Arguably, Wisconsin comes in as a heavy favorite against RIT (a.k.a. “The Little Engine That Could”). Nonetheless, the Badgers are fully aware of what their opponents accomplished in knocking off Denver and New Hampshire to get here. They have no intention of becoming the next victim.
Thus, the mantra of “we’re 0-0” has become predictably widespread.
“We worked hard to get here but at this point it doesn’t really matter,” Ben Street says. “Both teams are 0-0 and it’s going to be a 60-minute war out there. Those guys are going to be just as ready as we are and that’s what’s motivating us. They want to get to the championship game and we do too.”
Coach Mike Eaves invokes the same mantra.
“Well this time of year the records really go back to 0-0 and you ask yourself how your team is playing,” he says. “Right now coming into this tournament, RIT was playing some fine hockey and they beat two quality teams. We felt we played pretty well at the Regionals as well.”
Ryan McDonagh contends that the Badgers aren’t about to take anything for granted at this point.
“For us, it’s been a real long journey,” he says. “The whole team was at school in the middle of June and from that point on we’ve had one goal in mind. Now that we are here, we are going to try to seize the opportunity as best as possible.”