After being swept, Wisconsin looks to rebound against rival Minnesota

first_imgJake Gardiner and the 19-10-3 Badgers are looking to right the ship after being swept last weekend. UW has three more series left.[/media-credit]After winning 12 out of 13 games from early December through January, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team was feeling quite comfortable at No. 7 in the Pairwise rankings.But after Nebraska-Omaha swept the Badgers last weekend, that comfort has been replaced with some anxiety.Now UW is No.15 in the rankings – precisely on the fringe of the NCAA tournament.“I was surprised by that. It’s kind of a messed up system, if you really want to know,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said of the rankings. “You drop from seven to 15. Somebody loses we go up, or we lose a game and we go up. It’s convoluted, and when somebody told me we dropped [from 7 to 15], I said, ‘What!’”The numbers don’t lie, and right now the Badgers must win to stay on track for a NCAA appearance.There may be three weeks left in the regular season, but according to senior captain Sean Dolan, the Badgers have already adopted the playoff mindset.“100 percent,” Dolan said. “That’s our mentality going forward. We know after last weekend how much you can drop [in the rankings] after one bad series.“It’s playoff hockey, and right now we are sitting on the bubble.”The Badgers (19-10-3, 11-9-2) will test their playoff mentality against border-rival Minnesota (12-12-4, 9-10-3) this weekend. If the drop in the rankings wasn’t enough motivation – and if the disappointment of a sweep didn’t light a fire – the Badgers have a heated WCHA rivalry to look forward to.“It’s a huge weekend every time you play Minnesota,” Dolan said. “And we know they are thinking the same thing over there.”The Gophers come into Madison after earning a split against second-place Denver in Minneapolis. Minnesota found its scoring touch in game two, scoring seven goals in a lopsided victory. Goaltender Kent Patterson, who replaced Alex Kangas after the senior was ruled out for the season with hip surgery, continues to provide stability in net for the Gophers, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.57 goals against average.“We all know what we’re in for,” freshman forward Mark Zengerle said. “We know it’s going to be a battle.”The Badgers certainly feel battle-tested after a humbling series in Omaha. UW lost 4-1 in the opener and was handed a 4-3 defeat the next night, despite roaring back with a couple of late goals.Eaves mentioned Monday the series against the Mavericks gave his freshmen their first taste of playoff hockey at the collegiate level and that struggle will serve as a valuable lesson.The two losses hurt the Badgers in the rankings, but Eaves knows eye-opening experience is all part of a season-long journey.“I just don’t think people understand the process a team has to go through in order to become championship-caliber,” Eaves explained. “It doesn’t happen overnight and that’s why I don’t think we were disappointed. We played in front of 15,000 people, on the road, against a good, hard, physical team and that’s a process.“We didn’t execute the way we needed to but we were right there.”Like his coach, junior assistant captain Jake Gardiner isn’t too concerned with the two-game skid and is confident his freshman teammates will raise their level of play as the games grow more meaningful.“I didn’t think we played bad last weekend. We just couldn’t get some breaks. They had a couple lucky bounces on some goals and that hurt us,” Gardiner said. “And I think our freshmen have come a long way. They’ll show that down the stretch.”The postseason has started a little early for the Badgers, and this weekend presents two critical games for UW against a hated rival. The season is winding down, and the pressure is on.So is there any sense of panic after a sweep and a dramatic drop in the rankings?“Gosh no,” Eaves said. “This is fun. This building is going to be sold out. This is why you train all summer. You run all those damn hills because you give yourself a chance to be successful out here in February and March.”last_img read more

Helpless Slaughter trying to shake off frustration as he completes recovery

first_imgMOST READ LATEST STORIES “We’re planning to get back next week,” he said. “Here we are doing everything to get back as soon as I can be. Just taking it day by day. As soon as I can, I can go on it when the pain’s bearable, we’ll be out there.”He hopes that there will be ample time for him to make a comeback and contribute on his side’s attempt to make a return trip to the Finals.“I believe we can still do it. It’s just a really tall order. San Miguel’s a three-time defending champion and it will just help if we got everything we got,” he said. “Right now, I need to heal and get my ankle okay so I can get back out there. No point in just moping around. Just got to stay positive and try to get healthy again.”ADVERTISEMENT GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “It’s very frustrating, but I try not to let it get the best of me.”Slaughter’s x-ray further showed a small chip fracture on his right ankle , making walking a struggle.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk“It’s still very painful,” he said. “I can’t run or jump on it right now, so obviously I can’t play.”But the Cebuano is looking to suit up for the Gin Kings as early as Game 3. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Pessumal repays faith with sizzling performance Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netGreg Slaughter has been moving heaven and earth to make it back to the court and help Ginebra as soon as possible.“Now’s the time to play. So I’m trying to get back in there, maybe force it a little bit, and come back as soon as I can go out there,” he shared as he helplessly watched Ginebra fall in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series, 90-102, to San Miguel on Friday.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson View commentslast_img read more