By Mike Lucas on October 27, 2011 1:36 PM
Wednesday was a great day for hockey. It was also a great day to recognize former Wisconsin men's coach Jeff Sauer and current UW women's coach Mark Johnson for their impact on the sport.
Sauer and Johnson were among four recipients of the 2011 Lester Patrick Award that honors special individuals for their contributions to hockey in the United States.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was on hand for the event at the River Centre in St. Paul, Minn., where Bob Pulford and Tony Rossi joined Sauer and Johnson as Patrick Award honorees.
Johnson said that after he received a phone call from Bettman notifying him that he was a winner, "You step back and say, 'Wow!' It puts a smile on your face.''
Sauer got the same phone call and said, "I looked at my phone and saw it was a call from Gary Bettman and I thought it was someone playing a trick on me.''
It was no joke. Sauer and Johnson were most deserving. Plus, it was most timely that they were honored in the same class given that their history together dates back to when Jeff babysat for Mark.
Badger Bob Johnson -- Mark's dad -- was a common denominator. Keeping it all in the family, Jeff Sauer was a former Bob Johnson assistant and Mark Johnson was a former Jeff Sauer assistant.
There have been numerous intersections on their career timelines.
* * *
Before the UW Athletic Board could get around to confirming his appointment as the new hockey coach, it had to clean its desk of some old business and tend to other bureaucratic matters.
Colorado College's 39-year-old coach, Jeff Sauer, was told to take a seat and wait.
Not a problem. The job was his. And since the former Badger assistant had waited a long time for this day -- July 8, 1982 -- he was prepared to wait a little longer, however long it would take.
It took nearly two hours.
Sauer wound up in the UW basketball office, where he visited with an assistant coach who was helping hold the program together in the midst of a transition from Bill Cofield to Steve Yoder.
Neither Sauer nor Bo Ryan had any inkling what the future would hold for their respective careers. (Or that their paths would cross again in 2001 when Ryan moved from Platteville to Madtown.)
Shortly after the athletic board gave its official blessing to Sauer, a press conference was held at Camp Randall Stadium to formally introduce Bob Johnson's successor to the Madison media.
Sauer not only skated for Johnson at Colorado College, but he was a volunteer assistant under Johnson while completing his degree. Later, he was Johnson's first full-time assistant at Wisconsin.
He and his wife Jamie even babysat for the Johnson boys, Peter and Mark.
But he wanted to make it perfectly clear, "I'm not Bob Johnson, I'm Jeff Sauer. And I hope everyone realizes that we're going to do some things a little bit differently.
"Once you get to know me, I think you'll get to find that emotionally -- as far as wins and losses -- I try not to peak and valley. You have to keep your sanity somehow in this game.''
Sauer managed to do so longer than anyone -- for 31 years as a head coach in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association; 11 at Colorado College and 20 at Wisconsin.
Sauer won 655 games overall, including two national championships with the Badgers.
That Sauer was able to escape the long shadow of Bob Johnson and establish his own identity, separate from that of his lionized predecessor, speaks volumes for his system and perseverance.
"When I was a young coach in the league, I'd sit in those meetings and listen to everything the older coaches had to say,'' Sauer said after his 556th win moved him past the legendary John MacInnes.
"I don't know if I ever talked to any of them about coaching. You just didn't discuss those things back then. It's not like calling Sertie (Mike Sertich) on a Monday morning and talking about the series.''
Sertich was the longtime coach at Minnesota-Duluth and one of Sauer's closest friends.
"You just didn't do that back then,'' Sauer went on. "Everyone was so much more guarded. But you could still learn something from all of them.
"Denver's Murray Armstrong was businesslike in the way he approached the game. Michigan State's Amo Bessone was a true coach. Minnesota's John Mariucci was a good old guy.
"I'd have to say Bob Johnson did have the biggest influence on me,'' Sauer said. "I played for him, I coached with him and I coached against him. I went through a lot of things with Bob.''
Bob Johnson received the Lester Patrick Award in 1988.
Mark Johnson recalled, "When my dad received the recognition for what he did -- whether it was at Wisconsin, USA Hockey, Calgary or Pittsburgh -- it was a special evening for him and our family.''
To also receive the Patrick Award now makes it even more special.
Mark Johnson, the celebrated 1980 Olympian, cut his teeth as a head coach at Verona High School and with the minor league Madison Monsters before joining Sauer's staff at Wisconsin.
More recently, he has been collecting rings; NCAA championship rings. Johnson has guided the UW women to four national titles in the last six years.
The most recent of which was last season when Wisconsin defeated Boston University, 4-1, in the finals. Fittingly, the Badgers will face the BU Terriers on Friday and Saturday at the Kohl Center.
Faceoff both days will take place at 2 p.m.
"Having defeated them last year in Erie (Pa.) you know they're going to be excited to play us again,'' Johnson said. "They're going to be coming into the building looking for revenge.''
Over the last six games, the Badgers have tested themselves against North Dakota, Minnesota and Duluth. "It's been three weekends of playoff hockey,'' said Johnson. "And it elevates your play.''
Wisconsin has gone 5-1 over this challenging stretch.
"It's only October,'' he said, "but we've become better as a team playing each opponent.''
Not only were the Badgers able to walk out of Duluth with a sweep, but Johnson saw something that he had never seen before in all of his years in hockey as a player or a coach.
On a delayed penalty, the Bulldogs pulled their goaltender for a sixth attacker. But, in attempting to set up a teammate, a Duluth player inadvertently shot the puck into her own empty net.
The goal was credited to Wisconsin's Saige Pacholok, who took the initial penalty.
