Wisconsin Powers Past Vermont
by Dan Myers/CHN Staff
Dan Myers' video blog, recapping Day 1 at the West Regional.
See more Featured Videos from CHN
ST. PAUL, Minn. After falling behind 2-1 after one, Wisconsin entered the locker room in what amounted to the turning point of the game. Vermont rallied for two straight goals, outshot Wisconsin 14-12 and had much of the momentum.
"We were getting out-worked and losing a lot of battles along the wall," said Wisconsin senior forward Blake Geoffrion. "We talked about getting the puck in and getting the puck out, we didn't have the support there we needed and we were losing a lot of battles. We talked about that and getting it going a little bit and playing Wisconsin hockey and dictating our style of play."
The Badgers outshot Vermont 16-3 and added two power-play goals and held on in the third period to advance 3-2 and face WCHA rival St. Cloud State on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.
"We weren't as good as we hoped," Badgers coach Mike Eaves said of the first period. "In the second period, we got out feet moving, did better things in terms of supporting the puck, winning races and winning battles."
Geoffrion put it more succinctly.
"We came back out in the second firing on all cylinders," Geoffrion said.
It took a gargantuan effort from UVM goaltender Rob Madore to prevent this from spiraling out of control. He stopped 39 shots on the night, many of them spectacular. In the third period, he shut down a Geoffrion break away to keep the Cats in the game.
"[Madore] was fantastic," said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said. "He gave us every opportunity to win."
"It stops you from spiraling out," added UVM senior forward Brian Roloff. "It allows the bench to keep some composure when you have a brick wall back there."
Wisconsin jumped out in front on a power play marker by Justin Schultz, but saw the Cats score a pair of greasy goals. Dan Lawson tied the game less than two minutes after Schultz's tally — his first goal of the season. Lawson added an assist on the Cats' second goal by Roloff eight minutes later.
Lawson's goal was initially not. His shot from the point was gloved by UW goaltender Scott Gudmandson. But traffic in front pushed both him and the puck into the goal. After a lengthy review, the call on the ice was overturned and the game was tied.
"It was big too, not a lot of our guys knew if that puck went in," Sneddon said. "It was an added bonus. I think a lot of us thought it was going to be called no goal."
Roloff's goal was UVM's last hurrah until the third period. Wisconsin held Vermont without a shot for the first half of the second period and started to dictate play with its pace and physicality.
"The base of our pyramid is to play hard," Eaves said. "You give yourself a chance to win when you play hard and play physical."
The third period was more evenly matched, and with just over four minutes to play, Vermont had a power play chance of its own to try and knot the game. The opportunity was extinguished just four seconds later when Brayden Irwin took a hooking call.
Vermont pulled Madore with almost two minutes remaining, but could muster only two shots — one from 170 feet as time expired.
"I thought we did a good job when they pulled their goaltender," Eaves said. "We looked like we knew what we were doing, and that's always a good thing going on further into the playoffs."
The Badgers will now face SCSU in the west region final at 8 p.m. Saturday at the X. The Huskies defeated Wisconsin last Friday 2-0 in a semifinal game at the WCHA Final Five. Mike Lee stopped 37 shots in that game.
"We certainly know what's ahead of us," Eaves said. "This is our sixth time playing. We know that Mr. Lee is playing very well right now.
"It's going to be a great game, both teams know each other inside and out," Eaves added. "I think people that show up at the Xcel Center are going to get a whale of a college hockey game."