Prospect Watch: K’Andre Miller and the Badgers beat up defending champs
After going 1-1 last week, the Badgers played two games at home this weekend against the University Of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are the reigning National Champions and came into these games as the number three team in the nation. Friday night was the home opener for the Badgers. Let’s take a look at the games.
Friday 10/18 VS. UMD
On Friday night, the Badgers opened up a back-to-back against the number three ranked UMD Bulldogs. From the opening puck drop, the Badgers were flying. They were getting chances, and none other than Cole Caufield scored just 53 seconds into the game to give the Badgers an early 1-0 lead. After giving up two power play goals in the first period, the Badgers found themselves down 2-1. It wasn’t until late in the first period that Linus Weissbach tied the game up at two. From the start of the second period on, it was all Badgers. They scored four more unanswered goals, and beat the defending national champions by a score of 6-2. Caufield scored the sixth and final goal for the Badgers and is on an absolute tear to start the season. He finished the game with two goals, five SOG, and was a +2 for the game.
Kings prospect Alex Turcotte finished with three assists, and a +2 for the game. He also won 11/19 faceoffs for the Badgers. Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller did not show up on the score sheet but played a solid all-around game. He finished at a +2 for the game.
Friday 10/19 VS. UMD
After a 6-2 rout of the defending national champions, the Badgers took the ice Saturday night against the Bulldogs for the second of their back-to-back. The Bulldogs came out playing a much cleaner game they did against the Badgers on Friday night. They were looking like the national champions from a year ago. After a scoreless first period, the Badgers found themselves on the power play early in the second period. After a beautiful feed, Kings prospect Alex Turcotte blasted a slapshot home to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.
The Badgers went on to take a 2-0 lead in the second period but was cut in half quickly by UMD, making it 2-1 with just over five minutes to go in the second period. The Badgers went into the third period with a 2-1 lead, and played fantastic defense throughout. K’Andre Miller was fantastic in his own end, making good, sound, defensive plays that led to breakouts.
From a person I know close to the team, he told me, “Miller skates so easy; he just glides around. He lays some wood in the corners occasionally. He’s just more interested in playing the puck. It was really fun watching him. I’m curious how he looks in January. The whole team is kinda finding their way still.” It’s good to see Miller is continuing to work on his game in his own zone. With nearly 30 seconds left in the game, Sean Dhooghe iced it, giving the Badgers a 3-1 lead and eventually the win. Turcotte finished the game with a goal, K’Andre Miller was held off the score sheet for a second straight night, but finished with two SOG, and played an excellent defensive game. For the first time all season, the electrifying Goal Caufield was held off the scoresheet.
The Badgers had a great weekend, beating the defending national champions in both games by a combined score of 9-3. They are playing outstanding hockey, and I expect them to continue to grow as a team.
Season Stats for a few Badgers:
Cole Caufield – 4 games – 6 goals, 1 assist — 7 points
Alex Turcotte – 4 games – 3 goals, 5 assists — 8 points
K’Andre Miller – 4 games – 2 goals, 0 assists — 2 points
The Badgers take on Clarkson Friday and Saturday night at home this upcoming weekend (10/25 and 10/26).