Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wisconsin Powers Past Maine

The national championship is set, and it's going to be a battle between East and West. Wisconsin, the lone WCHA team left in the tournament, beat Maine 5-2 to advance to the final for the first time since 1992. The Badgers got solid play once again from goaltender Brian Elliott, who saw his impressive shutout streak snapped in the first period. The game went pretty much how one would have expected it, with Wisconsin's solid all-around offense and spectacular defense smothering Maine and eliminating the Black Bears' hopes for their first national title since 1999.

I had doubted that Wisconsin would score so much on Maine, but their persistent offense, along with a few breaks, caught the Black Bears off guard for five goals (one an empty netter). With the Badger win, college hockey is back to the usual WCHA/Hockey East matchup for the national title. Prior to last year (Denver vs. North Dakota), the national championship game had been between WCHA and HE opponents for six years in a row. The two teams will face off on Saturday at 7 o'clock Eastern time before what promises to be a largely Badger crowd in Milwaukee.


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