The Wisconsin men’s hockey team takes on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota this weekend at the Kohl Center in the latest installment of one of college hockey’s most storied rivalries.
The “Border Battle” will look slightly different from the past, with Minnesota sitting at No. 7 in the nation according to the USCHO, and the Badgers nowhere to be found. Although that is true, with a 10-7-1 record, the Badgers were one of seven teams outside of the top 25 that did receive votes to be included in the list.
Although Minnesota would appear to be the favorite to the average onlooker, head Coach Tony Granato says the team is remaining optimistic. “It is important for us not to get wound up at practice,” Granato said. “But yes, I am excited.”
Granato also noted the importance of special teams during this weekend rivalry matchup by expressing that Minnesota is notably “a team with a lot of one-on-one skill, and their power play is great.” Given the noticeable increase in the amount of penalties called this year throughout the entirety of college hockey, special teams are sure to be essential for the Badgers if they are to pull off an upset this weekend against the Gophers.
With the return of sophomore goaltender Matt Jurusik from injury, the Badgers have an interesting dilemma that many teams would envy. Given freshman Jack Berry’s play between the pipes while Jurusik was out, Tony Granato and the coaching staff will have a tough decision in who gets the nod when the puck drops on Friday night. Although they will need to choose just one of the two, Granato subsequently mentioned that “it is possible that they will both play this weekend.”
The puck drops at 7 p.m. CT at the Kohl Center this Friday, and again at the same time on Saturday between two of the most historically successful programs in all of college hockey.