"The fans that were at the game,'' Johnson said, "and certainly the referees and both coaching staffs were a little stunned at what happened.
"Saige went into the penalty box and they announced her penalty first and then they announced her goal in the next sentence. I haven't seen that before going back to my playing days.
"But again, we found a way to win.''
Another common denominator between Johnson and Sauer, the Patrick Award winners.
Welcome to the This Week in Women's WCHA. Each week Ross LaDue from the UW Athletic Communications office breaks down the past weekend of action in the women's side of the WCHA and look ahead to the coming weekend.
There was a lot of goal scoring this past weekend in the WCHA. The winning teams from each series scored a total of 51 goals and each series resulted in a sweep. Wisconsin was the only road team to win, as Minnesota, North Dakota and Bemidji State all swept on home ice this past weekend.
Minnesota State at No. 2 Minnesota
The result of this series was of little surprise. With the Minnesota homecoming football game against Nebraska on Saturday, the Mavericks and Golden Gophers played in a Thursday-Friday matchup. The Gophers won by a modest margin of 3-0 on Thursday before routing the Mavericks 7-0 on Friday. The double shutouts marked the second time this season the Gophers have kept their opponents scoreless, previously against St. Cloud State on Oct. 7-8.
Minnesota players of note: Sophomore Sarah Davis scored twice on Thursday and tallied two helpers on Friday. In the 7-0 win on Friday, Sarah Erickson was the only Gopher to record more than one goal. Megan Bozek and Amanda Kessel were the only two players in the Friday game to record a goal and an assist, Kessel had one goal and two assists. A total of 12 skaters recorded points for the Gophers over the weekend. Freshman Shyler Sletta made her first start in net on Thursday and went on to make 20 saves in her first collegiate start, win and shutout. Junior Noora Räty played on Friday making 19 saves for her third shutout of the season
Minnesota State players of note: Senior goaltender Alli Altmann played in both games for the Mavericks and made an impressive 49 saves off of 52 shots in Thursday's loss. Altmann definitely gave her team a chance to win, but while goaltending may win championships, it doesn't put goals on the board. On Friday, Altmann didn't fare as well, but to her credit, four of the seven goals came on a Gopher power play.
St. Cloud State at Bemidji State
Before the season started, with the loss of the graduation of BSU's top offensive producers, I would have guessed a bit closer matchup. However, the 7-0 stomping over Maine the week prior must have given Bemidji State some offensive confidence. The Beavers lit the lamp a total of 13 times over the weekend while only conceding three goals to the Huskies, two coming off a man-advantage.
Bemidji State players of note: Defenseman Montana Vichorek recorded a six point night netting two goals on Friday, while her D-partner, Marlee Wheelhouse, scored a goal and had three assists. The No. 1 forward line of Tess Dusik, Sadie Lundquist and Emily Erickson had a tremendous weekend netting five goals and recording 11 assists on the weekend. Star goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova turned away 21 of 22 shots on Friday, while Alana McElhinney recorded 23 saves in her second appearance this season.
St. Cloud State players of note: All three goals were scored by different skaters and the only player to record more than one point on the weekend was Haylea Schmid, who had an assist in the first game and scored the Huskies final goal on Saturday. Taylor VanDenakker made her fifth start in net on Friday and concede seven goals on 35 shots. Freshman Julie Friend made her third start of season on Saturday and made 34 stops in the 5-2 loss.
Ohio State at No. 7 North Dakota
This series was the biggest surprise of the weekend. Ohio State has a great offense, but a suspect defense, and North Dakota has a fiery offense. High scores were half expected, but not lopsided scores. After the first 40 minutes of the weekend, the score inside Ralph Engelstad Arena already read Ohio State 1, North Dakota 11. A third period full of penalties would stifle any more scoring as the game would end 11-1. Saturday's game wasn't much better for the Buckeyes as the Sioux walked away with a 7-1 victory. Ohio State's special teams were abysmal as they failed to score a single goal on 13 power-play chances and conceded five goals on 12 Sioux power plays.
North Dakota players of note: After seeing who did the goal production for the Sioux, I was wondering if the conference should scrap Offensive Player of the Week for a more appropriate "Offensive Line of the Week". The No. 1 UND forward line of Monique Lamoreux-Kolls, Jocelyne Lamoureux and Michelle Karvinen put up a combined 25 points in the two games. In Saturday's 7-1 win, the three accounted for all seven goals. Karvinen had a hat trick on Friday and Lamoureux-Kolls had one on Saturday. Stephanie Ney made both starts in net recording a total of 37 saves. In the final 10 minutes of Friday's game, a span that saw seven penalties called, the Sioux put freshman Michelle Bonapace-Potvin in net.
Ohio State players of note: Laura McIntosh was the only goal scorer of the weekend for the Buckeyes. She actually opened the scoring on Saturday, only to be followed by seven UND goals. Natalie Spooner was kept to a -4 plus/minus on the weekend and wasn't able to record a single point. The Ohio State goaltending was a nightmare in net. Lisa Steffes started Friday's game and after letting in four goals on 13 shots within the first 12 minutes, was replaced by Chelsea Knapp, who let in one goal on two shots before the first period was over. Knapp started in the second and after letting in six goals on 11 shots, Steffes went back in for the remainder of the game. Knapp then played all 60 minutes on Saturday making 27 saves.
