Following a 3-2 win over Michigan Tech last Sunday, the Badgers have no time to waste before their Big Ten schedule gets underway. Due to the addition of Notre Dame to the conference, the schedule had to dip into October for early-season conference games.
The Badgers should head into the weekend with some confidence following their 1-0 start. While there were some first game struggles, like getting caught in a long change, leading to a Michigan Tech goal, there were a lot of positive takeaways from game one.
Of those positives to keep an eye on, Linus Weissbach jumps off the page. The Swedish freshman scored twice in his Badger debut. Weissbach showed off high levels of both speed and skill. Being on a line with Trent Frederic and Ryan Wagner should allow Weissbach to find some space on the ice, and it will be interesting to see how they perform in their first Big Ten matchup. Additionally, Will Johnson had a phenomenal start to the season. Look for Johnson to pressure Ohio State hard on the forecheck, creating scoring opportunities for his linemates.
Defensively, the three freshmen looked rather comfortable in their first taste of college hockey. Meanwhile, veterans Jake Linhart and Peter Tischke helped carry the load while easing the freshmen into the game. It will be interesting to see how the defensive core holds up this weekend.
In net, newcomer Kyle Hayton looked strong in his debut for the Badgers. Expect him to start at least one game this weekend, but don’t be surprised to see sophomore Jack Berry get a start too.
As for Ohio State, the enter the season ranked 19th in the country and 5th in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes did lose an exhibition game to Ryerson at home last week but I wouldn’t put too much weight on that. They are still a dangerous team to see this early in the season.
Game 1: Friday, October 6th, 7 P.M. at the Kohl Center
Game 2: Saturday, October 7th, 5P.M. at the Kohl Center