After being embarrassed last night by Shane Connelly and the Badger defense, the Sioux had revenge on their minds and it just wasn't in the cards for the Badgers tonight. North Dakota defeated Wisconsin 3-1 but a lot of dirty plays and dirty shots marred the contest. The Sioux came into the game looking for a fight and they didn't try to hide it.
North Dakota came out fast but a lot more physical than the night before. Within the first minute of the game, hard checks and border-line cheap shots were being thrown by the visitors. The Badgers soon became rattled and never got into a rhythm. Multiple whistles were blown for roughing and the shoving continued throughout the night.
"You are not going to prove how tough you are after the whistle," said Drewiske about the North Dakota instigation between whistles. "Its college hockey, for us, we want to focus on whistle to whistle and playing hard in between the whistles and that's where you find out who is tough you don't find out who is tough after the whistle."
At the end of the first period, a full fledged fight broke out, as five penalties were given with three being called on the Badgers - two of which were on Drewiske for cross checking and instigating. Throughout the fighting and penalties, two goals were scored on Connelly by VandeVelde and Oshie.
The fighting kept right on into the second period. The Badgers were, plain and simple, playing sloppy hockey, not getting clean shots off like they were last night. The scoring opportunities were not there.
"I didn't like our poise and confidence with the puck," said Head Coach Mike Eaves. "We held onto (the puck) too long and we didn't do some of the same things we did well last night and as a result we looked disjointed and disorganized and a good team took it to it pretty good tonight."
Just like at the end of the first period, fights broke out towards the end of the second frame, with two penalties give to each side for roughing.
The penalty minutes ended up costing Wisconsin, as the first goal scored against the Badgers was on a power play, a goal gave North Dakota a lot of momentum. North Dakota knew that with Connelly's small size, the only way to get pass him was to shoot high and all there goals were high leaving Connelly stunned. North Dakota was ill prepared last night but they took those mistakes and did not make them tonight.
Freshman Kyle Turris had a target on his back for the obvious statistical reasons. He is a scorer and the opposing team knows they need to keep him from the puck. Using any means necessary, the Sioux kept Turris away from the puck and had no problem banging him up. Turris did not have the chances to touch the puck and, therefore, no chance to score.
"I just have to play my game," said Turris. "I definitely didn't do that tonight but I'm going to turn it around this week and come back on Friday with a big game."
The story of tonight's game was not the loss or even the sloppy play but the physicality of the game. At the end of the third period, all ten players out on the ice were down and out in a brawl with no-holds-bar punches being thrown when a North Dakota player gave UW freshman Brendan Smith a cheap shot in the corner. With that, all four Badgers on the ice came to the defense of the freshman, as the scrum broke out in one-on-one fights throughout the Wisconsin zone.
"It's two great teams, two great rivals and it's a fun weekend to play," Oshie said. "I think tensions build and build and sometimes frustrations get in there. Bottom line, if a guy makes a run at another guy, you can count on all four guys to back up their teammate."
Ten players were ejected from tonight's game, which even for a physical hockey game is unheard of. North Dakota's Genoway, Jones, LaPoint, Watkins and Kozek and Wisconsin's McBain, Smith, Street, Turris, and Turnbull were all ejected for misconduct because of the extra-circular hits after the whistle. The total penalty minutes equaled 122 with three minutes left to play in the third period.
The game became so heated that even calm and collected Mike Eaves became frustrated at the end of the game and had a few choice words with the North Dakota head coach.
"I expressed myself and said that was disappointing, basically that is what I told him," Eaves said about his altercation with North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol. Eaves did not like how the fight carried on and the North Dakota boys were laying into the Badgers. North Dakota was making this a personal vendetta for Friday's game and the Kohl Center crowd made sure the players heard about it as they were escorted from the ice.
Even with all of the negativity surrounding tonight's game, the always classy Mike Eaves had a lot of positives about his young team.
"A young group eager to learn and play and its not about how many times you get knocked down as we tell the kids its about how many times you rise and we got to rise from this and I think being a young group, I mean they will come back they have pride, they are all prideful people and want to get better," said Eaves. "The fact they are young a lot of times things roll of your back when you are young and get back in the saddle on Monday and we will go back to work."