No. 1 Wisconsin at No. 5/6 Minnesota Duluth
It was another big matchup for the Badgers as they continued along their four-week stretch of playing the nation's top teams. Entering the weekend, the Bulldogs had not been swept on their home ice by the Badgers in eight years. There were points during the weekend when that streak looked as if it was going to continue. In Friday night's game, the Bulldogs held a 2-1 lead after the first period, but a strong second period and a great shorthanded breakaway goal gave the Badgers a 4-3 win. Even on Saturday after Wisconsin jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Minnesota Duluth was drastically out-shooting the Badgers and it was looking like it was just a matter of time until UMD tied things up. Luckily for UW, goaltender Alex Rigsby had one of her best nights in net and turned away 46 of UMD's 49 shots to give Wisconsin the 6-3 win and the weekend sweep.
Wisconsin players of note: Forwards Hilary Knight and Carolyne Prévost both had two goal games, with Knight getting three on the weekend. Knight had the biggest goal of the weekend, scoring the game-winner off a breakaway with fewer than two minutes remaining while shorthanded. Jordan Brickner set her up with the pass and Knight skated down and popped the puck over the blocker of UMD's Jenny Harss. Carolyne Prévost scored twice on Saturday, including the game-winner and an empty netter to secure the win. Brianna Decker also had two goals and one assist on the weekend. In net for the Badgers, Alex Rigsby had one of the best weekends in her career making a total of 80 saves and a career single-game high 46 saves on Saturday. However spectacular Rigsby's play was in net, the highlight of the weekend goes to the goal "scored" by Saige Pacholok. One of the rarest goals in hockey, it came as a result of a UMD gaffe in the second period. With a delayed penalty upcoming, the Bulldogs pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. With the Bulldogs cycling the puck in the UW zone, they misplayed a pass to the point and the puck slid all the way down the ice into the empty net for a Badger goal. It was credited to the last player who touched it, which happened to be the same player the penalty was called on, Saige Pacholok.
Minnesota Duluth players of note: Freshman Jenna McParland scored two goals in the first game of the series. Haley Irwin, member of the Olympic gold-medal winning Canadian team in 2010, tallied two assists in both games. Wong had a relatively quiet weekend as she was kept pointless on Friday and had two assists on Saturday. Irwin, Wong and McParland were the only Bulldogs to record more than one point in either game. Jenny Harss had a fairly solid night in net on Friday making 39 saves, but looked a bit rattled on Saturday only making 13 saves before UMD opted to go with senior Lana Steck for the third period. Steck made 12 saves without conceding a goal.
Possible WCHA Player of the Week winners:
The WCHA players of the week were announced early this week, but it wasn't too hard to predict who was going to win. Monique Lamoureux-Kolls was a shoe-in for Offensive Player of the Week after collecting 10 points, which included a hat trick, over the weekend. Alex Rigsby was also a standout for Defensive Player of the Week with 80 saves and a sweep over a nationally-ranked team. The Rookie of the Week award was also bound to go back to Michelle Karvinen after she posted a seven-point weekend, which, like her linemate Lamoureux-Kolls, included a hat trick.
No. 2 Minnesota at Bemidji State
While Bemidji State's offense has been rolling strong, they haven't faced a defense as stingy as Minnesota's yet. The Beavers play well at home and if they bring their A-game I wouldn't be surprise to see an upset Friday night. BSU will need great goaltending and solid defense to pull it off, because they're not going to win a high scoring game against the Gophers. On Saturday I don't see Minnesota losing, they're one of the fastest teams in the nation, if not the fastest, and they always seem to play better as the weekend progresses. With this being one of the best Gopher squads in a while, if the Beavers don't play near perfect hockey, the Gophers will be headed back to Minneapolis with two wins.
Ohio State at Minnesota State
After Ohio State's train wreck of a weekend against North Dakota anything can happen this weekend against Minnesota State. Both teams are going to be hungry for goals as the Buckeyes only scored twice and the Mavericks didn't score at all last weekend. On paper the series looks like it should be a sweep for the Buckeyes, but both teams are plagued by inconsistency in net. Ohio State has the better offense, but that didn't matter much against North Dakota. If MSU goalie Ali Altmann has a great weekend and the Maverick offense shows up, I wouldn't be surprised to see a split, or the Buckeyes getting a win and a tie.
No. 6 North Dakota at No. 7 Minnesota Duluth
This will be a great series to see firsthand. Both teams are very aggressive on the forecheck so special teams will be a major factor in this game, as a lot of penalties can be expected. I wouldn't want to be a goaltender in this series as UND's offense is on fire and Minnesota Duluth's head coach Shannon Miller will have her team ready to bounce back after getting swept by Wisconsin. A weekend split sounds reasonable if the Lamoureux's limit their penalties. Though, if the Lamouruex's are stuck in the box, UMD's power-play will run over the North Dakota defense and goaltending.
Robert Morris at St. Cloud State
Robert Morris split earlier with Minnesota State, but this may be a decent chance for St. Cloud State to get a win. I wouldn't be surprised to see freshman goaltender Julie Friend to get the start in the first game. She played well enough against Bemidji State last weekend and has the only win for SCSU this year. If the Huskies get good goaltending, I could see St. Cloud State getting their second win on the season, but I feel like Robert Morris will most likely get two wins.
No. 4/5 Boston University at No. 1 Wisconsin
While this is a rematch of last year's title game, the Boston University squad entering Madison is far from the same that played against the Badgers in Erie, Pa., last March. The Terriers will be without star forward Marie-Philip Poulin, who got hurt in the opening-weekend series against North Dakota. BU also lost some key seniors to graduation, so the roster won't be quite as deep as it was in March. The Badgers will need to rely on their strong defensive play this weekend and possibly look to convert more chances on their struggling power-play unit.
