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Saturday State Sports Briefs: UW men's hockey loses opener

GREEN BAY - The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team scored first, but wasn't able to hold the lead in a season-opening 2-1 loss to Northern Michigan.

After a scoreless first period, Michael Mersch knocked one in on a power play with 14:25 to go in the second frame. Just 18 seconds into the third period, Northern Michigan tied the score, then won it with a goal at 9:07. Joel Rumpel stopped 18 of 20 shots by the Wildcats. The Badgers will try to get a split of the weekend series tonight at 7 p.m. in a game played at the Resch Center in Green Bay.


The University of Wisconsin women's hockey team will try to stay unbeaten when it plays at Minnesota-Duluth tomorrow and Sunday afternoons. The fourth-ranked Badgers are 3-0-1 after sweeping a pair at Lindenwood last weekend. Wisconsin is also 1-0-1 in the WCHA, after beating and tying Minnesota State in their season debut. Duluth comes in at 0-2, after losing a pair to Ohio State last weekend. Wisconsin senior Brianna Decker scored eight points last weekend to give her 200 for her career. She's only the fifth Wisconsin player to reach the plateau, and she did it in the fewest number of games - 112.


University of Wisconsin football head coach Bret Bielema says he might not decide until game-time tomorrow if he'll start defensive end Tyler Dippel tomorrow at Purdue. He hurt a shoulder last weekend late in the game against Illinois - and he has only done conditioning work at practice this week. Dippel has started the last three games for the Badgers, who will play the Boilermakers in the 11 o'clock time slot tomorrow. Senior safety Shelton Johnson is expected to make his first start since breaking his right arm at Oregon State last month. Johnson played off the bench last week in the win over the Illini. Right guard Kyle Costigan is also expected to start, after coming off surgery on his right-knee. Back-up corner Penial Jean could see his first action of the year on special teams tomorrow. He broke his left foot late in the Badgers' pre-season camp. Wisconsin will go for its sixth straight victory at West Lafayette. The Badgers are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten. Purdue is 3-2 overall, and 0-1 in the conference.


With Ohio State looming on the schedule next week, the Purdue Boilermakers really need to take care of business against an improving Wisconsin Badger team. Purdue was smashed 44-13 at home by the Michigan Wolverines last time out. The winner of today's game immediately becomes the front-runner in the race to win the Leaders Division and qualify for the Big Ten Conference championship game. Wisconsin brings a 4-2 record into the contest, recently showing some signs of the dominating offense Bucky brought to the table the last few years. UW head coach Bret Bielema says the most significant improvement shown by his team is the offensive line play.


Tight end Jermichael Finley says he will be ready to go when the Green Bay Packers play on the road in Houston Sunday night. The team has listed him as questionable. Green Bay has already listed wide receiver Greg Jennings as being unavailable tomorrow. Running back Cedric Benson is also going to miss the game against the undefeated Texans. He hurt his left foot in last week's loss at Indianapolis. Nose tackle B.J. Raji is questionable for the Houston game after not practicing this week, as is tight end D.J. Williams.


Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers has the NFL's eighth-highest passer rating at 96-point-nine. But his position coach, Ben McAdoo, says Rodgers is not all that far off from the MVP form he displayed a year ago. The coach noted that Rodgers' passer rating a week ago was over 100 in Green Bay's loss at Indianapolis. And McAdoo said he believes the Packers' best days are ahead of them on offense. Rodgers agrees. He says he's quote, "not far off" from the high level he's accustomed to. One thing which stands out is the lack of big passing plays. Last year, the Packers had at least one pass play of 40-yards-or-more in 10-of-their-16 regular season games. This year, they've only had one such play in five outings. McAdoo says the offense needs to make the routine plays - and to take advantage when the defense creates the opportunity for a big play. Also, the Packers have the NFL's second-highest number of sacks allowed. But the coaches are hesitant to make Rodgers throw the ball away faster. That's because they want to take advantage of his scrambling ability. Rodgers was Green Bay's leading rusher last week with 57 yards on five carries. The Packers take a 2-3 record into undefeated Houston on Sunday night.


