Megan McCormick / The Badger HeraldDespite two difficult overtime losses over the weekend at Michigan Tech, Wisconsin men’s hockey head coach Mike Eaves said he doesn’t believe his young team has any confidence issues moving forward.However, Eaves did stress the need for his team not to press, especially his captains.“With the captains today, we talked about the fact that one of their challenges is not to be super captains, to do their part,” Eaves said. “Less is more. And that’s a difficult thing for adults to understand, let alone kids that are 18- to [early-20s-years-old].”As Eaves addressed the media in his weekly press conference Monday, he said he needed players like assistant captain Justin Schultz to adopt the “less is more” mentality in particular.“(Justin) wants so badly for the team to do well that he’s stepping outside what he would naturally do,” Eaves said. “You can see it on the ice out there. He’s got to try to strike a balance with the type of team that we have and understand that, and he’s learning.”When asked by a reporter about whether the fact captain and junior defenseman John Ramage had been on the ice for the majority of opposing goals was a result of him trying to do too much as well, Eaves said he thought Ramage’s struggles were a combination of factors.“I think he’s in a little bit of funk,” Eaves said. “On Saturday, he hits the guy in the shaft, (puck) goes in the net. So I think it’s a combination of some bad luck right now. I think he’s (also) trying to do a little bit too much. In other parts of his game (though), we see him moving well and doing very much the job we need him to do.”Through the first four games of the season, the Badgers (1-3, 0-2 WCHA) have struggled to see consistent goal production from their top offensive lines. While Wisconsin’s three losses have each come by only one goal, Eaves admitted that putting the puck in net is the toughest adjustment for a young player to make in college hockey.“There’s no question,” Eaves said. “When you lose Craig Smith and Jordy Murray, you’re trying to replace some offense, and you bring in talented guys, for instance Joseph LaBate, who is an offensive guy, and Brad Navin – it’s going to take [them] some time [to adjust].“[Assistant coach Bill] Butters and I were talking on our way over here, and it’s like we want our first-semester freshmen to be playing like second-semester juniors, and that’s just not going to happen.”Eaves did say, however, that his freshmen are moving in the right direction. He was particularly impressed on Saturday with the play of Navin, a freshman transitioning from Wisconsin high school hockey directly to the University of Wisconsin, which is rare.“It was really encouraging to us as a coaching staff to see the type of game (Navin) played on Saturday night, because he took a step,” Eaves said. “He didn’t look like a freshman. He played with some confidence, and that’s what he needs to feel. That’s what we needed to see. If he keeps doing that, he’s going to be on that score sheet more often.”Eaves said he also continues to be pleased with the play of his young goaltenders, Landon Peterson and Joel Rumpel, both freshmen who have widely exceeded expectations.“We as a staff talked about that,” Eaves said. “The captains have said that’s one of the things that’s been answered pretty emphatically here, is these young men have stepped in and done a nice job. In all games that we’ve played, they’ve given us a chance to be victorious.”At the conclusion of his press conference, Eaves said it would be important for his team to forget about the recent tough losses and shift its focus to the upcoming match-up with rival North Dakota this weekend at home in the Kohl Center.“No matter what happened this past weekend, our job here is to get back to practice, make sure we’re getting better in all areas and get ready for North Dakota,” Eaves said. “North Dakota’s going to be fun to get up for.”
The Stormers and Western Province centre/fullback played for the Springboks on three occasions in 2012 and has made 50 Super Rugby appearances, having also represented the Lions.Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has made just two changes for tomorrow night’s Pro12 clash with Cardiff Blues at Irish Independent Park. The first change is seen in the half-backs with Ian Keatley coming in to partner Duncan Williams. The final change is at full back where Andrew Conway makes his first appearance of the season.Tipperary’s Dave Foley and Tommy O’Donnell have retained their places.Returning international CJ Stander is named among the replacements, as is Nenagh native Donncha Ryan. The Ireland winger and full-back sustained the injury in their win over Scarlets last weekend in the PRO12.Zebo will be joined on the sidelines by hooker Kevin O’Byrne who is out for three months with an elbow injury.Meanwhile, Jaco Taute joins the province on a four month loan basis, subject to being granted a valid work permit.