Welcome to the WCHA Women's Notebook. Each week Ross LaDue from the UW Athletic Communications office breaks down the past weekend of action in the women's side of the WCHA and look ahead to the coming weekend.
This past weekend saw mostly nonconference matchups take place, with the marquee event being right here in Madison, between the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers and No. 3 Minnesota Golden Gophers. The only other WCHA contest was between St. Cloud State and Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The rest of the conference was busy playing eastern teams as Bemidji State, Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth traveled to Maine, Robert Morris and UConn, respectively. North Dakota stayed in Grand Forks to host Vermont.
Bemidji State at Maine This series had one of the most surprising games of the weekend as the Beavers swept the Black Bears, winning the first game 3-2 in overtime and routing them 7-0 in the finale. The weekend was riddled with penalties as both teams totaled 30 minutes of penalties. Maine scored on a penalty shot on Friday and three of the other five goals in the game came on the power play.
The biggest surprise came in Saturday's game. After BSU scored its third goal of the third period, Maine pulled goaltender Kylie Smith at the 8:43 mark, but instead of putting in Brittany Ott, who played the day before, the Black Bears opted for a sixth skater and an empty net with 12 minutes left in the game. Needless to say the Beavers later scored on the empty net, which prompted the opening to be filled by Ott. However, the Black Bears continued to swap back-and-forth between an empty net and one with Ott. Bemidji State scored a final empty netter, as Maine's strategy of playing without a goalie for a more than 6 minutes failed to produce any goals.
Bemidji State players of notes: Emily Erickson recorded three goals and one assist on the weekend, while Erika Wheelhouse, last week's WCHA Defensive Player of the week, netted two goals. Slovakian goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova made 25 saves in the first game to record her second win of the season, while Alana McElhinney saw her first minutes of the season making 17 saves in the 7-0 win.
No. 6 Minnesota Duluth at Connecticut A struggling UConn team hosting a national power-house had all the markings for a blowout so it was a bit surprising to see the Huskies net four goals on the Bulldogs and only lose by one in Friday's game. Whatever defensive lapses the Bulldogs had on Friday were erased on Saturday as they cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Huskies.
Minnesota Duluth players of notes: The Bulldogs did a good job of spreading the points around. In Friday's game no one had more than one goal or one assist and the only players to record more than one point in the game were Audrey Cournoyer and Katherine Wilson, who both had one goal and one assist. Both Cournoyer and Wilson were held to one assist on Saturday as Haley Irwin, Jenna McParland and Pernilla Winberg all recorded two points each. Jenny Harss made 38 saves on the weekend letting in five goals, not her best performance, but it was good enough to get two wins.
Minnesota State at Robert Morris The Mavericks saw themselves with a 3-1 lead on Friday night before taking a nose dive in the last half of the game allowing Robert Morris to score three consecutive goals, including the game-winner in overtime. Exacting revenge, Minnesota State scored three consecutive goals to start off the game on Saturday. MSU would give up a shorthanded goal in the third, but would keep the lead to post their fourth win of the season. Minnesota State players of notes: The teams's leading goal scorer, Lauren Smith was, kept off the score sheet in both games, while last year's leading scorer, Kathleen Rogan, was kept to one goal on the weekend. Emilia Andersson was the only Maverick to score more than one goal as she netted two. Inconsistency has plagued the Minnesota State goaltending corps for the past few seasons and this weekend was no exception. Senior Alli Altmann played both games and struggled in Friday's contest stopping 18 of 22, but played well on Saturday stopping 23 of 24.
No. 7 North Dakota vs Vermont With only one win on the season, I expected North Dakota to enter this series hungry for two wins. Granted the three loses the Sioux suffered in their first four games were to teams ranked higher than them, North Dakota is a much better team than they ever have been and they were hosting a fairly weak Vermont squad. The score from Saturday's game would suggest the Sioux had a lot of pent up frustration that was taken out on the Catamounts. Within the first three minutes of the game, the Sioux had already taken a 2-0 lead. UND scored two more in the second period before adding five in the third to win the first game 9-1. Sunday's game saw Vermont actually score first and hold the 1-0 lead until the final seconds of the opening period. The Sioux then went on to win by a modest 4-1 margin. North Dakota players of note: In Saturday's blowout, European standouts Michelle Karvinen and Andrea Dalen both scored two goals and tallied one assist, while Jocelyne Lamoureux scored two goals and helped on three others. Lamoureux's twin sister Monique Lamoureux-Kolls had two assists in the game. The twins would add one goal and one assist each in Sunday's game. Karvinen added two more helpers in the final game. Both UND netminders played over the weekend as Stephanie Ney got the nod in Saturday's contest, making 14 of 15 saves for her second win of the season. Jorid Dagfinrud got her first start of the season on Sunday and made 14 of 15 saves as well, with nine of those saves coming in the first period.
St. Cloud State at Ohio State This series saw the most predictable scores of the weekend as Ohio State put up 5-1 scores both nights. SCSU actually scored the opening goal of the weekend, but gave up 10 straight before scoring the closing goal of the series.
Ohio State player notes: The Buckeyes' offense is led by the trio of Natalie Spooner, Laura McIntosh and Hokey Langan. Also sophomore Ally Tarr has been a pleasant surprise on offense for Ohio State so far this season. Spooner and McIntosh had a consistent weekend as they both recorded one goal and one assist each night. Langan has had a quiet start to the season and only tallied one goal all weekend. Tarr chipped in with a three point weekend. The biggest news for Ohio State on defense this year has been the return of their goaltender Chelsea Knapp who missed all of last year due to surgery rehab. However, Knapp wasn't the most elite before her absence and last year's true freshman Lisa Steffes played the most minutes of any goaltender in the nation and did a very acceptable job in net. Both goalies played a game on the weekend and it doesn't look like OSU has No. 1 goalie selected yet.
