Sconnie Sports Talk

Wisconsin men’s hockey: Badgers host #6 Michigan this weekend


The Wisconsin men’s hockey team will host Big Ten rival Michigan this Friday and Saturday night at 7:00 PM in a “White Out Weekend” at the Kohl Center.

After sweeping Alaska in a non-conference series January 30th and 31st, the Badgers return from a bye week rested and ready to play.

Head coach Mike Eaves recognized Michigan’s talent in his Monday afternoon press conference. When asked if it was possible to simulate the talent of Michigan’s first line, Eaves said no, but that his team has been practicing at a high level to prepare for this weekend’s series.

“This group this year can certainly simulate better than last year’s group in terms of some of the talent,” Eaves said. “But length and range of their [Michigan’s] guys, it would be tough to do, but in terms of the pace and how we practiced…we did a good job of that.”

Michigan ranks #1 in the Big Ten with a 17-4-4 record. Wisconsin, on the other hand, ranks sixth with a 6-12-6 record.

The last time the two teams met in early December, the series ended with a loss and a tie, yet both teams put up a significant amount of points (10-12).

“I would like the trend for us to continue to score against them and to hold them back a little bit,” Eaves said reflecting on the prior matchup between the two teams. “We flirted with winning both those games there.”

Eaves continued to discuss this flirtation with victory that the Badgers have displayed throughout the season.

“One of the things we talked about is we have flirted with beating a lot of good teams,” Eaves said. “And that flirtation has got to end, and we’ve got to get over the hump.”

Following the bye week, the Badgers go into this weekend’s series relatively healthy, according to Eaves.

Eaves announced that sophomore Corbin McGuire, who played his first game against Alaska two weeks prior, will continue to play defense in this upcoming series. Assistant coach Luke Strand was particularly impressed with McGuire following the Alaska series.

According to Andy Baggot of, Strand said, “I thought he [McGuire] did a nice job. I like the fact that he gave us a little jolt.”

Of McGuire, Eaves said, “He continues to take reps in practice, and for him, he just plays hockey. Whether he’s forward or defenceman, he’s doing the right things in the positions that he’s in.”

Eaves stressed the importance of the defense stepping up and having a big game this weekend. One of the big things Eaves wants his defense to work on this weekend is improving the line rush.

In his Monday press conference, Eaves explained, “It’s funny, last night, everybody watched the Super Bowl, and offense wins games, but defense wins championships, and if we can tighten that up and continue to get better at that, that’s going to serve us well as we go down the stretch.”

Of his strategy for this weekend’s series, Coach Eaves used a quote from another “legendary” Badgers coach, former Badger football head coach Bret Bielema.

“I firmly believe that our focus is on Friday night,” Eaves said. “Our goal is to be 1-0. And then when that’s done we put that aside, and we’ve got to get into Saturday and be 1-0. I believe, and I think our young men believe, if we play the way we are capable of, and we continue to improve as we have been, we give ourselves a chance to be successful.”