With a 10-game winning streak behind them, the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team heads out to face the Bemidji State University Beavers this weekend.
The Badgers (24-2-1-0, 19-2-1-0 WCHA) have been on a roll lately, holding the No. 1 spot both in the WCHA and in the NCAA for an impressive 15 weeks. They have faced challenging opponents, and many challenges along the way, yet Wisconsin still managed to stay on top.
With this being their first road game in over a month, UW is using their series against Bemidji (9-14-3, 5-14-3 WCHA) to gauge what their competition is going to be like in the WCHA championship.
The games – which happen March 3 and 4 in Minneapolis – will be a crucial away series for the Badgers, and they’re using every away game that they can to see what needs to be improved before then.
Of course, it’s reasonable to assume that the Badgers will still be without senior defensemen Mellissa Channell, who sustained an injury two weeks ago against the University of North Dakota. With defensive pairs changing in less than a week, Wisconsin is still on some unfamiliar ground, but the Badgers handled the missing defender well.
With four defenders scoring last weekend against Minnesota State University, Mankato, the new defensive lines seem to be settling in well, and with junior forwards Annie Pankowski and Emily Clark continuing to have one successful game after another, the Beavers are going to have quite the challenge this weekend.
With an average of 2.55 goals allowed per game, and five goals allowed in their last meeting, Bemidji’s goaltender Brittni Mowat was actually pulled from net due to her lack-luster performance against the Badgers. Her replacement Erin Deters, who had only played in one game this season prior to this, allowed six Badger goals to slide past her.
The Beavers have been struggling with goal-tending inconsistencies, and it is something that the Badgers have managed to capitalize on the last time these two teams met. The fact that Bemidji has home-field advantage might sway the results a little bit, but the odds are this will be a successful weekend for Wisconsin.
After this weekend’s series, the Badgers come back home to take on No. 2 University of Minnesota, Duluth in their final home game of the regular season. With the WCHA playoffs looming around the corner, each and every game counts for this team.
The puck drops between these two teams at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and fans can listen to the games on Beaver radio.