St. Cloud State players of note: Goaltender Tayler VanDenakker played both games of the series making 77 saves. VanDenakker has large shoes to fill after Ashley Nixon graduated at the end of last season. Nixon was a staple in net for the Huskies and was one of the better goalies in the conference even though her numbers didn't reflect it. VanDenakker looks to be a solid replacement, but with the weak SCSU defense don't expect her to be stealing any games too soon. Defender Jocelyn Zabrick has been seeing time up front at forward recently and scored the lone goal on Friday night.
No. 3 Minnesota at No. 1 Wisconsin In the biggest game of the weekend in women's college hockey, the No. 3 Golden Gophers looked to topple the No. 1 Badgers as both teams entered the weekend with a 4-0-0 record. Overall, not much was decided. The weekend was a split, giving Ohio State the best record in the WCHA after four conference games. The two games were almost exact opposites of each other as Friday's contest saw the Gophers start the game flat and have a late rally fall short, while the Badgers did pretty much the same on Sunday. Both games had the same score line of 3-2, though on Friday the Badgers scored 3-0 and never lost the lead, while on Sunday the Gophers lost a 2-0 lead only to gain a 3-2 edge in the third period. The note of the weekend was Minnesota ending Wisconsin's unbeaten streak at 32 games.
Minnesota players of note: Leading goal scorer, Amanda Kessel was kept off the score sheet in Friday's loss, but she came back to score the game-winner on Sunday. Finnish goaltender Noora Räty made 50 saves on the weekend conceding five goals.
Wisconsin players of note: Carolyne Prévost scored two goals including the game-winner on Friday and assisted on both goals on Sunday, which were scored by Brooke Ammerman. Both Prévost and Brooke Ammerman have tallied at least one point so far in each of their games played this season. Sophomore netminder Alex Rigsby also conceded five goals on the weekend, but recorded two more saves than Räty in the series.
Possible WCHA Player of the Week winners (in order of likeliness)
Defensive Player of the Week Jessica Wong (UMD) - 2 points (2G, 0A), 1 game-winning goal, 9 shots, +3 plus/minus Erika Wheelhouse (BSU) - 2 points (2G, 0A), 8 shots, +3 plus/minus Jennifer Harss (UMD) - 2 wins, 38 saves, only goalie to record two wins Noora Räty (UM) - 1 win, 50 saves
Rookie of the Week Michelle Karvinen (UND) - 5 points (2G, 3A), 2 game-winning assists, 10 shots, +5 plus/minus Taylor Kuehl (OSU) - 3 points (0G, 3A), 8 shots, +3 plus/minus Rachael Kelly (BSU) - 2 points (1G, 1A),1 game-winning assist in OT, 1 shot, +1 plus/minus
Minnesota State at No. 2 Minnesota I see Minnesota sweeping this one. Minnesota State's goaltending and defense won't be able to stop the offensive power of the Gophers. The Mavericks may net a couple goals of their own, but I wouldn't expect any more than two or three all weekend get past Räty.
St. Cloud State at Bemidji State Before the season began I wouldn't have been surprised to see one close game of two in the series. However, with the way the Beaver offense has been playing, they should come away with an easy weekend sweep.
Ohio State at No. 7 North Dakota For a UND sweep the Sioux will have to rely on their defense and goaltending. The North Dakota offense should easily overpower Ohio State's defense, but if UND can't keep Spooner and McIntosh contained I wouldn't be surprised to see the Buckeyes squeeze out a win. No. 1 Wisconsin at No. 6 Minnesota Duluth Wisconsin will need to limit the two biggest scoring threats that UMD has by slowing down and limiting Haley Irwin while also containing Jessica Wong at the blue line. UMD goaltender Jenny Harss takes up a lot of room in net with her large pads and her glove is quick, but in the past, she has had poor rebound control and a weak five-hole. The Badgers will need to crash the net, in hopes for second and third-opportunity shots to score goals.
The first ever Women's Beantown Summer Classic kicked off today and for a tournament in its infancy, it features some serious talent; including 12 current or former UW women's hockey players. In the mix of players include current U.S. and Canadian Olympians, former and current WCHA players, and other Division I women's hockey players.
The Beantown Classic is normally a series of tournaments designed to showcase the talents of future male hockey prospects. This year they added a women's component for the summer and fielded five divisions: a futures division (birthyears ranging from '91-'97), a 1998 Division ('98 birth years only), a 1996/1997 Division ('96 & '97 birth years only), a college division and a senior division.
The college division fielded 14 teams and, by far, showcases the greatest talent out of the five divisions. A vast majority of the players in the division come from a mix of from Division I Division III programs. Unsurprisingly most of the players come from East Coast universities, as the tournament is in Boston.
Of those 14 teams in the college division, two stand out as heavyweight contenders for winning the whole thing. Two guesses for what teams the 12 Badgers are playing on...
The roster for Cheli's Chili Chicks (not sure if they're sponsored by Chris Chelios' restaurant, considering the only two are both in Michigan) features seven Badgers: Hillary Knight, Madison Packer, Meghan Duggan, Brianna Decker, Geena Prough, Carla Pentimone and Erika Lawler. Also on the roster are Caitlyn Cahow and Kacey Bellamy, both Olympic medalists for Team USA.
