Boone vs Bucky: Old WCHA Foes Heading in Opposite Directions

An article in the Grand Forks Herald ponders the University of Wisconsin hockey program's gaffes that have resulted in the program's recent, rapid decline. The article points to average recruiting, poor retention rate and poor roster management as the causes for the precipitous decline. The resulting figures support the case:

  • Wisconsin has six wins in its last 44 games.
  • Away from Kohl Center, Wisconsin has won one of its last 22 games.
  • Wisconsin only scored 59 goals last season.
  • Last season, Wisconsin lost by an average of two goals per game, worst in all of college hockey.
  • After drawing more than 10,000 per home game annually in the Kohl Center, the Badgers are averaging only 7,239 so far this season.
Of course, many are saying that these terrible results put head coach Mike Eaves on the hot seat. Some go so far as to claim that if the program does not turn the corner this year, Eaves will be fired. If that's the case, a familiar name might be looked to as his replacement: George Gwozdecky. As we know, Gwoz played his college hockey in Madison.

This is still a ways off, but if things don't turn around at Wisconsin, a program known for its historical success in the sport, change will be coming. That much can be counted on.

Denver will look to capitalize on a mediocre Badgers team this weekend as they travel to Madison for a 2-game series at the Kohl Center. The Pioneers will also attempt to keep its recent top form as they haven't lost in their last 4 games (3-0-1). After starting 0-3 on the road with losses to Air Force, Boston College, and Boston University, the Pios have picked it up away from Magness going 2-0-1 against Colorado College and Minnesota-Duluth.

Wisconsin did manage to beat a then top-ranked North Dakota (Fighting Hawks now?) team at The Ralph (Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks) to earn a weekend split. The Badgers are not necessarily the same terrible team they were last year. They're not a contender by any means, but DU can't afford to take them lightly. While a road split would not be the end of the world for the Pios, a road sweep is and should be not only the goal, but the plan.

A helpful LetsGoDU reader alerted us to the viewing details for this weekend's series: Friday night's game can be viewed on a tape delay on Altitude2 (channel 105 in Denver for Comcast customers) and Saturday night's game will be live streamed by Wisconsin Public TV. The puck drops at 6:30 PM MT on Friday night and at 7:00 PM MT on Saturday.

As always, you can listen to the games on the radio on either 1600 AM or 104.3 FM. The always entertaining Jay Stickney will be on the call this weekend from Madison.

No comments: