ST. CLOUD, Minn. – It was hard to pick out exactly what went wrong for Wisconsin
Friday night. Maybe it was the bad bounces; maybe it was all the times Badgers
collided into each other; maybe it was the defensive miscues and discombobulated
It was actually easy to pick out what went wrong: Everything.
In a building where Friday night games have been unkind to them, the Badgers
suffered a 4-2 loss to the St. Cloud State Huskies in a game that could have been
much worse. By the time UW decided to take an active part in the game, it was
almost out of reach.
The loss marked the fourth consecutive Friday night game the Badgers have lost
at the National Hockey Center and extended UW’s winless streak to five games.
Wisconsin fell to 19-12-4, 11-11-3 in the WCHA.
The Huskies had been struggling, but inched closer to the .500 mark with a 13-15-5,
9-12-3 record following the home win – a rarity this season for SCSU.
The Badgers made it 3-1 after a Justin Schultz goal 39 seconds into the third
period, but minutes later, Derek Lee ran into Husky goaltender Mike Lee
from behind and was called for goaltender interference. On the delayed call, Nick
Jensen launched a pass up to a streaking Garrett Roe, who scored to make it 4-1 and
squash any building momentum for the Badgers.
Lee appeared to have been pushed from behind, but nevertheless, was called for the
“It’s the ref’s call. From his vantage point, I’m sure he saw a penalty, that’s why he
called it,” Lee said.
The Wisconsin offense for the first two periods of the game consisted of shots from
outside and little continuous possession. Fittingly, Schultz’s goal was an individual
effort, where he skated through the Huskies and beat Lee five-hole.
The Badgers’ struggles were evident enough that after a week of mixing up lines
and pairs in practice, head coach Mike Eaves made midgame changes by the second
period. Eaves worked defensemen Craig Johnson and Eric Springer out of the
rotation, opting to stick mainly with Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz, and moving
John Ramage with Frankie Simonelli.
“It’s been a while, but usually where you get yourself in situations where your team
is in a funk and not performing the way it needs to, it’s a good time to mix it up and
try to get something going, try to stimulate something,” Eaves said.
The mixing continued when Ramage was pushed after a stoppage in play and
Simonelli came to his defense. The two Badgers, as well as SCSU’s David Eddy and
Ben Hanowski were all called for roughing minors, with Hanowski taking an extra
two minutes for slashing.
At one point, half of the UW defensive corps was in the penalty box.
Wisconsin got a tip-in goal from Murray to make it 4-2, but couldn’t draw any closer,
despite a spirited effort in the final period.
In the end, St. Cloud State’s execution in the second period was too much for
Wisconsin to overcome.
Roe’s goal on a two-on-one to make it 3-0 at 11:42 of the second period put SCSU in
control, as the Huskies’ Jordy Christian scored just 1:16 earlier, on a scrum in front
of the net.
“We’ve kind of been a team where, we score a goal – sometimes it takes us a while –
we settle in,” Husky coach Bob Motzko said.
Wisconsin goaltender Brett Bennett struggled with finding rebounds most of the
night, but did manage to make an athletic save, diving to his right from outside the
crease and making a mid-air stick save on what looked like an open net.
But the UW senior wasn’t happy with his overall performance.
“A lot of those pucks were just lost, I don’t know where they went,” he said. “I’ve got
to do a better job finding pucks and covering them.”
By the end of the second period, St. Cloud State already had three goals and had
gone on the power play four times. UW hit posts, had passes intercepted, fanned on
shots and seemingly couldn’t find a place to shoot from that wasn’t the wing.
So did anything go right for UW?
“You could just tell right from the start, we weren’t clicking,” forward Jordy Murray
“I think it just comes down to execution,” Derek Lee said. “They made a few more
plays than we did. I don’t know how to explain it other than that, just one word,
simple, is execution. We’ve got to win more battles, win more puck races.”
For Murray, boiling all the things that went wrong for Wisconsin was simple.
“I would say they were making passes, we weren’t,” he said. “They were making
simple plays and sometimes we try to do too much, turn the puck over; then they