Wisconsin Hockey Earns Three Seed

Despite a sub .500 record in the regular season, Wisconsin hockey earns a three seed in the Midwest Regional, playing on its home ice in the Kohl Center.

MADISON - After losing three straight games to finish the season, the Wisconsin men's hockey team had to sweat out the tournament bubble for the past eight days.

Sunday morning, Wisconsin found out that its bubble still hasn't popped.

No.17 Wisconsin (15-16-7) received the third-seed in the Midwest Regional and will face sixth-ranked a second seed Denver (25-13-1) this Saturday at 5:30 CST at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin and Denver met just once during the season (Jan. 11 and 12 in Denver), splitting the series.

One of the more memorable disasters in recent Wisconsin and WCHA history occurred in the first game of the two game set. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit to trail by just one, UW freshman center Kyle Turris won the faceoff against Tyler Bozak with 2.7 seconds left on the stadium clock, and the puck left Matt Ford's stick and entered the Pioneer net before time had officially expired on the stadium clock – and, according to text messages sent to UW officials after the game, the Fox Sports Net clock on television.

However, the on-ice WCHA official said referee Randy Schmidt ruled, after viewing replays from the overhanging camera above the DU goal, that time had run out when the puck was about a foot away from crossing the goal line. This camera has its own clock for video review, and it was not verified whether this clock is on par with FSN or stadium clocks.

"The referee said he looked at the replay, said the puck was this far from going in, and the clock read zero," said UW coach Mike Eaves, understandably frustrated after the game. "Now I'm getting different reports from different people saying on another clock, there was 0.2 seconds. So I'd like to know which clock they're looking at."

As it turned out, Schmidt failed to look at all replays made available to him and on the replay he did view, the puck had already gone into the back of the net and had bounced back out.

Although petitions to the WCHA to award the Badgers one point were denied, Schmidt was suspended indefinitely by the league. Wisconsin bounced back with a vengeance a night later, winning 7-3.

While many would say Denver got the short of the stick having to play Wisconsin on its home ice, the Pioneers have had little trouble winning in the Kohl Center, going 11-1-2 since the arena opened, including four series sweeps (the Badgers lone win came in October 2004).

All-time, however, Wisconsin holds a 70-50-9 edge in the series, including a 2-0 mark in NCAA tournament action and a 4-2 victory in the 1973 NCAA Championship Game.

The winner will play the victor in the No.4 Princeton - No.1 North Dakota match up (2:00 p.m. Saturday) at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

The Badgers are 1-1-0 against fourth-ranked North Dakota and are 3-0 lifetime against No.14 Princeton (most recently beating the Tigers 6-3 in the 2000 Badger Hockey Showcase.

Live television coverage for Wisconsin's game on Saturday is yet to be completely determined. Midwest Regional semifinal action has already been cleared for live broadcasting in Milwaukee on Time Warner Wisconsin.

Saturday's Wisconsin game will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPNU, Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT, while the regional final airs live exclusively on ESPNU. The North Dakota-Princeton contest airs tape-delayed on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. CT. All the action will air live on ESPN360.

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