DEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photo)A 4-2 loss to last-place Michigan Tech may leave a bad taste in the mouths of the No. 1 Badgers and their fans heading into winter break, but nobody can take anything away from the first half that Wisconsin put together.It may turn out to be the biggest upset of the year, but the Badgers will have to shake it off while enjoying a break more than a month long from WCHA action.”The guys take great responsibility and great pride in the things that we’ve done this first half here, and to slip up like that left a real sour taste in my mouth and, to be honest, it still does a little bit,” senior captain Adam Burish said. “We’ve got some time off and I’ll try to blow it off here.”Nonetheless, there is no way that anyone could hang their heads about the 14-2-2 first-half performance (11-1-2 in the WCHA) that has landed UW six points ahead of their closest WCHA foes.The Badgers will have quite a bit of time to try to forget about the loss to the Huskies. They don’t play another league series until the weekend before UW students come back to school.That doesn’t mean that they won’t see any games along the way, however, as they have an exhibition this Friday and host a tournament New Year’s weekend.Action returns to the Kohl Center at the end of this week when the top-ranked Badgers welcome the United States Under-18 Team for an exhibition.While it will keep UW tuned up and give the U-18 Team a chance to prepare for international competition, it will also give Eaves a chance to see three of his new recruits.”I haven’t seen them play,” Eaves said. “We don’t get any video of them — we have to scramble around, see if any of their games are on, but none of their games are on tape.”While the game is a mismatch on paper, after last Friday the Badgers know they can’t take anything for granted.”It’s going to be a little bit of what we went through Friday night, is that … it’s not a regular-season game, it doesn’t count as a lot, but hopefully [they learned] the lesson,” Eaves said. “Unless we’re ready to play, these high school kids could come in and embarrass us and beat us and that’s a fact.”After Friday’s exhibition, the team will get a bit of a break. The Badgers will have two weeks off — three weeks from Division I action — before they return for the Badger Hockey Showdown.Wisconsin will take on Western Michigan and Wayne State faces off against Northern Michigan Dec. 30; the winners and losers face each other Dec. 31.Northern Michigan is currently receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll, while Wayne State and Western Michigan are unranked.After another two-week hiatus, Wisconsin will finally return to league play Jan. 13-14 at Colorado College in what should be a heated rematch after the Badgers took three points from the Tigers in November.But that series is a long way off, and UW will need to find a way to keep its momentum rolling into the second half of the season — something that hasn’t come easy in the past few years.”I think it’s going to be there — just the enthusiasm and looking forward to coming back and continuing on the journey that we’ve started together,” Eaves said. “We have some real neat things going on and we have to continue to go.”
The Tipp footballers’ backs are against the wall going into Saturday’s game against Cavan in round 2A of the football qualifiers.If they lose, they’re out of this year’s Championship.Tipp captain Brian Fox is hopeful the team will be able to make up for a disappointing loss to Cork in the Munster championship. He says they’ll go in all guns blazing against Cavan.Throw in on Saturday is at 2pm at Kingspan Breffni Park, and Tipp FM will have full live commentary of the game.