Eaves’ defense has another lapse as unit again allows 5 goals

first_imgThe Wisconsin hockey team’s continuing inability to keep the puck out of the net cost them a chance at their first win this weekend.While the Badgers held rival Minnesota to a respectable two goals Friday night, UW failed to maintain its defensive composure Saturday night, letting in five goals en route to a 5-2 loss.It marked the fifth time in six games the UW defense has allowed five or more goals.“Too many goals against,” head coach Mike Eaves said of his team’s season. “You take a look — five again tonight — and it’s a combination of goaltending, a combination of defensemen and the forwards not doing their part or needing to do a better job.”The Gophers scored in a variety of ways, creating goals off the power play, rebounds and a nifty backhand from junior Ryan Stoa. The Badgers, however, believe the problem stems from one aspect of their game: turnovers.“I think it starts with turnovers,” Geoffrion said. “I think that is killing us right now. … We really need to stop turning the puck over; that is the biggest thing to correct right now.”Though UW lost the game Saturday night, Eaves was unwilling to pin the defeat on his defense.“We definitely played better than we did last night,” Eaves said. “We showed our competitiveness right through 60 minutes.”If the defensive struggles were not as severe, Wisconsin — which averages three goals per game on offense for the season — likely would not be winless through six games. Despite little support from their blue liners, however, the Badger forwards are unwilling to blame the team’s struggles on any one facet of the game.“When you are giving up five [goals] you have to score six,” senior Tom Gorowsky said. “It doesn’t really work that way. … We are not getting outplayed, but we are getting out-chanced in certain aspects. They are coming down and capitalizing on opportunities. We need to tighten things up that way.”UW hopes the growing pains suffered now will pay dividends later in the season. The Badgers utilize six underclassmen among their top seven defensemen — three of whom are first round picks in the NHL — and Eaves believes their talent will eventually overcome the lapses in play.“We are going through some tough times right now,” Eaves said. “But from toughness comes character, and the character is what’s going to help us at the end of the year. We will stay on top of the ball in controlling what we can.”The team is taking a back-to-basics approach to right the ship. In a players-only meeting, Geoffrion stressed the importance of hard work.“We need to get back to working hard and getting in the weight room,” captain Blake Geoffrion said. “We need to be lifting, skating hard in practice and try and get our first win.”Although failing to record a win in the first six games would be hard on anyone’s psyche, the Badgers have not yet hit the panic button. Instead, the team hopes to learn from the experience and improve for next game.“For this team to be successful we have to start with the heart,” Geoffrion said. “We always refer to it as Wisco-heart. That is where we have to start. The skill-guys can use their skills after we win the battles if we are to be successful. But we have to start with that first and build from there.”last_img read more