The Wisconsin Badgers hockey team (17-9-2) is inviting the Michigan State Spartans (9-13-7) to the Kohl Center on both Friday and Saturday. Wisconsin is looking to build off of its momentum of winning three of its last four; including a sweep of the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Badgers sit in second place (25 points) in the Big 10, while Sparty (19 points) finds itself in fifth place. Although, MSU could move into third place with a big weekend in Madison. But Bucky isn’t looking to let them do that so easily. Wisconsin still has a fighters chance at catching Minnesota in the standings (32 points).
Michigan State is coming to the Kohl Center fresh off a split with Penn State in Happy Valley. The Spartan’s top scorer is senior Greg Wolfe, who has 22 points on the year (0.76 points-per-game). Junior Jake McCabe, and the rest of the Badgers’ defense, will look to slow Wolfe down early — forcing the Spartans to play from behind.
But in order to play with the lead the Badgers will have to score.
For that, Wisconsin will look no further than sophomore LW Nic Kerdiles, who leads the team in points-per-game at an impressive clip of 1.11. The Badgers won’t fret if Kerdiles doesn’t get going early though as senior Mark Zengerie, senior Michael Mersch and senior Tyler Barnes have all been scoring with ease for most of the year.
Zengerie had both Badgers’ goals in their last win; which was over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Mersch had a stretch earlier in the year, from Nov. 30-Dec. 27, where he notched a goal in each game (6). Barnes had a similar stretch, from Dec. 14-Jan. 4, where he reached the back of the net in each game (5).
This is the Badgers’ third-to-last series before the Big 10 Tournament; which begins on Mar. 20, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their physical play as of late has posed problems for many teams, not to mention junior goalie Joe Rumpel’s fantastic play hasn’t let up all season.
Here’s to a good weekend of Wisconsin hockey. The Kohl Center will be rocking while the Badgers’ attempt to send the Spartans home without a point, while creeping ever closer to the first place Gophers.
Get pumped for the series by watching a video of the country’s best college hockey student section:
Friday’s Game is at 8:00 PM CT, Saturday’s Game is at 4:00 PM CT, get your tickets while you still can.