The Badger Men’s hockey team did not put up much of a fight Saturday night as The University of Michigan handled them with ease finishing off a series sweep of the Badgers wining 6-0.
This game felt different for Wisconsin. This different feel was something that Mike Eaves confirmed after the loss.
“A line in the sand was drawn tonight”
Eaves continued to say that players were benched and missed ice time if they were making mistakes, something that he has not done all season. “Enough is enough.” Said Eaves.
The majority of the Wolverines scoring came in the first period.
Michigan’s Dylan Larkin scored a backhand goal off Rumpel 1:12 into the game to set the tone for Michigan.
Zach Hyman added a wrist shot not even a minute later at 2:03 to put the Wolverines up two goals.
Joel Rumpel would be pulled after this second goal. Landon Peterson would replace him.
Peterson would hold off Michigan for a while posting thirteen saves in his time on the ice.
He could not hold them off completely however, when Tony Calderone scored from a bad angle to put Michigan up 3-0 at 15:46.
Michigan’s Zach Werenski would add one more at the nineteen-minute mark for Michigan.
As the second period began, Mike Eaves went back to Rumpel who posted twenty-five total saves.
Zach Hyman tallied his second goal of the net after he skated right through the crease and shoved a backhander past Rumpel at the 1:16 minute mark of the second period.
The Badger offense was next to non-existent tallying only seventeen shots in the lost.
Michigan started Goalie Zach Nagelvoort who posted a shutout with seventeen saves.
Michigan would add one more goal at the 14:46 mark in the third period.
Zach Werenski was credited for his second of the night to give the Wolverines a six to zero advantage.
The game got chippy late, leading to four roughing calls on the Badgers later in the game.
The Badgers have yet to win a conference game (0-5-1-1) and slipped to an overall record of 2-15-3
So what is wrong with the Badgers? The initial theory was that this team was young and as the season progressed they would start to gel and the wins would come.
Yet here we are, late January and the wins are simply not coming. Mike Eaves and his team have essentially become the laughing stock of the Big Ten that is good for an easy sweep and a fight toward the end of the game.
I don’t blame the players for these frequent scuffles happening when the Badgers are down big, in fact I almost encourage them.
They show frustration. They show some fight. This team is obviously sick of losing games and they should be. There is not a lack of talent on the team but they are consistently going out there and getting destroyed.
Something clearly has to change, whatever Mike Eaves has been waiting on to happen has not happened.
Is it time to look for a new coach of this team?
Twitter would suggest yes, a popular student run twitter handle @MadisonConfessions tweeted out “#FireMikeEaves” after the Badgers conceded their fourth goal in the first period.
Now, I doubt Barry Alvarez makes any drastic firing during the season, I don’t know if he even knows when the hockey team plays (only kidding) but it just seems like not his style to fire a seasoned coach mid-season with a young team that has no one to look to besides Eaves for guidance.
I am not on the #FireMikeEaves bandwagon quite yet, but it is clear the ice is thin and if something doesn’t change internally there will be no other choice than to explore other options at head coach.
Wisconsin hockey is not used to being down and looking up at teams ahead of them in any standings and with Big Ten hockey growing, the last thing Wisconsin would want is to become known as a bottom feeder and if that means shedding a head coach, so be it.
The Badgers take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers next weekend at the Kohl Center in search of that elusive first Big Ten win.