first_imgWith just eight regular season games remaining, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team finds itself perched at No. 3 in the rankings and No. 2 in the WCHA standings, hoping to ride out the season on a hot streak.This weekend’s away series against Minnesota State comes after the Badgers’ convincing series win against defending national champions Clarkson University. Sophomore forward Sydney McKibbon said the team is now looking to win the eight games left in the season.“In-conference or out-of-conference, we want to get eight wins,” McKibbon said. “We want to move into the playoffs on a high note.”Regardless of their opponent, the Badgers are expressing confidence in their abilities, despite a recent stretch of goal-scoring troubles. However, if the team continues the form they exhibited in a 4-0 thumping of seventh-ranked Clarkson on Sunday, this should be no problem.“What we’re doing right now has been working pretty well,” sophomore forward Sarah Nurse said. “With our team, I think it’s pretty deep. Anybody can score.”Granted, freshman forward Annie Pankowski scored three of Wisconsin’s four goals on Sunday, but the principle remains that the Badgers are quite capable of tallying goals. After their last game, the team hopes the rough patch the team hit coming out of the winter break might finally be over.“On Sunday, we were finally able to put the puck in the net,” McKibbon said. “We want to continue to do that, continue to pepper the goalies. It gets frustrating when you’re getting 50 shots on net and you’re not scoring … but it makes us want to score even more and get pucks to the net.”In its last five games before the Clarkson series, Wisconsin had netted only six goals.From the Jan. 10th game vs. Minnesota through Sunday’s game vs. Clarkson, the Badgers’ offense was subpar. Through the six games, the Badgers shot, on average, 11.84 in the first period of games, 14.84 in the second and 11.5 in the third. Those shots translated into, on average, 0.17 goals in the first period, one in the second and 0.4 in the third.However, in Sunday’s game vs. Clarkson alone, the Badgers shot 14 first period shots, 15 second period shots and fell to only nine third period shots. This resulted in zero first period goals, two second period goals and two third period goals.Finding their stride again could not have come at a more convenient time, as the Badgers will face some key matchups in determining their final place for the upcoming WCHA and NCAA tournaments.  The WCHA begins in about one month.Among the teams contesting Wisconsin on their march toward the finish are Minnesota-Duluth, who will look to spoil the Badgers’ plans. The Bulldogs find themselves four points behind the Badgers in the WCHA conference standings. Two wins against Wisconsin next week would put the Bulldogs even with the Badgers.Yet the Badgers only concern themselves with the tasks at hand in preparation for this weekend’s series. Minnesota State currently sits at the bottom of the WCHA standings without a single win in conference play at 0-17-1. Regardless, the Badgers are aware that the Mavericks will look to end their campaign on a high note by taking down the third-ranked team in the nation.“I think whenever a team plays us, they get excited,” Nurse said. “So finishing out this last half of the season, we’re looking to not give any teams hope against us.”No player denies the challenges ahead, but all seem to be exhibiting the classic phrase, “cool, calm and collected,” and rightfully so. Despite recent goal troubles, the Badgers are still in excellent position to make a run at what would be head coach Mark Johnson’s fifth national title.Rebounding after their recent string of troubles has given the team the hunger and energy it needs in order to keep the momentum going. In fact, some players believe it was actually beneficial. It showed what can happen in moments of complacency and, in turn, reignited the fire that led them to a 17-2-1 record going into the winter break.“You need to stay humble,” freshman defender Maddie Rolfes said. “You need to make sure your main goals are working hard and winning instead of going out complacent and getting into bad habits.”With two series at home, Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State, and two away series at Minnesota State and Ohio State, the Badgers will play in a variety of environments that will prepare them for the upcoming postseason tournaments.  The team also hopes to bring home a coveted fifth national title for Johnson, the newest member of the 350-win club.last_img read more

first_imgHead coach Joe Schmidt will be hoping that Jared Payne will be able to take-part in the work-out as the Ulster centre is struggling to prove his fitness after suffering a Grade 1 hamstring tear during the defeat to France in Paris. Meanwhile, England head coach Eddie Jones has called-up Northampton’s Luther Burrell to his extended squad for this week after Bath centre Ollie Devoto was ruled-out through concussion. Cian Healy, Mike Ross, Craig Gilroy, Dave Foley and Jordi Murphy took part in training yesterday with the Ireland squad ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash with England.The quintet have all been called-up to the panel as they prepare for the trip to Twickenham.The squad will hold another training session this morning at their base in Carton House as they step-up preparations for Saturday’s battle with England in Twickenham.last_img read more

first_imgAs most everyone in the free world has surely heard by now – if you haven’t, sorry you had to hear it from me – Kobe put on a show for the ages on Sunday with a ridiculous 81 points. Read that again. Eight. One. It takes Lamar Odom a week to do that. That’s more than Andrew Bynum and Von Wafer have combined for all season. Ryan Seacrest barely has that many shows. But, because I missed most of the game (c’mon, folks, like you weren’t watching “Desperate Housewives” too), I decided to ask a few people you might’ve heard of just what they thought of the second most productive night in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain: 81? So what? I had 10,000. Oh, you mean points? Well, I’ve got him there, too. Michael Jordan: That’s a lot of points. I’m impressed. Hold on, my hand is interrupting – something about six rings… Rafael Palmeiro: Amazing. And he turned down those vitamins I offered him. Vince Carter: I think it was bad for the NBA, because he was setting a bad example for the kids and stuff. I mean, what’s he gonna do next? Stop trying and then mope around until his team trades him to a contender? How selfish can he be? David Thompson: Hey, I scored 73. How hard could it be? Elgin Baylor, tugging his hair out: How close was he to joining us, again? And, finally, Phil Jackson: It was a solid effort. But he could involve his teammates more. And, he could shoot less. He could play within the triangle more, like I intended. But, it was a solid effort.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Allen Iverson: Look how many shots he took. I could do that too, but I’m a team player. I limit myself to just 26 shots a night. Dick Jauron: Who cares? Can you believe someone’s giving me another coaching job??? Lamar Odom: It was Kobe being Kobe. And I got to watch all of it, you know, since I was standing around so much. Umm, can I be traded please? Jim Mora, Sr.: I couldn’t believe it! Where was the defense? The Raptors couldn’t do diddly-poo out there! (Sorry, that still makes me giggle) My sister: Ewww, those white uniforms are so ugly! last_img read more