Brittany Ammerman, Kelly Nash, Carolyne Prévost, Stefanie McKeough and Brittany Haverstock are the remaining five Badgers and play for Team Sexy Back (aptly named for Justin Timberlake's ever-so-amazing single "SexyBack"). Looking to ride the same success as the triple platinum song, the roster for Team Sexy Back features three-time Olympians Julie Chu (Team USA) and Caroline Ouellette (Team Canada).
All 14 teams will play four games today and tomorrow, leading up to the top six teams making a single-elimination playoff bracket on Sunday. However, Cheli's Chili Chicks and Team Sexy Back cannot both go undefeated as they have to play each other in the preliminary stage in what could be a warm-up for the championship game.
Here are the complete rosters for the two "power-house" teams:
Cheli's Chili Chicks F - Hillary Knight - Returning for her senior season, 2010 Vancouver Olympics for Team USA F - Madison Packer - Returning for her sophomore season F - Meghan Duggan - Just concluded her UW career winning the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Award, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics F - Brianna Decker - Returning for her junior season F - Geena Prough - Just concluded her UW career F - Carla Pentimone - Just concluded her UW career F - Erika Lawler - Concluded UW career in 2009, 2010 Vancouver Olympics for Team USA. F - Ashley Cottrell - Plays for Providence College D - Caitlyn Cahow - Two-time Olympian for Team USA D - Kacey Bellamy - 2010 Vancouver Olympics for Team USA D - Josephine Pucci - Plays for Harvard, 2011 World Championships for Team USA G - Geneveive LaCasse - Plays for Providence and had the fifth-best save percentage in the nation in 2010-11, 2011 Team Canada U-22.
Team Sexy Back F - Brittany Ammerman - Returning for her sophomore season F - Kelly Nash - Just concluded her UW career F - Carolyne Prévost - Returning for her senior season, 2011 Team Canada U-22 D - Stefanie McKeough - Returning for her junior season , 2011 Team Canada U-22 D - Brittany Haverstock - Returning for her senior season, 2011 Team Canada U-22 F - Jess Koizumi - Assistant coach at Yale, former Minnesota Duluth player F - Julie Chu - Three-time Olympian for Team USA F - Emmanuelle Blais - Former Minnesota Duluth player, led Bulldogs in scoring in 2009-10 F - Caroline Ouellette - Three-time Olympian for Team Canada F - Jess Tyra - Former Bemidji State player, currently at UW-Superior F - Kelley Steadman - plays for Mercyhurst, 2011 IIHF World Championships for Team USA F - Abby Gauthier - Plays for Providence D - Gabie Figuroa - Plays for Princeton D - Jody Holland - Former North Dakota player, currently at UW-Superior D - Liz Keady - Plays for Princeton D - Erica Kromm - Plays for Brown G - Laura Chamberlain - Plays for RIT
Here's a look at the complete poll results: 48.7% David Gilreath - Football - Opening kickoff return for TD vs. Ohio State (Oct. 16) 27.2% Kelly Nash - Women's Hockey- OT game-winner in WCHA Final Face-Off (March 5) 9.5% Josh Gasser - Men's Basketball - Buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Michigan (Feb. 23) 5.3% Landon Peacock - Men's Cross Country - Late pass to win Big Ten title (Oct. 31) 4.3% Justin Schultz - Men's Hockey - OT game-winning goal vs. Canisius (Jan. 8) 3.5% Brad Nortman - Football - Fake punt to keep drive alive vs. Iowa (Oct. 23) 1.4% Lin Zastrow - Women's Basketball - Game-tying tip-in at buzzer vs. Wyoming (Dec. 15)
And, in case you want to see it again, the top play in UW sports for 2010-11:
Our look back on the top plays of 2010-11 continues Saturday as we look back on the play that finished off the Badgers' sweep of the WCHA regular-season and tournament titles with a dramatic overtime win over Border Battle rival Minnesota.
Is it your choice for the best of 2010-11? Feel free to vote once per day for your favorite play, and we will announce the winner Wednesday, June 29.
Kelly Nash - Women's Hockey OT game-winner to win WCHA Final Face-Off (March 5) With the WCHA Final Face-Off crown on the line in a rivalry matchup against Minnesota, the Badgers needed a lift in overtime. Their first lead of the game came with just 49 seconds to go in the extra period as senior Kelly Nash took a pass from fellow senior Geena Prough and wristed the game-winner past Gophers goaltender Noora Raty. The goal gave UW its fourth WCHA tournament title and kept the Badgers' unbeaten streak alive at 24 straight games.
One of the most prolific goal-scorers in college hockey history got credit for a "save'' Monday when Mark Johnson saved the Badgers from getting skunked on the Big Ten Network awards show.
Wisconsin had nominees in six different categories.
After guiding the UW women's hockey team to its fourth national championship in the last six seasons, the 53-year-old Johnson was honored as BTN's Women's Coach of the Year.
Johnson beat out Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins and Penn State basketball coach Coquese Washington. In collecting 37 wins overall - an NCAA record -- the Badgers finished the 2010-11 season on a 27-game unbeaten streak. Johnson is now 14-2 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
"We never lost a game from Thanksgiving on and that really impresses me about this group,'' Johnson said. "Especially when you think about being ranked No. 1 (for 12 straight weeks, Jan. 3 to March 21) and having that bullseye on your back every game.
"It was an incredible run.''
Despite the graduation loss of captain Meghan Duggan - the UW's career scoring leader and the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner as the nation's top player -- Johnson is confident that the Badgers will stay among the elite.
Citing the returning strength of WCHA rivals Minnesota and North Dakota, he pointed out, "That bodes well for our sport and women's hockey. Competiton creates excitement and brings people to the rink.''
