UW fans in for ‘Classic’ at Camp Randall

first_imgCamp Randall awaits 50,000-plus fans to fill the stands Saturday as the men\’s and women\’s teams play the campus\’ first outdoor game.[/media-credit]http://http://vimeo.com/9223522Herald sports editors Adam Holt and Max Henson preview the Camp Randall Hockey ClassicIt’s been an unusual week of preparation for head coach Mike Eaves and the Wisconsin men’s hockey team.The third-ranked Badgers have been practicing in Camp Randall stadium as they ready themselves for this Saturday’s highly anticipated Camp Randall Hockey Classic.Eaves knows the importance of every opportunity to get a win, and the Badgers are focused on the task at hand, even though no WCHA points are on the line. But he did admit to having a little fun throughout the week.“Yesterday we came out and let them be kids,” Eaves said. “We played a silly little game just so they could get that exuberance out and since that time it’s been all business.”UW has spent the week preparing for the Michigan Wolverines, a team that defeated the Badgers in Ann Arbor earlier this season.Michigan capitalized on a shorthanded opportunity in the second period and was able to hold off the Badgers late en route to a 3-2 non-conference victory.A defensive lapse on the power play led to the shorthanded goal against, and after a rough weekend in Duluth with the man-advantage, it’s no surprise the Badgers were emphasizing their special teams play during practice.“We have been working hard on the special teams,” Eaves said. “We want to improve in some areas so we spent some time both on the power play and on the penalty kill.”Senior tri-captain Ben Street and his fellow Badgers were disappointed with that effort in Ann Arbor and they are looking forward to redeeming themselves on Saturday.“We were a little frustrated with the way it went there earlier in the year,” Street said. “We looked back this week at [the Michigan game] and saw a couple of blown assignments on face-offs. We didn’t really play our best game. It’s definitely a little bit of retribution for us — something we want to get back on the ice and take care of.”The Badgers haven’t been outplayed too often this season, and freshman forward Craig Smith is anxious to get another shot at the Wolverines in front of a 50,000-plus crowd here in Madison.“Every time you lose to a team, you want to come back the next time and really battle,” Smith said. “It’s a big two points, it’s a big game for the fans and the bottom line is we have to come out ready to play and grab these points.”Preparing for the outdoor venue has been another challenge for the Badgers, but it’s a challenge they’ll gladly take on.The Badgers are enjoying practicing in Camp Randall so much that Eaves and his staff have had to drag the players off the ice in recent days.You can count Street as one of the many who’s overjoyed to be playing hockey outdoors.“That’s why these guys are staying out here so long — it’s fun,” Street said. The open air, you kind of get the wind going when you’re skating, it’s such a cool feeling. That’s what makes these outdoor games so much fun.”Street also participated in the 2006 outdoor game at Lambeau Field as a freshman when the Badgers took on Ohio State.But as a senior captain four years later, Street expects the 2010 version in Madison to be that much more special.“I think the fact that it’s on campus is really cool,” he said. “It makes it more ours. It’s hard to compare it to the game at Lambeau; they’re both outdoor games, but they’re so different — this one’s right on campus, which makes it so special.”The players have skated in an empty stadium throughout the week of practice, but there will be an unforgettable atmosphere surrounding them on Saturday.It’s an atmosphere Smith is anxiously waiting to experience.“It’s a pretty neat site from the ice looking up at the stadium,” Smith said. “We can’t wait to see what its going to look like Saturday.”last_img

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