Wisconsin crushes Seawolves

Badgers outshoot Alaska-Anchorage 51-15 in 6-1 trouncing

MADISON – The last time Alaska-Anchorage skated on the Kohl Center ice they were celebrating a victory over the heavily favored Badgers in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. Things were different Friday night, though — very different, as Wisconsin kept their spot at the top of the conference with a 6-1 win over the Seawolves.

"It was important for our players to get the momentum back at home," head coach Mike Eaves said. "We were disappointed in our performance at the [Badger Hockey] Showdown and we wanted to come back and show the folks here at home that we can play at a higher level."

The fifth-ranked Badgers (16-6-1, 13-4-0 WCHA) received scoring contributions from six different players and posted 51 shots, the highest total of the Eaves era. The coup de grace of the rout was a devastating second period in which the Badgers scored four times and laid on close to four times as many shots as their opponents.

The stellar play of the UW defense saw to it that by the time Martin Stuchlik scored the Seawolves' lone goal in the latter half of the final period, the visitors were already well out of range for a comeback. UAA put a total of 15 shots on goal, only two more than Badger wing Ryan MacMurchy managed individually.

The Seawolves (7-10-2, 5-9-1) opted to pull Freshman Player of the Week Nathan Lawson after their disastrous second period, but backup John Decaro fared no better against the Wisconsin attack and surrendered a goal to Matt Ford on the Badgers' first shot.

"(Lawson) kept us in it as long as he could," UAA head coach John Hill said. "But when it was four-zip and we were as bad as we were and weren't showing any signs of life, I thought I'd rest him and let him get ready for tomorrow."

Despite being up 5-1 in the final three minutes the Badgers showed little mercy and extended their lead with a score from Tom Gilbert, their third power play conversion on eight attempts. The goal was Gilbert's fifth power play score of the season and his third in the past two weekends.

Strong finish aside, however, the game was made in the second stanza. If the Badgers' first period showing was mediocre, their second period was a quantum leap. In the space of 10 minutes Wisconsin jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a mix of strong offensive play and dominating defense.

"One thing we've been working on this year is pressuring harder," Badger captain Adam Burish said. "When you pressure more you're going to get more loose pucks and turnovers. Then it's a matter of what you do when you create that turnover … That's just a by-product of our system."

Though four goals would be Wisconsin's most obvious statistic of the second stanza, there was another equally impressive number: 5 — the number of shots the Seawolves registered in a period where they enjoyed two minutes of a 5-on-3 power play.

"It gave our team momentum, the fact that we killed off all those penalties," Wisconsin center Jake Dowell said. "Then to turn around and get a goal off of it was a big turnaround for us."

Wisconsin opened its scoring run with a power play goal from team scoring leader Robbie Earl at 9:08 of the second period. The goal was Earl's 11th of the season.

Minutes later freshman Joe Pavelski upped the lead after fighting through a melee in front of the crease to put the puck in between Lawson's legs.

Nick Licari notched the third goal after a diving swipe at the puck at 14:48 of the second and Burish added insult to injury by taking a breakaway in for a shorthanded goal in the final minute of the second period.

The Badgers, who have now outscored the Seawolves 14-3 in three meetings this year, close out the weekend series Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

UWBadgers.com Box Score

Badger Nation Top Stories