UW-Whitewater and Oshkosh will try to hang onto their shares of first place in the WIAC football standings today. Both teams are 2-0 in league play. Oshkosh, ranked 19th by, is the only team in the conference with an unbeaten overall record at 5-0. Oshkosh will host 13th-ranked Platteville tomorrow, while fifth-ranked Whitewater travels to Menomonie to play UW-Stout. Stevens Point plays at River Falls, and Eau Claire hosts La Crosse.


In Midwest Conference football today, first-place Lake Forest will try to go 6-0 with a victory at Monmouth. Saint Norbert is second at 4-1, and the Green Knights are at home to face Lawrence of Appleton. Also, Beloit travels to Illinois College. And Ripon hosts Grinnell. In the Northern Athletics Conference, two of the three first-place teams will square off tomorrow, when Aurora visits Concordia-Chicago. Both are 2-0 in league play, along with Concordia-Mequon - which plays in Sheboygan against Lakeland College. Also, Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Benedictine, and Maranatha Baptist plays at Rockford. Lutheran and Lakeland are both one game behind the leaders. In the CCIW, Carthage plays at undefeated Illinois Wesleyan. Carthage is tied for fourth in the league standings at 1-1. Wesleyan is 2-0 in the conference, and 5-0 overall.


Edgewood College will go for its third straight Northern Athletics Conference men's golf title. The first two rounds of the league tournament will be played on Sunday and Monday on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits near Sheboygan. Rounds 3-and-4 will take place in late April, with the winner to advance to next spring's NCAA Division III tournament. Edgewood defeated second-place Milwaukee School of Engineering by 54 shots a year ago. The same teams also finished first-and-second the previous year.


The Midwest Conference women's tennis tournament is underway in Rockford, Illinois. Grinnell is going for its third straight title and its eighth-in-nine-years. The tournament moves to Madison for doubles' competition today and singles' finals on Sunday.


The Milwaukee Admirals will open their 35th regular season tonight at Grand Rapids. It's the Milwaukee debut for new coach Dean Evason. He inherits an Admirals' team that has made the playoffs for the last 10 years - the longest such streak in the American Hockey League. As a farm club for the NHL's Nashville Predators, Milwaukee has a lot of young talent. All but seven players on their 24-man roster are in their first or second years. Mark Van Guilder is the oldest at 28 - and he's one of just four Admirals to have played in 200 professional hockey games. Milwaukee finished second in the AHL's Midwest Division a year ago, while their opponent tonight - Grand Rapids - was fourth in the North. Both teams were 2-2 against each other last season.




