After a late season nonconference series, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team heads on the road to face struggling Minnesota State, who still has yet to record a conference win.Badgers’ freshman forward Annie Pankowski, who notched her second career hat trick this past weekend against Clarkson, will face the team that gave her the first one. Pankowski led the Badgers (19-4-3 overall, 14-4-2 WCHA) with four goals in the previous series against the Mavericks in mid-November.The Badgers outscored Minnesota State (2-21-1, 0-17-1) 16-2 in their last series at LaBahn Arena and want to continue to improve down the final stretch.“Now you have eight games left, and the main thing is to maintain what you’ve done the past three weeks and try to make some improvements in some areas where you need to improve and get yourselves ready for the playoffs,” Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said.Despite Minnesota State having a difficult season, Wisconsin cannot take them lightly.“I think if we start to worry about the opponent and what they are doing, or worrying about individual play, that could throw us off,” sophomore Sydney McKibbon said. “But if we stick to our game, we will be fine.”The familiarity of playing a conference opponent again helps the Badgers come out confident and strong.“We obviously know them better because we played them before and we know their style,” freshman Maddie Rolfes said. “We know what to expect, so we can go in harder and not timid because we know how they play.”A winless conference season thus far could make the Mavericks come out fired-up for the third-ranked Badgers, but Wisconsin will try not to let an upset-minded team throw them off.“Focusing on ourselves and looking at them as if we are playing Minnesota or Clarkson, or anyone else,” McKibbon said. “They are no different and we have to come out ready to play Friday night.”This last stretch of games, no matter who the opponent, will be vital in getting the Badgers prepared for a potential playoff run. For Wisconsin the goal is to win all of the games, but the most important aspect is improving in all areas to make a complete team.The puck drops at 7 p.m. Friday night for the series opener in Mankato, and 3 p.m. Saturday to close out the series.
Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram AFCON 2017…AFCON 2017… Zimbabwe’s national football team refused to board a flight for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon, officials said yesterday in a dispute over allowances and winning bonuses.The team was due to fly together on Saturday to Cameroon to play a friendly on Tuesday before proceeding to Libreville.After tense meetings with the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), some players finally left Harare yesterday morning while the rest of the squad was set to depart later in the day.“We had a fruitful meeting and the players and administration reached an amicable solution,” ZIFA Spokesman, Xolisani Gwesela, told AFP, declining to elaborate how the impasse was resolved.On Friday, players sat in hotel corridors and refused to attend a farewell dinner at which the country’s Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the guest of honour.“ZIFA totally condemns the behaviour portrayed by the team and their desire to hold the nation at ransom in their quest to earn money that this economy cannot sustain,” the association said in a statement late on Saturday.Among a raft of grievances, the players rejected $1,000 appearance fees and demanded $5, 000 instead, sources at the association said.They also demanded $150 daily allowances for locally-based players and $500 for foreign-based players, instead of $50 and $100 respectively.The players had earlier refused to use “substandard” accommodation at a facility run by the association and were barred from training at the national sports stadium over a $60 debt owed by ZIFA.Zimbabwe’s economy has been wrecked by hyperinflation, corruption and agricultural collapse, and the national football team has often relied on well-wishers to pay its players and coaches.A cash shortage in the country has also seen football match attendances plummet.Last year the country was expelled from the 2018 World Cup preliminary competition over non-payment of a $67 000 debt owed to former coach Jose Claudinei Georgini.
“I’ll see Peter [Laviolette] maybe in the summer and we’ll discuss that a little bit,” Trotz told reporters Thursday in Boston, two days after his squad lost to the Nashville Predators. “I wasn’t a big fan of that. It’s 8-3 and you’re putting your guys blasting pucks and you’re putting guys at risk. That’s fine. Everybody has their own way of doing it. I probably wouldn’t have done it that way.“It tells me a lot about him,” Trotz continued.The 2010s: Crosby named NHL Athlete of the Decade | NHL All-Decade TeamSo, what got the Isles bench boss so perturbed? With just under four minutes left in regulation, his squad was down two men and on the 5-on-3 Laviolette opted to play his top power-play unit in defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis and forwards Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene. Youth hockey coaches know the rule: if you have a big lead, take your foot off the gas. If you don’t, it’s considered an unsportsmanlike approach to the game.Of course for the professionals, it’s a little different — unless you ask New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz. That didn’t affect the scoreboard, but according to Newsday’s’ Andrew Gross, Casey Cizikas blocked three shots, including one to the arm that seemed to cause him some pain.Laviolette, who coached the Islanders in 2001-02, has been the coach of the Predators since 2014 — after Trotz was let go. Both coaches have hefty resumes, with Trotz holding a 2-0 advantage in Jack Adams Awards as the NHL’s top coach and each winning the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s best bench boss.The loss was the Islanders first at home in regulation since Oct. 8 against the Edmonton Oilers. Nashville will host the Islanders in February, ironically, on the day before Valentine’s Day.