After four nonconference games this season, Wisconsin will play a WCHA series

The Badgers; Kyle Turris already leads the conference with 12 points on the year.

by Brian Deutsch

A young Wisconsin men’s hockey team will finally begin conference play this weekend when the Badgers host Michigan Tech.

No. 10 Wisconsin (3-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) has clamored an impressive 22 goals in just four games this season, and the team has coach Mike Eaves reminiscent of his championship team in 2006.

“This group is a little younger Ö every day is like a game for them and everything is new, so they come out and compete,” Badgers coach Mike Eaves said. “When we won a national championship, we had to compete hard because we weren’t the most talented team around, and they recognized that.”

Freshman forward Kyle Turris has averaged three points a game and leads the WCHA in points with 12 (five goals and seven assists).

The only other WCHA player to reach the double digits plateau, freshman forward Garrett Roe of St. Cloud State with 10 points, has played two more games than the Badgers forward.

Turris was drafted third overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes.

RedHawks fly to No. 1

There’s a new No. 1 in the poll and for the first time this year that team isn’t North Dakota.

Instead it’s Miami, Ohio, sitting atop the national rankings. After starting their season with three-straight sweeps, the RedHawks have retaken the poll-position for the first time since January 30, 2006.

Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi worked at Miami before joining the Gophers in 2002.

“I’m pretty proud of the hockey program over at Miami,” Maturi said. “I’ll cheer for that program every game they play except when they play the Gophers.”

With eight conference teams in the top 20, the WCHA still has plenty of pull in the polls.

The Sioux dropped to No. 2 after splitting with Michigan Tech, while Denver, Minnesota, Colorado College and Wisconsin are seven through 10, respectively.

Rounding out the WCHA representation in the polls are Michigan Tech at No. 13, 15th-ranked Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State at No. 19.

“It’s darn tough every weekend, it doesn’t matter who you play,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said when asked about the parity of the WCHA. “You could go back 10, 15, or 20 years and the top teams kind of feasted on the bottom teams. That’s not the case anymore.”

Weekly awards winners

North Dakota might have slipped to No. 2 in the nation, but sophomore forward T.J. Oshie isn’t playing like a second-rate skater.

One night after the Sioux dropped its first game of the year – a 3-1 loss at Michigan Tech – Oshie put on a memorable performance in North Dakota’s 6-0 follow-up win.

The Warroad, Minn. native recorded a hat-trick in the contest including his 100th-career point.

In recognition of his play last weekend, Oshie was named the Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

Minnesota State junior goalie Mike Zacharias earned the weekly defensive award after stopping 52 of 54 shots on goal this weekend in two games against Alaska Anchorage.

Finally, St. Cloud State freshman forward Garrett Roe was named the Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week.

Roe notched five points in the Huskies’ series against Bemidji State last weekend.