The Matchup: Wisconsin at # 5 Denver
When: Friday Nov. 30 & Saturday Dec. 1 9/8 p.m. CT
Where: Magness Arena (6,026)
Ice Sheet: 200' x 85’
TV: Friday – NBC Sports Network, Saturday – None
All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads 75-59-11
Last Series Meeting: Denver 3, Wisconsin 2 (OT)- The Pioneers eliminated the Badgers in the third game of the three-game WCHA first round series in Denver.
The two teams will meet for the final time in the regular season as members of the WCHA. This weekend marks the 146th and 147th times the two schools have faced one another.
…. more after the jump ….
About the Pioneers:
Record: 9-3-0(7-1-0 WCHA, 14 points, 1st place)
Head Coach: George Gwozdecky (19th season,407-242-55)
Notable: Denver head coach George Gwozdecky was a teammate of Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves on the UW squad that won the 1977 NCAA Championship. DU assistant coach Steve Miller and forward Garrett Allen are both Wisconsin natives.
Points: Nick Shore – 17pts (6 goals, 11 assists)
Goals: Chris Knowlton – 8 goals
Assists: Nick Shore- 11 assists
Save Pct: Adam Murray – .935
GAA: Adam Murray – 2.00gaa
About the Badgers:
Record: 1-7-2 (1-5-2 WCHA, 4 points, T-10th place)
Head Coach: Mike Eaves – 11th season (210-163-46 overall & at Wisconsin)
Notable: The Badgers are 1-5-1 in the last seven games that have been played in Denver during this series.
Points: Michael Mersch & Derek Lee – 8 points
Goals: Michael Mersch – 8 goals
Assists: Derek Lee – 8 assists
Save Pct: Landon Peterson – .920
GAA: Landon Peterson – 2.42gaa
Though their records may be on the opposite end of the spectrum, last weekend did not go to plan for either squad.
Denver was swept by Yale in a non-conference series.
The Badgers dropped a pair of games to conference foe Minnesota State-Mankato last weekend.
Friday will mark the much anticipated debut of highly-touted freshman forward Nic Kerdiles who was suspended by the NCAA for the first half of the season. Though it may not happen instantly, Kerdiles should be able to provide a much needed spark on a top line that is without center Mark Zengerle.
Michael Mersch has shouldered the load offensively for the Badgers and while his effort has been admirable, this Wisconsin team will be in trouble if they continue to rely on just one player for almost half of the total offensive output.
The Pioneers are the other side of the coin offensively, averaging well over four goals per contest. Wisconsin, averages less than two scores per contest through its first 10 games.
If the Badgers are to have success, they must keep the Denver scoring attack in check. If any of the games this weekend turn into a track meet, there is simply no way Wisconsin can keep up.
Prediction: Denver sweeps – 5-3 on Friday, 4-1 on Saturday