Nebraska 3, Wisconsin 0




Wisconsin 2, Northwestern 1



Algoma 63, Menasha St. Mary's Central 38

Alma/Pepin 29, Spring Valley 19

Almond-Bancroft 53, Bowler/Gresham 0

Amherst 42, Bonduel 14

Appleton North 28, Appleton East 17

Arcadia 54, Viroqua 12

Ashwaubenon 21, Green Bay Notre Dame 13

Baldwin-Woodville 29, New Richmond 27

Bangor 51, Hillsboro 32

Baraboo 33, Portage 14

Barron 24, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 6

Belmont 52, River Ridge 20

Benton/Scales Mound Ill. 21, Shullsburg 20

Black Hawk 50, Pecatonica/Argyle 10

Black River Falls 56, Onalaska Luther 6

Bloomer 23, Maple Northwestern 0

Brillion 54, Valders 7

Brodhead/Juda 21, Orfordville Parkview 7

Brookfield East 14, Sussex Hamilton 13, OT

Burlington 49, Union Grove 20

Cambria-Friesland 18, Williams Bay 13

Cameron 12, Grantsburg 6

Campbellsport 35, Waupun 13

Cassville 49, Seneca 8

Catholic Central 54, Greendale Martin Luther 27

Cedar Grove-Belgium 48, Oostburg 14

Chippewa Falls McDonell 49, Thorp 34

Clayton 24, Elmwood/Plum City 12

Clinton 50, Beloit Turner 6

Clintonville 53, Appleton Xavier 49

Cochrane-Fountain City 44, Alma Center Lincoln 12

Colby 48, Altoona 6

Coleman 46, Laona/Wabeno 20

Crandon 59, Menominee Indian 6

Crivitz 41, Wausaukee 6

Cumberland 42, Ladysmith 14

De Pere 30, Manitowoc 27

Deerfield 47, Horicon 6

DeForest 30, Reedsburg 0

Denmark 13, Shawano 12

Durand 35, Ellsworth 18

Eau Claire Memorial 48, Eau Claire North 13

Eau Claire Regis 23, Stanley-Boyd 15

Edgar 49, Neillsville 7

Edgerton 27, McFarland 13

Elkhorn 49, Westosha Central 35

Evansville 42, East Troy 32

Fall River 36, Hustisford 6

Fennimore 27, Darlington 0

Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs 68, Lomira 7

Fox Valley Lutheran 37, Berlin 14

Franklin 49, Racine J.I. Case 6

Frederic 44, Flambeau 30

Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 47, Holmen 14

Grafton 28, Port Washington 19

Green Bay Preble 48, Green Bay East 7

Green Bay Southwest 21, Bay Port 13

Greendale 42, Brown Deer 0

Greenwood/Granton 46, Gilman 15

Hartford 27, West Bend East 7

Hartland Arrowhead 40, Mukwonago 6

Hilbert 34, Gibraltar 0

Hudson 34, Menomonie 7

Hurley 47, Ontonagon, Mich. 20

Independence/Gilmanton 56, Augusta 14

Iowa-Grant 37, Riverdale 8

Janesville Craig 27, Janesville Parker 13

Jefferson 55, Whitewater 7

Kenosha St. Joseph 61, Somers Shoreland Lutheran 22

Kewaskum 14, Sheboygan Falls 7

Kewaunee 56, Southern Door 0

Kickapoo/LaFarge 43, Ithaca 8

Kiel 35, New Holstein 0

Kimberly 49, Appleton West 7

La Crosse Central 35, La Crosse Aquinas 32

La Crosse Logan 36, Tomah 26

Laconia 26, Kettle Moraine Lutheran 7

Lake Country Lutheran 62, Racine Lutheran 0

Lake Mills 34, Columbus 27

Lakeside Lutheran 31, Watertown Luther Prep 0

Lancaster 63, Richland Center 8

Little Chute 49, Milwaukee Washington 0

Lodi 10, Poynette 6

Loyal 41, Abbotsford 6

Luck 53, Bruce 24

Luxemburg-Casco 55, Oconto Falls 8

Madison Memorial 58, Beloit Memorial 0

Manawa 42, Weyauwega-Fremont 0

Manitowoc Lutheran 40, Howards Grove 20

Manitowoc Roncalli 20, Chilton 13

Marion/Tigerton 39, Plainfield Tri-County 14

Marshall 54, Wisconsin Heights 0

