The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team is beginning their regular season this weekend as they welcome non-conference foe Lindenwood to LaBahn arena.
While the Badgers might already have a game under their belt this season, after they welcomed the South Korean Olympic team to Madison for an exhibition match, but now the Badgers will begin to make waves in their regular season. After making it to the Frozen Four final last year, Wisconsin enters this season ranked No.2 in the WCHA coaches poll earlier this month.
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Skeptics are assuming that since Wisconsin lost its top goaltender, and will be without four of their top scorers this year, the team will most likely suffer. The same poll stated that coaches in the WCHA expect Minnesota to win the WCHA title this year, which has been held by Wisconsin for the past three years.
Of course, this criticism is founded, and many in Wisconsin are wondering how the Badgers will get along this year without seniors Annie Pankowski and Emily Clark. They still have sophomore Abby Roque, who was fifth overall in scoring last year for the Badgers, to lead them through this season.
Wisconsin also showed strength during their exhibition game against South Korea, in which the Badgers managed to defeat their opponents in a spectacular fashion 8-0. Six different players managed to score for Wisconsin that night, showing that the UW has a plethora of talent on their bench that is capable of getting the Badgers on the board when need be.
Wisconsin also has one of the greatest assets in the WCHA in head coach Mark Johnson, who has always managed to produce a solid team even during tough Olympic years. During the 2013-2014 season, Johnson still managed to coach a team that finished with a 29-8-2 record overall and would wind up making it to the Frozen Four tournament that same year.
Fans should not be worried as the Badgers are in more than capable hands with Johnson at the helm. Johnson was thinking years in advance when he was recruiting the last two years and has managed to pull in excellent goaltenders like Nikki Cece and Kristen Campbell along with fantastic players like Abby Roque, Presley Norby and MeKenzie Steffen.
While Wisconsin might be a young team, they are more than capable of doing great things this season, and that all begins with Lindenwood this weekend. The weekend begins on Friday at 7 p.m, with play between the two teams concluding Saturday at 3 p.m.