The Matchup: No. 19 Wisconsin at No. 7/8 North Dakota
When: Friday Feb. 1 (7:30 p.m. CT) & Saturday Jan. 19 (7 p.m. CT)
Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,634)- Grand Forks, ND.
Ice Sheet: 200' x 85'
TV: Fox College Sports
All-Time Series: UW leads 86-64-11
Last Meeting: UND 4, UW 2 (Jan. 28, 2012)- Michael Mersch collected two late goals, but it wasn’t enough as the Badgers were swept by North Dakota in Grand Forks for the first time in 10 years.
About North Dakota:
Record: 13-8-5 (8-5-5 WCHA)
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (142-83-25, 9th season)
Notable: UND will be moving to the Northern Collegiate Hockey Conference next season.
Points: Corban Knight – 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists)
Goals: Danny Kristo – 15 goals
Assists: Knight – 23 assists
Save Pct.: Clarke Saunders- .941
GAA: Saunders – 2.34 GAA
About the Badgers:
Record: 11-8-5 (8-5-5 WCHA)
Head Coach: Mike Eaves, 11th season (220-162-49)
Notable: UW is 16-16-2 all-time against UND under the guidance of Mike Eaves.
Points: Michael Mersch – 21 points (15 goals, 6 assists)
Goals: Mersch – 15 goals
Assists: Derek Lee – 16 assists
Save Pct.: Landon Peterson – .934 save pct.
GAA: Landon Peterson – 1.83 GAA
Quick Analysis: UW and UND are comparable offensively.
Both teams are fairly top heavy when it comes to offensive production. Michael Mersch is only Badger with a double-digit goal total. Heck, he’s one of only two players on the roster with more than four goals. Tyler Barnes (six goals) is the other.
UND has more of a tandem approach. Corban Knight and Danny Kristo are, far and away, the most productive players on the front end. The two have combined for 27 goals and 41 assists this season. But, let’s not discredit the rest of the roster. UND has plenty of other offensive threats that can step up when called upon.
The Badgers hold the edge in the netminding department, but the numbers that Clarke Saunders has put up are nothing to scoff at.
North Dakota has the ability to turn these games into track meets. If they can do that, UW stands little to no chance.
Wisconsin must be physical on the smaller sheet of ice, continue to play stout defense, and minimize shot opportunities. Those keys’ coupled with consistent goaltending can help keep the Badgers in this series.
Prediction: Friday – Wisconsin 3, UND 2; Saturday – UND 4, Wisconsin 2