first_imgWisconsin men’s hockey received a much-needed boost this past weekend, which has head coach Mike Eaves optimistic and eying a redemption in the Badgers’ regular season finale this weekend against Minnesota.Coming off their first Big Ten win since Dec. 12, a 4-3 victory over No. 14 Penn State Saturday, the Badgers will face the Gophers for the first time since losing 9-2 at home to their border foe back in January.Many games during that winless span saw Wisconsin fall by close margins — most recently a 6-5 loss at Ohio State Feb. 27. This weekend’s win was the first time the Badgers grinded out a tough win over a conference opponent. Wisconsin’s only other conference win was a 3-0 victory over Michigan State.Men’s hockey: Badgers end final home series with impressive winWisconsin secured a big upset this weekend over No. 14 Penn State in their last home game of the series. Read…With the team’s confidence up, using the momentum from that big win has become a priority for Eaves.“I went down to the weight room this morning and the guys are there, and I said, ‘fellas, looking for a theme this week, what do you think?’” Eaves said. “And Matty Jurusik was in that group, and I said, ‘Matty, what was the score of that game?’ It was 9-2, 30 shots. Everything they shot went in. The guys came up with it, they said, ‘we’ve got to redeem ourselves. We’ve got that opportunity here.’”The win saw junior Jedd Soleway score only his second point in 18 games. Eaves admitted that Wisconsin’s coaching staff and Soleway himself believed the forward was in a rut.But as fate would have it, the team’s and Soleway’s fates coincided, and the game in which he scored for the first time since November was the team’s first conference win in about the same period of time.On an individual level, Soleway’s season is representative of the team’s season at large. Maybe Wisconsin has finally found itself out of this rut.Regardless, Eaves is determined to make redemption the team’s sole goal this weekend.“[Redemption] is kind of the focus of the weekend in getting prepared for going back in there,” Eaves said. “When you are around sports long enough, it was unfortunate timing. We have our biggest crowd of the year and our biggest rival, and the roof crashes in on us [in reference to the 9-2 loss vs. Minnesota in January] because of the score. And that’s stuff you hate to happen. But it did, and now we have a chance to get back in the saddle again.”With just this last regular season series before the Big Ten Tournament, Eaves hopes his young team can add one last chapter to its development this season.last_img