Wisconsin has won an actual, real hockey game against a Division I opponent that has existed for a duration longer than 365 days.
And not just any opponent. The one ranked number one in the country that was playing on their home rink. In the aftermath of The Event, I saw a lot of confusion. Perhaps you don't know quite how to feel about this. Perhaps you're a Wisconsin fan that has long ago forgotten how to feel anything. More likely, you're a Wisconsin fan that went about your life on Friday evening then woke up on Saturday morning and
read about it in the newspaper saw the score on Facebook and thought someone had made a terrible mistake.
In any case, you may be asking: What does this all mean? Is Wisconsin better than we thought? Is North Dakota really not a top team? The truth is, North Dakota is still likely one of the best teams in college hockey, but as we discussed last week, isn't really an elite team. It's still a team with some flaws, most notably scoring goals. Add in that they were missing their leading scorer due to suspension, and there was plenty of opportunity for a bad team to ride the wave of variance to an early lead then sit in a shell for the final 30 minutes of the game while the other team failed to score.
For Wisconsin, it's a very positive sign that they've apparently improved enough to play the type of hockey that is just boring enough to win the occasional game. Matt Jurusik, to this point, has looked like a legitimate goalie. Luke Kunin is still has Wisconsin for the time being, and has been a legitimate scoring threat. They're not particularly frightening unless you're one of the Big Ten head coaches that will get fired if your team finishes in last place this year.But there is at least hope for the occasional bit of joy if you're still following the Badgers at this point.
A 231 million percent hyper-inflation of shot-blocking.
Boston College's Thatcher Demko picked up his sixth shutout in seven games. Which is great for him, but at this point, the shutout is becoming the Zimbabwean dollar of statistics. In a few years, NCAA goalies will have no other option but to sell their voluminous pile of worthless shutouts on eBay to nerds and hipsters. To wit, Demko's shutout on Sunday evening was the 39th of the season in college hockey(just over 16% of games). Tie games, the great scourge and most important issue of our time, which men of great import spend their summers stroking their beards while deep in philosophical discussion to fix, have occurred only 30 times this season.
Meanwhile, Bowling Green goalie Chris Nell is carrying the following stat line: 1.07 goals against, .960 save percentage, 2-1-3 record. That coming after Bowling Green played a pair of 1-1 ties against Lake Superior last weekend.
Game-winning goals is a dumb, useless stat and Austin Ortega is just going to keep scoring them in the first two periods of games until we all agree that it is.
One season after setting an NCAA record for game-winning goals with 11 last season, Omaha's Austin Ortega is already up to five this year, after notching the game-winning goal for Omaha in Friday's win over Minnesota Duluth. While that number implies some sort of extraordinary grit and late-game heroism, all five of Ortega's game-winners this season have come in the first two periods of the game. It's really more a strange coincidence, helped by the fact that Ortega scores a high-percentage of the Mavericks' goals--8 of 31 this season, just a hair over 25%--and the Mavericks are winning a lot. It's one of those things that doesn't seem sustainable in any sort of way, and yet he finds a way to do it consistently, which is a perfect description of Omaha's success as a team.
Goalie in the penalty box!