JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoShane Connelly faced just 12 shots in Friday’s 3-1 win over the Michigan State Spartans. Naturally, he expected to be tested a bit more Saturday against a good Michigan Wolverines’ offense.But the Wolverines mustered just 19 shots, and Connelly earned the 3-0 shutout as the Badgers swept the College Hockey Showcase in Madison.“Michigan’s known for their high-powered offense. I thought I’d definitely see a lot more action than I did last night,” Connelly said. “But at the same time, even though there wasn’t as many chances … they still had some pretty good chances tonight, so I had to be prepared for that.”The University of Wisconsin defense never allowed Michigan to fire more than seven shots in a period Saturday, making Connelly’s job easy. The night before, the Spartans never managed more than five shots in a single frame.Two of the Wolverines’ most dangerous weapons were held in check by the Badgers’ blueliners. Sophomore center Louie Caporusso was tied for first in the nation in goals scored with 13 entering Saturday’s game, and linemate Aaron Palushaj was tied for most points in the country with 21.The duo combined for just two shots all night, both by Caporusso.“The team did a really good job of shutting down Michigan’s players,” Connelly said. “They’re tremendously skilled players. They’re fast. I was very happy with the team and the way we were able to shut them down.”Wisconsin’s two weekend opponents managed a combined 31 shots against Connelly. Early in the season, the Badgers were giving up more than that in a single game.In the second weekend of the year, the Denver Pioneers peppered Connelly with 52 shots in a 6-5 victory. North Dakota also broke the 40-shot mark, firing 45 on net in late October en route to a 3-2 win.But Saturday’s effort marked the sixth straight game in which the UW defense held its opponent to under 30 shots, something it didn’t do until the sixth game of the season.“There’s so much to cover in the beginning of the year,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said. “We put an emphasis on our penalty killing and our power play because of what was going on with the referees and the way they were going to call it. We took some time away from the defensive zone coverage, and now we’ve built up that time and guys have an understanding and they’ve had good repetitions at it.“We’re executing the way we need to to keep those shots down and ultimately keep the goals against down.”With the decrease in shots allowed, the defense has made Connelly’s job physically easier. That’s not to say, however, that it hasn’t taken a mental toll on the senior netminder.“I haven’t had the same workload that I’ve had before in previous weekends,” Connelly said. “But at the same time, these are tougher weekends when there’s not as many chances and the game’s tight. You need to be much more mentally sharp knowing the other guy’s not giving them up, so you’ve got to respond too and just give your team a chance to win the game.”When asked whether his performance improved as a result of the team’s newfound success, Connelly admitted the two go hand in hand.“I’m more positionally sound right now. I feel a lot more comfortable in the net,” he said. “At the same time, the team’s playing much better. We’re much more consistent. You can see the confidence grow back, especially with our defensemen.”The UW defense includes three freshmen, all of whom have seen their fair share of ice time so far this season. Only recently, however, has the young unit felt they have gotten on the same page.“We’re kind of settling in a little bit,” said freshman Jake Gardiner, who had two assists on the weekend. “We let a lot of goals in at the start of the season. It just wasn’t clicking for us. I think we’re coming around and playing as a team, playing hard and we’re getting better.”
Women’s Student Assembly hosted Master of Professional Writing program professor and author Janet Fitch on Wednesday night at the University Religious Center.Women’s Student Assembly is one of the nine assemblies of the Undergraduate Student Government Program Board.“WSA is a space to be myself, but also explore what it means to be who I am, because there are so many cultural messages about the way women should be,” said Chelsee Bergen, a board member of WSA. “It’s a space that I can process and build a community around people who are also interested in expressing themselves.”Wednesday’s event was the first time the WSA has hosted an author.Fitch studied history at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She won a student exchange program to Keele University in England where she decided on her 21st birthday that she wanted to write fiction.At the event, Fitch talked about and read passages from her novels, including a passage from her novel, White Oleander, which was featured on Oprah’s Book Club. Fitch described the 1999 novel, which was later turned into a movie, as a savage love story between a mother and a daughter. The novel is about a 12-year-old girl who must navigate the Los Angeles foster care system after her mother is convicted of killing her own boyfriend. Fitch said that the book was intended to be a coming-of-age story.“All stories are coming-of-age stories because you never really get there — finding the truth of life,” Fitch said. “You are always a beginner, always figuring out what sits well and what doesn’t sit well.”The novel’s protagonist moves from foster home to foster home and is told by different mothers how to live. Each of the houses she lives in is its own little world with its own truths and values. Ultimately, it becomes the protagonist’s responsibility to find out what she wants to believe and live by.“Looking at my own story, with every older woman who was interesting to me, I’d take a little something from,” Fitch said. “It’s like your own mother isn’t your only mother. They all give you examples of how you want to live.”Fitch interviewed girls in the foster care system who told her that the experience is like constantly auditioning for a part. According to Fitch, there is a relationship between this “auditioning” and the ways in which Americans live. Fitch believes that people aren’t given who they are; rather, they try different characteristics in developing their personalities.Fitch said that the idea for White Oleander came to her gradually.“It’s like you follow a little stream and you find another little stream that joins it and you follow a little further and something else joins it,” Fitch said of how she got the idea for White Oleander. “You start with a tiny little thing and other things that interest you join up. Then you have all these strands coming together.”She described her participation in a writer’s group as helpful to her creative process.“I was in a writer’s group where you picked a random word, usually very simple,” Fitch said. “And then you let that inspire you. You pick one idea and write two pages double-spaced. The word was ‘wind’ with White Oleander. I saw a full moon and a woman with white blonde hair on the roof of a building, and I wrote two pages double-spaced. It just started growing.”Students said it was interesting to get an inside look from an author’s perspective.“It was incredible because you read all the workings of her imagination without ever actually thinking about who wrote this, but you get to know these characters so personally and you feel so involved with them,” said Ashley Lukashevsky, a senior majoring in international relations and a fan of White Oleander. “So seeing her and meeting her and being able to speak with her about her thought process and inspirations — it’s an experience we are so lucky to have.”Fitch is currently in the process of finishing a historical novel about three schoolgirls during the Russian Revolution.“I’m interested in what it’s like to live in the repercussions of historical decisions,” Fitch said.