Seawolves sail into Kohl Center

first_imgLeading the team in points, Smith will try and help Wisconsin bounce back against Alaska Anchorage.[/media-credit]For the Wisconsin men’s hockey team coming off a series split to Minnesota, practice this week has gone on with the same consistent intensity, something head coach Mike Eaves expects to see as the team prepares to host the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves this weekend at the Kohl Center.“The work ethic and pace of practice has been pretty good, but we’d all be smiling a bit more if we could put some pucks in the net,” he said.After a disappointing loss to the Gophers last Saturday, the players, along with the coaching staff, have not been shy in expressing their aggravation with the lack of goals.“I think everyone is upset about last Saturday so practice has been high tempo, battling as hard as we can,” UW junior defenseman Brendan Smith said.The Badgers missed an opportunity to sweep the Golden Gophers last weekend following a Friday night victory, losing 5-2 on Saturday despite significantly out-chancing their border rivals.Eaves had plenty to share with his team following the loss, as the Badgers watched the game film earlier in the week.“We showed six clips yesterday, it was a good clip in the beginning and a good clip at the end, so you can imagine what kind of sandwich that was,” Eaves said. “It was an honest tape, and we saw how close we are.”Eaves has not been disappointed with his team’s effort, as the Badgers have dominated in possession and shots on a nightly basis, but finishing the chances they create has been an issue this group is still trying to work through.“Right now we just need to find a way to score goals and finish,” UW sophomore forward Derek Stepan said. “Each guy has taken his own notes, bearing down when chances come, and that has been the main focus.”As one of the team’s top goal scoring threats, Stepan admitted the missed opportunities are building up some frustration.“For me, I’m kind of gripping my stick,” Stepan said. “I remember watching my own tapes and there were three chances that just have to be put in the back of the net.I’ve got to loosen up and hopefully find the net here soon.”Moving forward, the coaching staff is doing all it can to recapture this team’s scoring touch, and it’s confident it will come.“I think are best times are still to come from the guys. We need to find a way to get some dirty goals, some gritty goals,” Eaves said. “The pretty ones will come because that’s who you are. We just need to work hard and continue to get chances, because it will come around.”Stepan and the rest of the Badgers will look to keep the scoring chances coming this weekend as UW welcomes Alaska Anchorage.After evaluating the Seawolves, Stepan noted the work ethic as a standout trait.“They’re a hardworking team,” Stepan said. “They’re going to go hard to net, they’re going to play tough and finish their checks. We just have to match that intensity and bring it more.”A weekend removed from an intense rivalry series against Minnesota, Smith acknowledged the challenge Alaska presents, and he wants to make sure his teammates do the same.“The biggest thing is I don’t want the boys to take Alaska for granted,” Smith said. “Because if we do that we’re going to find ourselves in trouble.”Stepan and Smith are on the same page in regards to the threat the Seawolves pose.“Anyone in the WCHA can beat you,” Stepan said. “You have always got to come ready to play and you really cannot take anyone for granted.”Alaska Anchorage may not have the reputation Minnesota boasts, but the Seawolves are coming off an impressive 7-3 victory against Denver, and Eaves knows this is a tough team coming to Madison.“They aren’t fragmented, they play together, and that makes them hard to play against,” Eaves said. “They give themselves a chance because they play hard and because they play as a team.”Smith and the rest of the defensive pairings are prepared for an offensive attack that is coming in with confidence.“Alaska came out flying against Denver and they’re going to come in and try to push us around,” Smith said. “We want to move the puck up and get it into our forwards’ hands and eliminate Alaska’s time and space.”last_img

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