Ben Street knows it. Mike Eaves and Brendan Smith do too.
The Wisconsin men’s hockey team has had a charmed season in making its run to the Frozen Four — and possibly the program’s seventh national title. Lots of little things happened that added up in a big way: players staying, opportunities to play in big games and maybe most importantly, a lack of injuries.
“It’s not wood, but it will do,” Street said with a chuckle, as he tapped the practice rink boards in reference to the Badgers’ health this season.
Aside from senior tri-captain Blake Geoffrion missing a game early in the season and a two-game series at Michigan Tech at the end of February, Wisconsin has been lucky to avoid the injury bug. The fact he was able to return from the concussion with no ill effects is a big reason the Badgers are one of the last four college hockey teams standing, as the Brentwood, Tenn. native had two goals and three assists in Wisconsin’s two West Regional games.
“Any coach will tell you that you need a little bit of lady luck on your side, and having good travel and having people that are healthy makes a big difference,” Eaves, UW’s head coach said.
“The biggest thing I think is people not getting hurt,” Smith said. “That comes along in the season when your top players go down and it really affects — because somebody else has to step up and maybe they don’t do the exact same job.”
WCHA tournament champion North Dakota knows the pain of injury — the Sioux lost former All-WCHA defenseman Chay Genoway to head injury in November and UND struggled until a second-half surge.
In addition to staying injury free, the Badgers have also stayed, well, for lack of a better term, the same team. UW’s seven-man senior class is the Badgers’ biggest since the groups that won it all in 2006 and fell one overtime goal short of the Frozen Four in 2007.
Lets hope the Badgers can win another National Championship. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!