The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team kicks off their first home game of the 2016-17 season against the Ohio State University Buckeyes Friday night at 6 p.m.
The Badgers (2-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) have already started the season off with a bang, earning a weekend sweep over St. Cloud State University (0-2-0, 0-2-0 WCHA) during their opening weekend of play. The Badgers outscored the Huskies 6-0 in the first game of the season, and solidified the series sweep with a 4-2 win the second night.
The Buckeyes (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) are also off to a great start to their season, with sophomore starting goaltender Kassidy Sauve earning the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Defensive Player of the Week. Sauve earned this honor after allowing only one of 67 shot attempts to hit the back of her net (.985 save percentage) in OSU’s opening weekend.
The Badgers have had a resoundingly successful record against the Buckeyes as of late, winning all four matchups of the 2015-16 season. In fact, the last time the Badgers lost to Ohio State was during the 2014-15 regular season, when UW fell 3-4 in its final meeting of the year with the Buckeyes.
This game will give Wisconsin fans a chance to see all eight of the freshman players in action for the first time this year, along with the opportunity to see a healthy Maddie Rolfes take the ice again. The junior defenseman was injured early in the 2015-16 season, having only played in the first ten games of the season.
The No. 1 ranked Badgers team won’t be at home for long though, given that the team will have to spend the rest of October on the road. This weekend will be one of only four that Wisconsin will spend at home over the entire course of the first half of their 2016-17 season.
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The Badgers will have a quick turn-around between games this weekend too, with game one starting at 7 p.m. Friday night and the second slated for 1 p.m. the next day. With such a quick turn-around, Wisconsin will need to be at the top of its game in the early moments of Saturday’s battle to ensure a successful weekend.
This weekend’s showdown in Madison should be interesting, after both teams showed their teeth to combine for 16 points scored in the opening week of play. With that kind of spectacular start to the season, there is no doubt both teams will create quality scoring opportunities.