End of Regular Season | Carla Berg Cup Preview
The Badgers are heading to the WCCHA Carla Berg Cup playoffs this afternoon to start their postseason. The regular season has been one of trials, euphoria, and learning. Let's first recap how the last two weeks of the regular season went.
The final weekend of January saw the #2 Central Region team and fellow WCCHA competitor St. Thomas come to Madison for the teams' annual showdown. In what could be considered the hardest fought weekend of the year, the Badgers wouldn't see the winning side of things as they would drop two close games. The weekend proved that the Badgers are one of the most competitive teams in the WCCHA and Central region moving towards the playoffs, however. With the losses, St. Thomas would win the SE division of the WCCHA and solidify themselves as the #1 seed for the Carla Berg Cup tournament.
Game one: Wisconsin 3, St. Thomas 5
Game two: Wisconsin 2, St. Thomas 4
In the final week of the regular season, Wisconsin hosted fellow 2022 regional competitor Bradley, visiting from Peoria, IL. Wisconsin looked to end the regular season on a high note, while Bradley looked to play spoiler and make their statement for a regional spot. At the time, Wisconsin was ranked #12 in the Central Region - only the top 14 seeds qualify for postseason play. Bradley was ranked #25 in the region at the time of the series.
Both games featured methodical, physical hockey. Plagued by slow starts all season, the Badgers quickly found themselves in a hole against the Braves. Battling composure late in the game, the penalties, defacit and lack of scoring found the Badgers on the losing end of game one by a final of 3-5.
Looking to turn things around for the final game of Badgers Club Hockey at the Shell, the Badgers needed to come out flying. And flying they did! A few big hits and nifty passing plays gave the team, fans, and even the UW Marching Band something to get excited for. Unfortunately, the team couldn't find the back of the net. Late in the first, Bradley would find the back of the net off a sharp angle shot from the left wing to make it 0-1. That score would hold for the entire game - almost literally!
As the Badgers looked for any semblance of offense, the third period was all Badgers. The rink didn't even look used down in the Badger end. Still nothing. Nothing until, with literal fractions of a second left in the third, Valentini would bury the tying goal to force overtime!
In the overtime period, the Badgers bread and butter this season, the home team looked to end things quickly. And like clockwork, Feldt found Gunderson streaking in the slot who would send the Braves home unhappy! 2-1 Badgers to close out the regular season!
Game one: Wisconsin 3, Bradley 5
Game two: Wisconsin 2, Bradley 1 (OT)
This weekend, the Badgers travel to Blaine, MN for the annual Carla Berg Cup tournament! The Badgers enter the tournament as the #2 seed. In their opening game, the Badgers will faceoff against WCCHA newcomer Jamestown. Jamestown had a few games against teams the Badgers also faced off against, but it should be a close contest and good challenge for the Badgers in round one!
Jamestown vs. St. Thomas: 1-6L and 4-5L
Jamestown vs. Minnesota: 3-6L and 3-4L
The Badgers are looking to repeat at Carla Berg Champions for the first time in program history. Another championship would send the Badgers back to the Regional tournament with the WCCHA autobid. However, the Badgers can still get to Chesterfield with some solid performances. It is do or die time for the Badgers season here. Come out and support the boys this weekend in Blaine! Game one is tonight, 2/10, at 6:00pm on rink 2 of the super rink. We hope to see you all there this weekend!
Roll Badgers, and On Wisconsin!