Marshfield 42, Stevens Point 28

Mayville 31, North Fond du Lac 28

Medford 37, Rhinelander 7

Melrose-Mindoro 27, Eleva-Strum 20

Menasha 21, Fond du Lac 6

Menomonee Falls 14, Brookfield Central 0

Merrill 35, Antigo 21

Middleton 35, Madison La Follette 19

Milwaukee Rufus King 52, Milwaukee Bay View 0

Milwaukee Marshall 20, Milwaukee Pulaski 19

Milwaukee Pius XI 52, St. Francis 32

Milwaukee Riverside 58, Milwaukee Hamilton 6

Milwaukee South 30, Milwaukee Madison 22

Milwaukee Vincent 32, Milwaukee Bradley Tech 9

Mineral Point 27, Southwestern 25

Mondovi 22, Colfax 0

Monona Grove 49, Sauk Prairie 19

Monroe 14, Stoughton 9

Mosinee 53, Ashland 6

Muskego 53, Waukesha South 20

Necedah 55, Cashton 21

Neenah 30, Wisconsin Rapids 13

Nekoosa 41, Wisconsin Dells 21

New Auburn 75, Minong Northwood/Solon Springs 47

New Berlin West 56, Whitnall 42

New Glarus/Monticello 49, Belleville 0

New Lisbon 40, Wonewoc-Center 16

Niagara/Goodman/Pembine 47, White Lake/Elcho 14

North Crawford 23, De Soto 22

Northland Pines/Phelps 68, L'Anse, Mich. 24

Oak Creek 69, Kenosha Indian Trails 7

Omro 40, Winnebago Lutheran 14

Onalaska 28, Sparta 14

Oshkosh Lourdes 39, Markesan 0

Oshkosh North 17, Oshkosh West 7

Osseo-Fairchild 26, Turtle Lake 16

Owen-Withee 22, Athens 7

Ozaukee 33, Random Lake 0

Pewaukee 55, Cudahy 0

Pittsville 60, Phillips 26

Platteville 48, Prairie du Chien 7

Plymouth 42, Two Rivers 21

Potosi 47, Highland 2

Prairie Farm 83, Birchwood 0

Prescott 33, Amery 0

Pulaski 42, Green Bay West 20

Randolph 28, Johnson Creek 0

Rib Lake/Prentice 33, Tomahawk 14

Rice Lake 46, River Falls 35

Rio 49, Oakfield 0

River Valley 48, Dodgeville 22

Rosholt 69, Washburn/Bayfield 0

Royall 22, Brookwood 14

Schofield D.C. Everest 39, Kaukauna 14

Seymour 41, New London 7

Sheboygan South 14, Sheboygan North 7

Shiocton 49, Iola-Scandinavia 0

Shorewood/Milwaukee Messmer 56, Living Word Lutheran 14

Siren 67, Winter 24

Somerset 35, Osceola 7

South Milwaukee 21, New Berlin Eisenhower 16

Spencer/Marshfield Columbus 21, Fall Creek 13

Spooner 21, Hayward 15

St. Croix Falls 36, Webster 6

Stevens Point Pacelli 62, Wittenberg-Birnamwood 15

Stratford 50, Auburndale 14

Sturgeon Bay 47, Mishicot 0

Sun Prairie 55, Madison East 0

Superior 28, Chippewa Falls 0

Suring 53, St. Thomas Aquinas/Lena 26

Unity 30, Shell Lake 15

Verona 39, Madison West 29

Walworth Big Foot 49, Palmyra-Eagle 13

Waterford 6, Lake Geneva Badger 3

Waterloo 22, Cambridge 21

Watertown 19, Oconomowoc 16

Watertown Maranatha Baptist 42, Dodgeland 22

Waukesha Catholic Memorial 49, Kettle Moraine 23

Waukesha West 55, Waukesha North 7

Waunakee 13, Mount Horeb 10

Waupaca 55, Ripon 16

Wausau East 23, Wausau West 21

Wautoma 35, Westfield 16

Wauwatosa West 28, Greenfield 21

Wauzeka 18, Weston 0

West Allis Central 24, Milwaukee Marquette 22

West Allis Hale 53, Wauwatosa East 33

West Bend West 14, Slinger 7

West De Pere 36, Hortonville 9

West Salem 54, Westby 15

Whitefish Bay 44, Nicolet 0

Whitehall 19, Blair-Taylor 3

Wild Rose 48, Port Edwards 20

Wilmot 48, Delavan-Darien 12

Winneconne 33, Freedom 14

Wisconsin Lutheran 33, Beaver Dam 10

Wrightstown 35, Oconto 13