Badgers looking to captain for guidance in team’s early struggles

first_imgRAY PFEIFFER/Herald photoOne night after dropping its 2006 National Championship banner, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team played its worst period of hockey in four years. After losing the series opener in overtime, the Badgers were on the verge of being swept by North Dakota in their home opening series. Tied 0-0 after two periods, senior captain Andrew Joudrey took it upon himself to motivate his spiritless squad.”It was one of those moments, it wasn’t planned, and after last year and the years we have had in the past, you come to expect a certain level of play and we know our potential. When that’s not happening because of a lack of effort and intensity, then something has to be done,” Joudrey said of his intermission speech. “I didn’t quote Shakespeare or anything like that, but we needed to make a change and it has to come now and it worked out.”The rousing speech was clearly effective as the Badgers went on to score the game’s only goal to defeat the Fighting Sioux 1-0. The win was of course satisfying, but perhaps more important for the Badgers was the leadership qualities Joudrey demonstrated. The Bedford, Nova Scotia native has always led by example, but unlike last year’s team captain, Adam Burish, Joudrey has relied on his assistant captains to help with the vocal leadership.”Everybody leads in different ways. [Burish] was a hard worker, and he was really vocal in the locker room … Andrew is kind of the same way but he does it a little differently in terms of being a little more reliant on me and Jake (Dowell),” senior defenseman Jeff Likens said. “Getting the guys going as far as emotionally was a big part of Adam’s job but Andrew is not doing a bad job … he’s doing a great job.”Since arriving in Madison, Joudrey has always had a knack for coming through in the clutch, helping his team to victory in desperate situations.As an assistant captain for the Badgers’ national championship team, Joudrey collected three game-winning goals, including winners against North Dakota, Ohio State at the Frozen Tundra Classic and Minnesota at the WCHA Final Five.”I haven’t scored like some of the other guys have, like Robbie (Earl) or Joe (Pavelski), but I try to make them count,” Joudrey said of his timely goals. “I am not going to score the highlight ones, but I just try to keeping working hard and give myself the best opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.”Although Joudrey’s statistics at Wisconsin are not jaw dropping by any means, he remains one of the team’s most versatile players. During his tenure with the Badgers, Joudrey has played center, winger and defenseman in addition to being a consistent contributor on the power play.Although Joudrey has always been a pass-first player, the coaching staff is looking to expand his offensive role.”I always grew up a pass-first guy, but [the coaches] have been working on it for four years, and I finally realized I need to shoot the puck more,” Joudrey said. “Hopefully I’m moving toward being even not just a pass-first kind of guy.”As captain it is Joudrey and the rest of the seniors’ responsibility to unite the team and establish camaraderie similar to last year’s championship team. The Badgers’ lineup currently features a number of freshmen who have been asked to take bigger roles due in large part to injuries suffered by Kyle Klubertanz, Jack Skille and Ross Carlson. Despite their inexperience, the freshmen have responded quite well and, according to freshman forward Mike Davies, the team’s captain has contributed greatly to their success.”[Joudrey] just leads by example … everything he says in the locker room, he goes out on the ice and demonstrates it. He’s a great leader, not just on the ice or in the locker room, but away from the rink, too,” Davies said. “Every time we hang out, it’s as a team and nothing else. He is always trying to include everybody and gel everyone together and that has really helped [the freshmen].”Joudrey’s leadership is imperative now more than ever as the Badgers are in a state of turmoil after being swept at home this past weekend against Boston College.Nevertheless, Joudrey, the levelheaded leader, is confident in his team’s ability to right the ship and return to its winning ways.”There is always pressure especially after you lose two games in a row at home,” he said. “The biggest thing right now is we need to get back on the wining track and, like they say, there is no time like the present.”last_img