West Regional Jottings

A giant monkey off
their backs

After Thursday’s practice at Xcel Energy Center, St. Cloud
State head coach Bob Motzko said
that he was sick of all the questions about the Huskies’ 0-for-forever in the
NCAA tournament.

After SCSU beat Northern Michigan Friday in double overtime,
Motzko talked about how much the victory means to the program’s alumni, who
obviously never advanced in the tournament.

“We’ve gotten very close with our alum,” he said. “Being in the state of Minnesota, many
of our alum are from the state and are around a lot.

“I don’t want to dwell on it, but the texts and e-mails we
get…they want it. I’m glad it’s

He also made reference to Miami’s recent success and what it
can do for a school:

“I worked [at Miami] for six years, and they had gone a long
time without any wins in the NCAA tournament until two years ago. [The first win] just means so much for
a program. Now they’ve parlayed
that a year ago into more. I hope
we can be that same type of program.”

Hobey finalists lead

The Badgers have had a balanced attack all year, but
everyone knows how important the stars are in the NCAA tournament. UW’s Hobey Baker finalists Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Smith showed why they received
the honor during their 3-2 win over Vermont.

Geoffrion had a goal and an assist; Smith had two
assists. But they had a bigger
impact than just on the scoresheet. 
Both players take attention away from the Badgers’ other players,
creating openings for their teammates to step up. This is evident on the power play, which Wisconsin was 3-7
on Friday.  U

W coach Mike Eaves uses the acronym “TWIG” when
teaching his players on the man advantage.

“Take what is given – if they took me away, we went down to
[Michael Davies], then he would find
Derek Stepan or Geoffrion” Smith
said. “It was good for us, because
sometimes [Vermont] got running around, and the power play worked for us.”

Representing the WCHA

The WCHA is a confident group of teams. Every year, the best teams in the
conference are ranked in the top 10.

However, the regular season league champion has struggled
lately. Last year, North Dakota
went winless in the Final Five, and then lost to New Hampshire in the first
round of the NCAA tournament. This year, Denver won the MagNaughton Cup, went 0-2 at the
Final Five, and lost to RIT in the first round Friday.

Even with the league champion out, the WCHA still has strong
representatives in the tournament. Wisconsin or St. Cloud State will punch their ticket to the Frozen Four tonight,
and North Dakota has a chance to advance as well.

Denver would have been a great team to showcase the league
in Detroit, but since they are out, the other three must show how good the WCHA
is. They must be successful for
the conference.

With everything on the line, tonight’s game between SCSU and
UW takes on a whole new level of importance.  It is for the programs, the fans and the conference.


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