Loading a Loose Cannon

After Head Coach Mike Eaves had sit-down meetings with some of his offensive stalwarts after last weekend's series, the Badgers responded with a 51-13 shot advantage, a key factor that carries the Badgers to their first home win of the season.

MADISON - If at first you don't succeed, shoot, shoot and shoot again.

While Wisconsin hockey coach Mike Eaves may have never uttered those exact words to his team, the message still rang loud and clear as the Badgers peppered New Hampshire goaltender Brian Foster with 51 shots Friday night.

UW put 18 shots on goal in the first period but failed to find the back of the net. Undeterred, and with no change in strategy, Wisconsin came out firing again in the second period this time ringing the lamp twice in 19 shots.

"Primarily the biggest area that jumps off the map in terms of domination — and we certainly don't like to use that word — is the fact that we had more shots than they did," Eaves said.

The Badgers totaled so many shots, concerns were raised after the game that the final result of only four goals was something to worry about going forward for UW.

Eaves put the onus on the players to finish when opportunities come to them.

"Well how much of that can be controlled? Guys have to put the puck away," Eaves said. "One of the things I think we can do from this strategic standpoint is having our third guy a little higher. Some of those rebounds kicked by us."

At the front of the shot barrage was senior forward John Mitchell.

The 6-foot-5 Wisconsin native scored in the second period on a loose puck in front of the net for his first goal of the season and finished the game with five total shots on net.

According to Eaves, simply pulling the trigger when a shot is there was something Mitchell had failed to do in the previous three games.

"Shoot the puck," Eaves said of what Mitchell did differently Friday night. "I think he had five shots…actually, we talked about it at 3 o'clock in the morning when we got back from Mankato. We had a brief gathering in the locker room and said, ‘fellas, you here some things when you look at the stats that need to change.'" For his part, Mitchell chalked up the success to the usual athlete cliché.

"I think it is just working harder," he said. "Every game I have just been trying to work harder and harder and harder. Raise my game and then a little puck luck always helps too."

Badger Firsts

The Wisconsin hockey team had two notable "firsts" on the ice Friday night.

At the start of the game, freshman forward Derek Lee appeared in his first game as a Badger after a transcript issue with the NCAA was cleared up this week.

For another freshman, defenseman John Ramage, the St. Louis native scored his first collegiate goal as a Badger.

Known as a stay-at-home defenseman, Ramage put the Badgers ahead 1-0 in the second period when his blue line slap shot found its way through traffic past Foster.

"I try and work on [my shot] every day, just try and get it through," Ramage said. "Every time I get chances, just shoot the puck."

While Lee finished as the only Badger who didn't participate in the shooting drill that was Friday night's game, Eaves was pleased with how the freshman performed in his first collegiate action.

"He didn't look out of place," Eaves said. "It wasn't like, ‘Oh jeez, Derek you didn't do this,' he looked like he did fine. And to be able to say that he did not look out of place is very much a positive."


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