April 7, 2010

What do the Badgers need to do?

You take a look at the Frozen Four and aside from RIT, it's a surprisingly sterile Frozen Four. You have three number one teams and a number four team. In 2007, we saw no number one seeds and last year, we saw a three and a four seed. Although I'm guessing very few had this Frozen Four predicted, it makes a lot of sense that the three number one seeds that are in it made it.

Wisconsin is the only WCHA representative that made the dance. Does this Wisconsin team have what it takes to win it all? That's going to depend on a few things:

1. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. We know how serious and important net-minding is this time of year. The Badgers have a good goalie, not a great goalie. At this time of year, good is rarely enough to get the job done. The Badgers certainly have the offensive firepower to get in a shootout with any team in the league, but that's not how you want to win at this time of year. Gudmandson is going to have to be outstanding against an RIT team that has won it's last 12 games.

2. Don't overthink it. Wisconsin is the superior team in its matchup against RIT, no question. But to borrow a very old cliche, RIT is playing with house money and really has nothing to lose. People are talking about how RIT is going to be like Bemidji with stars in their eyes and just happy to be there. The problem with that is, RIT coach Wayne Wilson is one step ahead of that. He called up Bemidji St. coach Tom Serratore who said that the game in DC was second fiddle to the team winning the regionals. Wilson posted that message in RIT's dressing room. Wisconsin can beat this RIT team if it doesn't overthink the game.

3. Crack RIT's goalie. Jared DeMichiel has allowed 14 goals in their last 11 games. Granted, a lot of those games came against weak AHA opponents, but you can't overlook the fact that he held Denver to one goal and a New Hampshire team that had just shelled the best goaltender in the nation to two. Wisconsin certainly has the offense to do this, but they need to get the lead early. Crack DeMichiel early and the rest of the pieces should fall into place.

It should be a great Frozen Four. You have high-quality teams in place and with Miami of Ohio fighting for what should have been theirs last year, it's going to be exciting.

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