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DROP THE PUCK: UW ready for RIT

first_imgSenior forward Aaron Bendickson and the Wisconsin men\’s hockey team is set to face off with the RIT Tigers in Thursday\’s semifinal game in Detroit. UW has had 11 days off since its last game.[/media-credit]Wisconsin is tired of talking about its Frozen Four matchup with the Rochester Institute of Technology.They have had an extra week to think about it, an extra week to practice for it and now the Badgers want nothing more than to see the puck finally drop in Ford Field.“I’m real anxious to get going. You can only talk about it so much, and all we’ve been able to do is talk about these games,” senior tri-captain Ben Street said. “We just want to get out there and get it started.”After playing through a demanding, pressure-packed postseason schedule, where the Badgers played in the WCHA Final Five and the NCAA West regional, UW and the other three Frozen Four teams have had a rare extended period without game action.Street, who will be playing in his second Frozen Four after helping to win a national championship in 2006, had trouble keeping busy with so much time between games.“It’s been boring. We have all this time off, and I don’t even know what to do with myself,” Street said. “I mean there has been a lot going on in the sports world. Opening Day of baseball, college basketball wrapping up, it seems like everyone else is doing a bunch of stuff, and we are just practicing.”It is fair to say senior forward Aaron Bendickson is tired of waiting as well.“It sucks to have to wait this long,” Bendickson said. “Everyone is just really jacked to play.”Tonight, the wait is over and the Badgers are set to take on the RIT this afternoon.According to Bendickson, anticipation for the Frozen Four created tremendous energy that was put to good use in practice.“Practice has been really competitive,” he said. “You can tell people are hungry to play because everyone is just going after it really hard.”UW hopes the rigorous practice sessions have helped it prepare for the intensity the Badgers will face in Detroit. As a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, the energized RIT squad has emerged as the tournament’s Cinderella story.The Tigers shocked Denver, the WCHA regular season champion, in the opening round and proceeded to take down Hockey East regular season champ New Hampshire in the East regional final. Now, the former Division II and Division III national champions are headed to Detroit looking for another title.RIT may have snuck up on opponents in the early rounds of the tournament, but UW head coach Mike Eaves knows full well the upset-minded Tigers will come out with a lot of energy and present a difficult challenge for the Badgers.“They are going to get after it. They are going to finish every check,” Eaves said. “And they may be as good as any team I’ve seen in the defensive zone.”The Badgers are one of the top scoring teams in the nation, but Eaves and the Badgers know RIT will attempt to play a tight defensive game to keep scoring chances limited.That strategy has worked particularly well for the Tigers due to the performance of goaltender Jared DeMichiel. The senior has been red-hot between the pipes for RIT, allowing only three goals in two NCAA tournament games, and his play has spearheaded the Tigers’ NCAA tournament run.UW junior goaltender Scott Gudmandson has played pretty well in his own right, making crucial saves in the Badgers’ tight wins over Vermont and St. Cloud State.With his counterpart playing with such confidence, Gudmandson hopes to see lot of the commotion and activity in front of the other net as the Badgers plan on testing DeMichiel early and often.“They are real good defensively so we need to work them down low and get a lot of traffic in front of that goalie,” Gudmandson said.The Badgers know the game plan, and they’ve waited long enough to execute it.Now after all the preparation, they are ready to continue their pursuit of a national championship.“It’s so exciting,” Gudmandson said. “We can’t wait to get out on that ice.”last_img read more

SB : Kuwik finishes with career-high 17 strikeouts in win over Binghamton

first_imgStacy Kuwik was in complete control. The Syracuse pitcher was mowing down the Binghamton batters at a torrid pace.But even Kuwik didn’t realize how many hitters failed to even make contact at the plate.‘I could see that I was handling a team pretty well and that a lot of them were sitting down instead of getting on,’ Kuwik said. ‘I knew I had a lot, I just didn’t know how many.’Kuwik struck out a career-high 17 batters to lead Syracuse to a 2-0 victory over Binghamton, completing a sweep of the team’s doubleheader in front of 133 at Skytop Softball Stadium on Thursday. SU ace Jenna Caira set the tone in the circle in the first game for the Orange (28-9, 5-1 Big East) with a season-high 13 strikeouts in a 6-1 win over the Bearcats (15-19, 6-3 America East). But on Thursday, Kuwik stole the spotlight with a dominant performance, throwing a complete-game and allowing just three hits.After Kuwik surrendered a leadoff double and threw a past ball that allowed the runner to advance to third base, she displayed pinpoint control and exceptional movement on her pitches.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith a runner 43 feet away from scoring, Kuwik struck out the next three batters in order. And that was only the start of her career day. She fanned the next 11 batters, recording the first 14 outs by strikeout.In the fourth inning, she struck out three Binghamton hitters on just 10 pitches.Kuwik’s two go-to pitches, her rise ball and curveball had an extra bite, even in chilly weather. And for the Bearcats, making contact was nearly impossible.‘They’re the ones I take out teams with all the time,’ Kuwik said. ‘And those were the two that were working the best.’Binghamton threatened in two different innings, moving a runner into scoring position, but Kuwik remained in control both times. With two outs in the top of fifth inning, she hit a batter and ran the count to 2-0 during the next at bat. Kuwik appeared to be losing the accuracy she relied on for most of the day.That’s when senior catcher Lacey Kohl came out to calm her down.‘She sometimes gets in a big rush. She started rushing her pitches,’ Kohl said. ‘It was really going out there and slowing her down and kind of slowing the game down all together.’And for a pitcher who works at a fast pace in the circle, the break helped her calm sown and she got out of the inning with a soft lineout to shortstop Morgan Nandin.While Kuwik was delivering a gem, Binghamton starting pitcher Demi Laney was matching her, confounding SU hitters and holding them scoreless through three innings. But with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Carrie Leigh-Thomas singled to keep the inning alive and freshman Julie Wambold extended her hands to crush a two-run shot over the left-center-field wall. It was her ninth homer of the year, tying her with Leigh-Thomas for the team lead and giving the Orange a 2-0 lead.‘We’re a home-run winning team and the more we hit home runs, the more we’re going to win,’ Kohl said.Those two runs were more than enough for Kuwik, who only allowed one more base runner after her fifth-inning funk.Kuwik worked quickly and got ahead in the count time and time again, staying sharp from her first pitch to her last one.‘I’m glad she stayed strong for the whole seven innings,’ Ross said. ‘Usually she throws hard for like four and then she loses it a little bit, but she did a great job today.’Kuwik’s dominant performance rarely relented and with at least one strikeout coming in each inning, Binghamton never had a chance to get on the board after the first inning.And like Kuwik, Ross was somewhat shocked after the game to learn her pitcher finished with 17 strikeouts.‘Is that how many she had?’ Ross asked. ‘I wasn’t even keeping track.’dgproppe@syr.edu Comments Published on April 12, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more