There will be no shortage of motivation for Johnson, who has a 247-41-24 (.830) career mark.
"It's one of the things that we teach our players - to be successful you have to be competitive,'' he said. "And that usually starts at the top. It's a lot more enjoyable to win than to lose.
"One of the nice things about the summer is that you get a chance to reflect while recharging your engine. By the time September comes around, you're fired up and ready to go again.''
The off-season will be a little more challenging in one respect for Johnson in that he must find a replacement for long-time assistant Tracey DeKeyser, who plans on retiring.
DeKeyser, who just completed her 12th season with the program, served as Wisconsin's interim coach while Johnson took a one-year sabbatical to coach the 2010 U.S. Women's Olympic hockey team.
"When you lose an assistant coach - someone who has contact with the players on a daily basis - it changes things,'' Johnson said. "Tracey has been here since day one and she's been outstanding.
"She'll certainly be missed for all the things she does, not only form a hockey standpoint, but from helping kids with their academics and personal issues. She's been a great mentor to our players.''
Outside of Johnson's award, UW fans had little to cheer about Monday night when BTN announced its winners. Some decisions were more understandable than others.
For example, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was singled out for Most Dominating Performance - gaining the nod over Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor and Illinois tailback Mikel Leshoure.
Although Taylor was most deserving - after sparking the Badgers past No. 1 Ohio State - Robinson did account for 502 of his team's 532 yards of total offense in a 28-24 win over Notre Dame.
The biggest surprise was that neither of Wisconsin nominees for the Game of the Year - the dramatic triumphs over the unbeaten Buckeyes in football and basketball - resonated with the voters.
Go figure. BTN opted to recognize two really crummy defenses for the roles that they played in Michigan's 67-65 victory over Illinois in triple-overtime. You can do the math.
Michigan's defense ranked No. 110 nationally and got Rich Rodriguez fired, among other things. Meanwhile, the two 7-6 teams combined for 132 points and 1,237 yards of total offense.
For decades, the Big Ten has prided itself on defense winning championships.
There's apparently a different standard for winning awards in the Legends and Leaders era.
Given the type of year UW's teams had it's not surprising to find them prominently among the nominees. In addition to the Suzy Favor Award for the best female student-athlete, and the Jesse Owens Award for the best male student-athlete, there are nine other categories on the show.
Wisconsin student-athletes, coaches or teams are among the three nominees in six of those categories. That is tied with Michigan for the most. Below is the complete list of awards and nominees. Which ones do the Badgers deserve?
Each year, Wisconsin Athletics submits its top men's and women's athletes for the prestigious Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year and Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year awards, presented annually by the Big Ten Conference.
The Badgers' nominees are considered to be the UW Male Athlete of the Year and UW Female Athlete of the Year award winners.
With UW teams experiencing success across the board during the 2010-11 season, it's as difficult a job as ever to narrow the field to just one deserving student-athlete on both the men's and women's sides of competition.
The winner of UW's awards will be announced Friday, but you can read profiles on each of the nominees who were not selected today. Then, make your own decision and vote in our polls on Facebook to determine the fans' choice for the Badgers' top athletes in 2010-11.
(Yes, it's pretty easy to figure out who will be announced as winners Friday...)
The 29th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Gabe Carimi started 49 games throughout his Badger career. A 2010 consensus first-team All-American, Carimi became the second Badger to win the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation's top interior lineman. He is just the eighth Badger to earn unanimous, consensus first-team All-America honors.
Last season Carimi was a key cog in an offense that led the Big Ten and averaged a school-record 41.5 points per game (fifth in the country), including 45.2 points per game in Big Ten play, second-best in conference history. UW also led the Big Ten and ranked 12th in the country in rushing offense, nearly becoming the first FBS team in history to have three running backs go over 1,000 yards in the same season.
At left tackle, Carimi lined up against some of the best defensive linemen in the country, including All-Americans Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue, Cameron Heyward of Ohio State and Adrian Clayborn of Iowa. He was just the third player in Badger history to earn Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.
Earlier this month, Carimi was named Wisconsin's male Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. He graduated in May with 3.13 grade-point average in civil and environmental engineering and was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Landon Peacock capped off his senior season for the Badgers in style with a come-from-behind performance that gave him the win in a dramatic men's race at the 2010 Big Ten Cross Country Championship.
The Morley, Mich., native claimed his first individual Big Ten title by a half-second, out-leaning Indiana's Andrew Bayer at the finish line for the win. Peacock clocked in at 23 minutes, 40.8 seconds, while Bayer was second in 23:41.3.
The victory made Peacock UW's 27th individual conference champion and led the way for the Badgers to secure their 12th-consecutive team crown in the first-ever Big Ten championship held at their own Zimmer Championship Course.
Sitting fifth heading into the course's finishing chute, Peacock charged past teammate Mohammed Ahmed and Minnesota's Ben Blankenship and trailed only Bayer with 30 meters to go. He finally hunted the Hoosier down at the line to become UW's first individual titlist since Matt Withrow in 2007.
He went on to earn first-team all-region honors with a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional -- as UW won its eighth-straight team title -- and then scored All-America laurels for the second time in his career with a 20th-place showing at the 2010 NCAA Championship.
In track, Peacock was unable to defend his 2010 Big Ten title in the 5,000 meters as an injury sidelined him for the duration of the indoor season. However, he came back outdoors to finish fifth at the Big Ten meet in the 5,000 and then posted a personal-best time of 13:42.90 in the event at the 2011 NCAA West Preliminary Round.
