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first_imgLast Monday, University of Wisconsin men’s hockey head coach Mike Eaves was asked to name his most consistent players through the first 10 games of an up-and-down fall season thus far.After a moment of thought, Eaves gave a convincing answer.”I think that Mr. Drewiske and Mr. Olinger as a pair have played pretty well together and have really stabilized the defense,” Eaves said. “They’ve done a nice job back there. Not only have they played at their strengths, but actually they stepped outside and picked up their game a little bit.”Indeed, junior Davis Drewiske and senior Matt Olinger have emerged as a solid blue-line pair with complementary styles. Drewiske, from Hudson, and Olinger, a Madison native, have used their experience playing together — all of last season and for bits and pieces of the 2004-05 season — to earn Eaves’ praise, along with that of their fellow teammates.”They work really hard together, they’re kind of two defensemen that … don’t make big plays, [and] if you don’t really notice them, it’s a really good game,” senior defenseman Jeff Likens said. “They play really sound defensively, Davis likes to hop in a little bit offensively, and they work really well together.”They’ve got great chemistry, they’re definitely a good pairing for us.”Likens, one of two assistant captains for the Badgers, said Drewiske and Olinger often sit next to each other in the locker room. He knows from experience as a defenseman that chemistry plays a huge impact on a defensive pair’s consistency on the ice.”It plays a big part in there, learning [each other’s] personalities and tendencies,” Likens said. “Even getting away from the hockey part, being able to … hear that one voice that you want to hear, your defensive partner, it’s definitely a tough thing. Being partners and everything, you always want to help your partner and talk to him.”Drewiske and Olinger do plenty of talking to each other, both on and off the ice. The two Badgers are roommates on the road and share a couple of classes together as well.”It’s easier to talk to [each other], we just have a good time out there, it’s about having fun,” Olinger said. “So you go out there and you have a buddy across the ice, it’s nice.”Though both players came to Wisconsin favoring a defense-first mentality, Drewiske has began to show offensive prowess in the early goings of the 2006-07 season. He has put in two goals this season, tops among UW defensemen, and says he trusts Olinger to hold the fort if an opposing offense is able to take advantage of his risk-taking.”He’s always there, and if I do make a step, I try to make it in the right situation, and be able to get back and not get caught,” said Drewiske, who has a career plus-15 rating. “But if I do happen to get caught, he’s a good steady force to have back there; he’ll play an odd-man rush for you if you need it.”Conversely, Olinger has played 107 career games and has not lit the lamp once for the Badgers. But with a plus-six rating in his career, Olinger isn’t too worried about the stat, though he takes any mention of it in stride.”One of these days,” Olinger says, “I’ll get one in there eventually.”Likens, while conceding that the scoreless streak is of importance to no one on the team, made a fearless prediction for his fellow senior defenseman.”We all know what Oli brings to the table for us defensively,” Likens said. “His role isn’t really to score goals, but I have a feeling he’s going to pop one in pretty soon here.”Drewiske said Olinger has been working on his shot in practice, and added, “I think we’re going to get him one before the end of the year.”This weekend would be a good time for Olinger’s first goal. In a matchup of the NCAA champions from the past two seasons, No. 5 Wisconsin (4-4-2, 3-2-1 WCHA) is set to host No. 15 Denver (4-4-0, 2-2-0) in this weekend’s series.The Pioneers have owned the Badgers over the last two years, with Denver winning four games and tying another in the past five meetings. This includes last season’s dreadful series at the Kohl Center, when the Badgers were swept while starting goaltender Brian Elliott was injured.”We lost a couple of games to them last year here, and that didn’t sit well with us or a lot of people, I’m sure, so we’re hungry for this weekend to get back on track.””It’s always a big matchup,” Olinger added. “Every year, they’ve got a great team, so we’ve been practicing really hard this week to get ready for them, and we’ll be ready tomorrow night.”Both Wisconsin and Denver have, for their standards, stumbled out of the gate, with each program mustering just four wins through this weekend.”It’s not so much even from last year, but more of what we’re going through right now,” Drewiske said. “We’re sitting at .500, and that’s not where we want to be.”Likens knows the talent of all players and coaches involved, along with each team’s desire to get a boost from beating a top-tier opponent, will be more than enough to make for some good hockey at the Kohl Center this weekend.”Denver’s always a tough opponent; they’ve produced some good players,” Likens said. “They’re going to come out firing, we’re going to come out firing, and it’s going to be a good matchup.”last_img read more

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first_imgMORE: Irving acknowledges being short-temperedHayward scored more points Tuesday than he had in his first five games after the All-Star break combined (26). Boston was 1-4 in those games.Two of the points against the Warriors came on a fast-break dunk after a steal in the third quarter as the Celts were wrapping up the contest. Gordon Hayward had been playing like a bottom-of-the-rotation man prior to Tuesday. He looked like a Sixth Man of the Year against the Warriors.The Celtics forward delivered 30 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench, helping to spur Boston to a 128-95 rout of Golden State in Oakland, Calif. The loss was the Warriors’ worst of the season. Hayward finished 12 for 16 from the floor against the reigning champs; in his five previous games, he was 8 for 26 from the field.center_img “I understand it’s one game,” Hayward told reporters, per ESPN.com. “You are going to have ups and downs in the season. I’ll try to build off the things I did correctly tonight, and the next time you have a bad game, try to learn from that one.”He’ll try to keep the momentum going Wednesday when the Celtics play the Kings in Sacramento.Boston will need this Hayward during the final month-plus of the regular season and the NBA playoffs. The Celts are in a battle for home-court advantage in at least the first round; they’re fifth in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place 76ers.last_img read more