand for -- doesn't mean diddly."

- On the health of Eddie Wittchow, who took a big hit in the second period:

"It's just precaution, making sure he's fine. He was a little disappointed he didn't get to come back, but you know what, it's too early in the year to take any chances. We did the right thing, and we'll look him over tonight and we'll go from there."

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