Frozen Four: Wisconsin crushes RIT 8-1

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The Wisconsin Badgers are headed to the National Championship game on the strength of defense, patience, offensive skill and some brutal frustration from the RIT Tigers as Wisconsin took out RIT 8-1 in the first semifinal game of the 2010 Frozen Four.

Wisconsin took the steam out of RIT almost immediately as John Mitchell scored 1:27 into the game to give Wisconsin a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.  Rangers prospects Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh teamed up to make it 2-0 halfway through the first.  The second period would see things unravel fast for RIT as goals by Jordy Murray and a power play goal from Justin Schultz (thanks to help from instant replay) would make it 4-0. 

Wisconsin would add a couple more power play goals courtesy of a five-minute major handed out to RITs Mark Cornacchia for hitting from behind.  Michael Davies and Hobey Baker finalist Blake Geoffrion added those goals to make it 6-0 and the Badgers would not look back. Tyler Brenner scored late in the second for RIT on the power play to stop Scott Gudmandson’s shutout bid, but this one was already over as Wisconsin proved that both they and RIT are exactly who we thought they were.

Wisconsin set out in the third period to keep the game under control and they did just that in the methodical, blood-letting kind of way you’d expect from a defensively sound team that has a five goal cushion. RIT had some power play opportunities but were stonewalled before even gaining the zone.  RIT goaltender Jared DeMichiel was pulled after Kyle Davies scored to make it 7-1 late in the third. Backup goaltender Jan Rapponen allowed a goal to Derek Stepan, his second, to provide the final number. Wisconsin will face the winner of Miami University and Boston College which is set to drop the puck shortly.

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    Video: On Hockey Day in America, Auston Matthews did this . . .

    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11:  Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.

    Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.

    On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.

    As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.

    Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages

    Video: After a slow start, Evander Kane is on a roll for the Sabres

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    For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.

    Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.

    He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

    Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.

    (Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)

    Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.

    WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Sharks

    BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Dominic Moore #28 of the Boston Bruins defends Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period at TD Garden on February 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    The Boston Bruins are back from their bye week, looking to continue a three-game winning streak since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach from Claude Julien.

    The Bruins can extend their streak Sunday, when they visit the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    The NHL’s bye week experiment is still a work in progress

    Pre-game reading: Are the Bruins and Avalanche on verge of trade?

    Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions

    Video: Trouba called for a hit to the head on Stone

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    Jacob Trouba could be getting a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone.

    The incident occurred during the third period of Sunday’s game, as Stone was passing the puck after he entered the zone. Trouba stepped up and delivered a high hit, resulting in only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

    Stone, who dealt with a concussion that was reported in September, remained down on the ice before eventually going to the dressing room.

    As you can see from the video, Senators coach Guy Boucher was furious officials on the ice decided this was only worth a minor for Trouba.