Progressive Production

Entering the weekend unblemished when scoring four goals or more and winless when scoring less than two, Wisconsin hockey has been aching to win a close game. Getting production from six different sources, including a hat trick by senior Blake Geoffrion, that close-game win will have to wait, as UW smoked Michigan Tech, 8-2, Friday night.

MADISON - Wisconsin hockey head coach Mike Eaves does not like the "boom or bust" label his program has received this season.

With an 8-2 win over Michigan Tech, however, Eaves' team will have to deal with the moniker for at least one more game. Through nine wins this year the Badgers have averaged 5.5 goals per contest.

The Badgers poured it on early (four goals in the first period), secured the game in the second frame (three more goals to give UW a 7-1 lead) and salted the wound late when senior Andy Bohmbach scored with 13 seconds remaining in the game.

The Huskies pulled starting goaltender Josh Robinson after the fourth goal in the first period, but backup Kevin Genoe fared no better.

"Our goaltender was awful," Michigan Tech head coach Jamie Russell said. "He did not have a good night."

Wisconsin scored goals beautifully and ugly, even strength and with a man-advantage, with a little luck and deft skill.

Senior captain Blake Geoffrion recorded the first hat trick of his career, while freshman Derek Lee notched the first goal in his young Badger career.

"Yes we had some puck luck in terms of Blake's first goal going off his skate," Eaves said. "Derek Lee's goal kind of hit two skates and a stick before it went to him. But we scored some goals where we went to the hard areas and manufactured goals."

The Huskies were handicapped from the start when they scratched eight guys from the roster before the game.

Limited in depth, Michigan Tech rarely used their fourth line — and for good reason.

"Our fourth line could not play tonight," Russell said. "They went out two times and got scored on two times."

The contrast to the Badgers fourth line is startling, almost to the point that the Huskies were almost doomed from the start.

With Andy Bohmbach, Patrick Johnson and Sean Dolan lined up for UW, the fourth set of forwards produced two goals and three assists, while providing the energy Eaves always craves.

"Depth is a weapon," Eaves said. "And it can be one of the strengths of your team and we certainly want to have it. I think if you look at teams that are playing well at the end of the year, their fourth line can get out there and do what we just described. Give you energy, play solid when they don't have the puck."

Lost in the offensive explosion was the solid job done by UW once again sacrificing their bodies to block shots.

With 17 shots stopped before reaching the goaltender, UW was able to successfully transition from defense to offense before Tech players could recover, creating multiple odd-man rushes.

Perhaps not noticed by a casual fan, Eaves was most happy with the blocked shots in five-on-five play.

"That is one thing about hockey that makes it fascinating from different sports is the transition," Eaves said. "It happens in a heart beat and there is a disequilibrium that is created in the moment of transition. And if we block a shot and move it before they are set then we create an advantage for us."

Leading 7-1 entering the third period, the only challenge UW faced was keeping itself motivated on the ice for the next 20 minutes.

Employing one of his many motivational devices, Eaves saw to it that the team didn't relax.

"Choose your attitude," Eaves wrote on the locker room board. "You have an opportunity to choose the attitude that you are going to go on to the ice with. Are you going to go out there and sit back or are you going to go out there and play hard?"

For defenseman Brendan Smith (four assists in the game), his motivation was to improve upon his weak areas of play.

"I think we take pride in having a two goal or less game," Smith said. "They got a lucky bounce for their second goal ... but that is how I kept my pride, just keep playing well defensively."

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