Men’s Hockey: Border Battle Series Preview

 

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The Matchup: No. 18 Wisconsin vs. No. 2 Minnesota

When: Friday 7 p.m. (CT) and Sunday 3:30 p.m. (CT)

Where: Madison, WI – Kohl Center (15,359)/ Chicago, Ill – Soldier Field (61,500- for football)

Ice Sheet: Kohl Center  200' x 97'/ Soldier Field 200’ x 85’

TV: Friday- Fox Sports North/ Sunday Big Ten Network

Radio: WIBA – 1310

All-Time Series: Minnesota leads 156-87-21

Last Meeting: Minnesota 3, Wisconsin 1 (Nov. 15, 2012). – A shorthanded goal from Ryan Little gave the Badgers a 1-0 first period lead, but the well eventually ran dry for UW. Joel Rumpel made 21 saves.

The Badgers renew the oldest rivalry in program history as they square off with Minnesota for the 265th and 266th times. The rivalry picks up a new twist as the Badgers and Gophers will tangle at Soldier Field as part of the Office Max Hockey City Classic on Sunday afternoon,

 

About Minnesota:

Record: 19-5-4 (11-5-4 WCHA)

Head Coach: Don Lucia (14th season)

Notable: The Gophers are 5-4-3 at the Kohl Center since the start of the 2006-07 season.

 

Statistics:

Points: Erik Haula – 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists)

Goals: Nick Bjugstad – 15 goals

Assists: Haula- 22 assists

Save %: Adam Wilcox – .921

GAA: Wilcox – 1.80 GAA

 

About Wisconsin:

Record: (12-9-7, 9-6-7 WCHA)

Head Coach: Mike Eaves (11th season)

Notable: The Badgers boast six Minnesota natives on its roster including: Tyler Barnes, Kevin Schulze, Spencer Bell, Joe Faust, Eddie Wittchow, and Joseph LaBate.

 

Statistics:

Points: Michael Mersch – 23 points (16 goals, 7 assists)

Goals: Mersch – 16 goals

Assists: Derek Lee – 17 assists

Save %: Joel Rumpel – .930

GAA: Joel Rumpel – 1.85 GAA

 

Quick analysis: After getting off to a miserable start in the beginning of the season, the Badgers have worked their way back into the thick of things in the WCHA race. Friday’s matchup will mark the first of six straight games where UW will face off with an opponent that is currently ahead of them in the league standings.

If the Cardinal and White are going to complete the improbable comeback, it must start with a solid showing against the Gophers this weekend.

No doubt that this a very different Wisconsin squad than the one that traveled to the twin cities in the early part of the campaign. Unfortunately, by and large, this is the same Gophers club.

Though they sit third in the WCHA standings the Gophers have one of the most impressive resumes in college hockey. They have several wins in-hand over some of the top teams in the nation including: No. 4 Boston College and No. 12 Notre Dame.

The Gophers come into the series with some respectable offensive numbers. They average 3.8 goals per game and over 33 shots per contest.

The key for the Badgers will be keeping it close. Minnesota is extremely capable of going on a scoring binge at any time. UW has proven time and again that they are not a squad that is suited for track meets.

 

Prediction: Friday- Minnesota 4, Wisconsin 2. Sunday- Wisconsin 2, Minnesota 2. 

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