Wisconsin exhibits superb penalty kill

first_imgST. CLOUD, Minn. — With the way they’ve been playing on the penalty kill, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team might want to just play a man down all game.The Badgers killed nine near-consecutive minutes of penalties to start the second period en route to their 4-1 win over St. Cloud State. When asked what stifling the St. Cloud power play for that long could do to the team, UW captain Ryan McDonagh was quick to answer.“Tire us out,” he said with a laugh.UW’s penalty kill is third in the nation at 91.5 percent and got its biggest test of the season Saturday night. Cody Goloubef was called for tripping four seconds after a hooking penalty on Derek Stepan ended, and Craig Smith got a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind less than a minute after Goloubef’s penalty ended.But the Badgers held strong and got the game-winning goal four minutes after that stretch of penalties ended.“Whenever you get a five (minute major), you know it’s going to be a huge momentum swing for one team or the other. For us to kill that off, having killed off two minors before, was just huge,” McDonagh said. “We knew in there, that we got to take control of this game.”St. Cloud’s power play was no pushover either, entering the series converting on 16.9 percent of its power plays. SCSU dropped to 37th in the nation after going 2-9 on the man advantage this weekend.One of the most impressive things Wisconsin was able to do while killing those nine minutes of penalties was outshoot St. Cloud State. At the halfway mark of the second period, UW was leading in shots on goal during the period, 5-3.“We did a good job, I’m sure that we blocked some [shots]. Our forecheck took some time off, we disrupted their break in, we did some things that didn’t allow them to set up,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “And that’s a pretty potent power play — they’ve got pieces that can make it work. But again, our guys rose to the occasion.“And it’s hard to win on the road and there’s always hurdles to go over, and that was a big hurdle tonight.”Smith gets game misconduct againWhen freshman forward Craig Smith was called for checking from behind and a game misconduct, it marked the second time this season he’s been penalized for that.Smith was suspended two games as a result of the first infraction and missed UW’s series against New Hampshire as a result. Smith is not considered a dirty player and tends to use his speed and skill more than his size.The penalty came 6:26 into the second period, soon after UW finished killing two consecutive minor penalties. Smith bumped SCSU’s Taylor Johnson from behind and was whistled soon after. Johnson was OK and remained in the game.“I did not see it at the time, and I asked the referee at the end of the second. He said the boy shot the puck, he was in a vulnerable position,” Eaves said. “I talked to Smitty, and he said at the last second, the boy turned, he turned to the boards. He said, ‘Coach, if that’s a penalty, then I’m confused,’ because the boy turned himself into the boards.”Smith was called for the same penalty in the Badgers’ second game against Minnesota State in Mankato, back on Oct. 24. The game misconduct came with an automatic one-game suspension and the university tacked on an additional game. Smith was reportedly quite distraught over the previous incident and Eaves noted that particular penalty can be a touchy issue.“That’s one of those ones we argue at the referee-coaches meeting, because the [SCSU player] puts himself in that position,” Eaves said. “The emphasis has to be on the checker, he’s got to, when he sees those numbers, he’s somehow got to let up and grab him and pick him up, put him in.”Boom or bustIn its seven wins, UW has averaged five goals per game. In their four losses and one tie, the Badgers have scored just eight total goals.Despite consistently getting high shot totals game to game, the Badgers’ philosophy of shooting pucks on net and hoping to get rebounds means UW doesn’t always get the bounces that lead to goals. In Friday night’s loss, SCSU got a goal off of a UW defenseman’s skate, the kind of luck that eluded the Badgers.“We didn’t get the puck luck tonight; we played well, we played hard, we blocked a lot of shots,” senior captain Blake Geoffrion said. “We played hard for each other, each and every guy.”Geoffrion scored UW’s only goal that night, a power play tally in the first period.For Eaves, the issue of Wisconsin’s all-or-nothing pattern is simple.“Our issue when we lose has been our inability to solve the riddle of the goaltender,” he said. “And it seemed tonight that on the second shots, we either didn’t get there cleanly enough, or they got sticks there or they blocked some key shots.”But so long as the Badgers are getting shots, Eaves isn’t going to worry.“But the common denominator is what — we’re getting scoring chances. If we were losing and we weren’t getting those, then we’d have a real issue,” he said. “But the fact that we’re getting those scoring chances gives us a sense of ‘Hey, the best days are still to come.’”last_img read more

WATCH: Jim Boeheim gets emotional while discussing Pearl Washington

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Syracuse basketball legend Pearl Washington dies at 52Storify: Sports world mourns the death of Syracuse basketball legend Dwayne ‘Pearl’ WashingtonPearl Washington’s top 5 moments as a Syracuse basketball playerFull transcription of Jim Boeheim addressing support for Dwayne “Pearl” Washington Published on April 20, 2016 at 4:58 pm Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim addressed the media Wednesday afternoon after SU legend Pearl Washington died earlier in the day. Washington, 52, is considered one of the greatest players in program history. Boeheim got emotional when discussing Washington.Watch Boeheim’s full press conference below.For additional coverage of Pearl Washington’s death, click here. Comments AdvertisementThis is placeholder textlast_img read more