Despite the outstanding time, which would have won the other preliminary-round heat in Eugene, Ore., as well as both sections of the event at the NCAA East Preliminary Round site, Peacock did not advance to the NCAA championships due to regional qualifying procedures.
Anchoring the blue line for the Badgers in the 2010-11 season, Justin Schultz completed his sophomore campaign as the nation's top-scoring defenseman with 18 goals and 47 points. His 18 goals were the most by a blueliner in the nation since 2002-03 and was just one shy of the UW single-season record for a defenseman.
Schultz had a remarkable sophomore season and did not go more than two games without a point. He scored the opening goal of a game five times and led the Badgers with 14 multi-point games.
The All-American was also named Defenseman of the Year by Inside College Hockey, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-WCHA, was one of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and earned a spot on College Hockey News' national first team.
On Nov. 27 against Michigan State, Schultz became the sixth Badger defenseman in program history -- and the first since 1991-92 -- to record a hat trick. He was also the sixth Wisconsin defenseman to lead the team in points.
Schultz was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week after scoring the overtime game-winner in a 6-5 victory over Canisius on Jan. 8, snapping UW's 26-game overtime winless drought. He tallied three assists against Alabama Huntsville on Oct. 17 and had a total of three multi-goal games on the year.
In part to Schultz's efforts, Wisconsin ranked No. 8 nationally in goals-against average at 2.39. The Badgers also had the nation's top-scoring defensive corps, with a combined 120 points from the blue line.
Dorcas Akinniyi continues to haul in hardware every time she heads to a championship meet. The Carrollton, Texas, native added to her collection in 2011 with All-America honors both indoors and outdoors.
Akinniyi has qualified for the NCAA championships in all five seasons -- indoor and outdoor combined -- in which she's been eligible. After this season, she has also collected an All-America award four times.
She posted her best-ever NCAA finish with an outstanding fourth-place showing in the pentathlon at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, racking up a school-record total of 4,254 points to earn her first All-America laurel of the year.
That performance came on the heels of her second-consecutive conference title in the pentathlon at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships, where she scored 3,929 points.
Moving outdoors, Akinniyi earned a berth directly to the NCAA championships by virtue of her heptathlon score of 5,352 points at the Mt. SAC Relays Multi-Events in April. She also qualified for the 2011 NCAA West Preliminary Round in the open high jump for the second-straight season.
At the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Akinniyi piled up 5,554 points -- just 30 markers shy of her lifetime-best score -- to finish sixth in the heptathlon and secure the fourth All-America honor of her career. A career-best 3,469 points on the opening day of the two-day, seven-event competition propelled Akinniyi to another top-eight finish.
After taking a year off to compete with the U.S. Olympic Team in the 2010 Winter Games, Hilary Knight returned to Wisconsin for her junior season, leading the nation with 47 goals and helping the Badgers to their fourth NCAA championship.
Third in the nation in points with 81 on the season, the alternate captain now sits in third place on the UW all-time career-scoring list with 202 points.
Knight tallied a career-best 20-game point streak that spanned from Dec. 10 to Feb. 26, tying for the second-longest steak in UW history. In 41 games, she recorded 25 multi-point games, including three five-point efforts and four hat tricks. With her 47 goals, Knight scored more goals than four NCAA Division I teams did all year.
Knight was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week twice, once after tallying five points against RPI on Oct. 2 and lastly on Jan. 5 after having back-to-back four-point games against Northeastern and Mercyhurst at the Easton Holiday Showcase.
Scoring just 47 seconds into the Fill the Bowl contest at the Kohl Center, Knight tallied the first of three goals as the Badgers downed Minnesota, 3-1, in front of 10,668 fans on Jan. 29. Her game-winning goal against Bemidji State on Feb. 4 marked her 100th career tally.
She led UW with two points, including the game-tying goal and an assist on the game-winner, against Minnesota Duluth in an NCAA regional game on March 12. She went on to record three assists at the Frozen Four, including two in a 3-2 win over Boston College on March 18 in the national semifinal game.
On the national stage, Knight represented the United States as a member of the Women's Under-22 Select Team at the 2010 USA Hockey Women's National Festival and a three-game series against Canada.
Knight tallied three points for the U.S. Women's Select Team in the 2010 Women's Four Nations Cup in St. John's, Canada, where Team USA placed second.
After winning the national title with Wisconsin, Knight scored the game-winner in overtime against Canada as the U.S. Women's National Team claimed gold in April's 2011 IIHF World Women's Championship in Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland.
Maggie Meyer capped off a brilliant career at Wisconsin by becoming the first national champion in program history when she won the 200-yard backstroke at the 2011 NCAA Championships in March. Meyer finished the NCAAs as a six-time All-American and was an 11-time All-American for her career.
With seven honorable mention All-America honors in career as well, Meyer tied for the second-most All-America accolades in school history with 18.
The 2011 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, Meyer won five of the six events she entered at the 2011 Big Ten Championships, bumping her career total to 10 conference titles. The White Bear Lake, Minn., native swept the 100 and 200 backstroke events, then recorded relay wins in the 400 free, 200 medley and 400 medley.
She set four school records as a senior, bringing her career total to six. Meyer also set a Big Ten record in the 200 medley relay.
In addition to setting the school record in the 200 back, Meyer also lowered the mark individually in the 100 back (51.66). In the relays, Meyer was a part of record-setting teams in the 200 medley relay (1:35.71) and 400 medley relay (3:31.73).
Meyer dominated the backstroke events in 2010-11, going undefeated in the 200 backstroke and winning 10 of 11 races in the 100 back. All told, Meyer won 38 out of possible 57 races she entered during the season either as an individual or as a member of a relay unit.