There comes a time in every team’s season called the breaking point. For the Wisconsin men’s hockey team, this weekend is that moment.
Already in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament due to a stellar regular season that gave them a first-round bye, the No. 18 Badgers take on the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes for the third-straight game at 3:30 p.m. CT today. With Wisconsin firmly on the bubble for an at-large bid to the tournament, the feel around the team is one of hope and confidence.
“We are gonna walk into the Joe Louis arena,” said head coach Tony Granato, “and know we have to get a win on Friday and on Saturday to get a bid.” Considering the Badgers’ past performances against the Buckeyes, this sentiment may be easier said than done.
Last weekend, as some may remember, Wisconsin hosted Ohio State at the Kohl Center for the last series of the regular season. The results were not promising, as the Badgers dropped both of the games 1-5 and 1-3, respectively.
However, as many college sports fans may have noticed during the month of March, anything can happen. The Badgers have proven their underrated strength constantly throughout this unprecedented campaign, and have even swept the very same Ohio State team earlier in the year.
Everyone knows that March can be a special time to be a Wisconsin fan. However, for the past few years, it has been the hardwood that has gotten the glory. Don’t be surprised if the ice starts to shine for the first time since 2014.
At 3:30pm this afternoon, the Badgers will be potentially playing for their season. When asked at a teleconference earlier in the week what his mindset was going into the game, Coach Granato ensured the fans that although he recognized the magnitude of the opportunity, he doesn’t “think it’s anything different than any other big game. We have prepared all year and given ourselves the opportunity to go in as a number two seed.”
As the puck drops at the Joe Louis Arena, everyone can catch the action on the Big Ten Network, or on the radio at WIBA-AM 1310.