Wednesday was the 37th anniversary of the 1980 Miracle on Ice. The 1980 U.S. Olympic Team achieved arguably the greatest sports upset of all time when they defeated the Soviet Union 4-3. Two of the American goals in that game came of the stick of none other than Mark Johnson, or, as he is better known in Madison, the Wisconsin women’s hockey coach.
This weekend, Johnson starts his quest for another championship. But this time his team isn’t the underdogs. The Badgers head into the Western College Hockey Association (WCHA) playoffs as the unanimous number one team in the country, according to the uscho.com poll. The opponent this weekend is Minnesota State and they shouldn’t pose a serious threat to the Badgers. With an overall record of 7-24-4, Minnesota State are the bottom-dwellers of the WCHA conference.
The threats in the conference tournament lie with the number two team in the country, Minnesota-Duluth, and the number four team, Minnesota. Just last weekend, Wisconsin and Minnesota played two shootout games in Minneapolis with the Badgers winning Saturday and the Gophers Sunday. The week prior to that, Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth played to a Badger shootout win on Saturday before the Badgers dismantled the Bulldogs 8-0. Those Minnesota powers look to be Wisconsin’s main threat in both the WCHA and national tournament.
Mark Johnson is looking to add to his resume with a few more trophies this year and he has the talent to do it. Wisconsin has been ranked number one every week this year, and the championships are within reach.
Game 1: Friday 7PM @ Labahn Arena
Game 2: Saturday 4PM @ Labahn Arena
Game 3: Sunday 3PM @ Labahn Arena *If necessary