Another Day, Another Loss
Poor Goaltending and Defense Leads To Second Consecutive Sweep
Two weekends, 17 goals given up, no time with the lead, swept out of the top of the league by two of your biggest rivals.
“A great weekend of college hockey, except for the result” said Coach Lucia after the game, perhaps trying to convince himself or his team that they are going to be OK.
Very much the same result as last night although the game was played a bit different; the Badgers were actually engaged in the play from the drop of the puck.
“We didn’t play to our capabilities last night” said Badger coach Mike Eaves. “[We got] some of our self-respect back.”
Wisconsin got on the board first – a play that Alex Kangas certainly would like back. Jamie McBain skated into the Gopher zone on the right wing and put a very harmless shot on net, which somehow made it underneath Kangas’s stick and pads, and tapped in by John Mitchell.
Some line switching helped out the lack of scoring chances at the start of the game. Ryan Flynn was moved up to the top line, and helped tie the game up just minutes later. Flynn’s half wraparound/pass attempt found Ryan Stoa’s stick in the crease, and the puck deflected past Shane Connelly.
The Badgers had a disputed goal disallowed before taking the lead again at the end of the period. Kangas came up with a great pad stop on a one timer from Jordy Murray, but David Fischer was a bit overzealous and crashed into the puck and Kangas, knocking it in his own net.
There is no question that Alex Kangas is fighting the puck – the Badgers did a great job of keying on his confidence issues tonight, getting two second period goals on shots from the point, getting a lot of traffic in front.
"[Kangas] is an outstanding goaltender" said Lucia defending his starting netminder. "He's just going through what everyone goes through."
Sandwiched between those goals were two quick ones by Goldy, thanks to both sides of special teams.
Ryan Flynn made a fantastic one-man effort, dancing his way out of the Gopher zone while shorthanded, carrying it the length of the ice, and roasting Connelly to the long side.
Just 56 seconds later, while starting a power play, Cade Fairchild buried a great pass from Jay Barriball and the team was pretty jacked up, their enthusiasm was clear in their celebrations.
But it didn’t last long as Jamie McBain’s second goal of the weekend put the Badgers up by one just less than two minutes later, a huge momentum killer for a team that’s really struggling.
A very bad luck goal ended up being the winner for the Badgers; John Mitchell got credit for his second goal of the game, a puck deflecting off of a huge scrum of players in front of the Gopher net, past a bewildered and beaten goalie.
Tony Lucia brought the Gophers to within one with three minutes left, but just like last night, the tying goal was not to be had.
Everyone involved seems very frustrated, you can tell it in their voices.
“We need to play with a lead” said Lucia.
“I haven’t lost four games in a row since I’ve been here” said an exasperated Ryan Stoa.
Who knows what it’s going to take to get out of this slump. They don’t have much time left. They are slipping out of home ice in their own conference, and let’s not even talk about their slip in the Pairwise rankings (losing a big head-to-head comparison with Wisconsin tonight really hurts).
If there is a team in need of a win worse than the Gophers, I’d like to see it. Some line switching tonight seemed to generate goals, if nothing else. Will Kent Patterson come in relief for Kangas? Anything jarring to this team right now may be a good idea.
Next up are the Seawolves from Anchorage. Both games are at 7PM on FSN.