When you're 0-8 it's hard to find many positives. That said, the Wisconsin men's hockey team arguably produced its best performance of the season Saturday night, but it wasn't good enough, falling on the road to Denver, 3-2.
Wisconsin has been the on the wrong side of a number of unfortunate bounces in the early going, and suffered another early in the first period Saturday night.
After Green Bay, Wis., native Evan Janssen entered the zone with the puck, he dished it off to Dan Doremus, who shifted to the slot and flung a back-handed shot towards the goal. Unfortunately for UW, the puck bounced off the skate of Wisconsin center Cameron Hughes, off the shoulder of goaltender Joel Rumpel, and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead for the Pioneers.
Wisconsin would tie the game at 1-1 early in the second period, as senior Joseph LaBate netted a power play goal. Overall, LaBate was one of the Badgers' top players on Saturday night.
"I think that was one of his more complete games," Mike Eaves said after the game. "He was physical. He was intelligent without the puck. He created scoring chances. He was involved. He did a lot of good things.
"He was one of the guys we singled out after the game as playing a really complete game for us."
Denver would take a 2-1 lead in the second period on a goal from Quentin Shore, and added an insurance goal from Danton Heinen in the third before Adam Rockwood would cut the deficit to 3-2 for the Badgers late in the game.
"We talked about it today, at this level, even at your size, you're going to have to take the puck to the net at some point," Eaves said. "And that's what (Rockwood) did.
"I think a couple of weeks ago he would have come around the net and tried to look for someone to pass to. But he took responsibility himself, to go to the scoring area to make the play, and he was rewarded for it."
With the loss, Wisconsin falls to 0-8 on the season. Eaves said after the game they aren't as worried about the wins and losses, they are more worried about the growth of the team.
"As we told the young men in that room after the game, right now we're not measuring ourselves in wins and losses," Eaves said. "We're measuring ourselves in growth. And we had good growth tonight.
"I thought we had great energy. We legitimately had a chance to find a way to win that game. We just didn't get it done."
For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter -- Follow @AndyJohnsonB5Q
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)