Minnesota State University is going to have their work cut out for them this weekend as they welcome the No.1 women’s hockey team in the country — the University of Wisconsin.
The Badgers are killing this season, remaining undefeated through their non-conference schedule this season. Even though they started the season off at No.2, the grit and determination from this team has earned them the No.1 spot in the nation, taking it from rivals Minnesota.
Wisconsin has defeated some tough opponents this year like MercyHurst and Lindenwood, and they are prepared to begin their WCHA season up in Mankato. These two teams have a lot of history against one another, but in most of their series, Wisconsin has always managed to come out on top.
UW’s success this past month can really be factored down to three main areas: The underclassmen, Kristen Campbell, and Mark Johnson.
For starters, the UW underclassmen have been dominating this year, with a grand total of 17 goals out of the 22 goals Wisconsin has managed to tally this season. This is one of the strongest showings Wisconsin has ever gotten from a group of underclassmen in a while.
The second reason the Badgers have managed to start this season off so well is goaltender Kristen Campbell. After the loss of Ann-Renee Desbiens in 2017, the goaltending position was surrounded by an air of uncertainty, and whoever would wind up filling this spot was going to have some massive skates to fill.
In comes Campbell, who transferred from the University of North Dakota after they cancelled their women’s hockey in March 2017. Campbell has only allowed four goals this season, and her impressive performance against Syracuse last weekend earned her the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honor.
And finally, the reason that Wisconsin will always be a solid hockey team is none other than their head coach, Mark Johnson. It seems as though you can throw any problem at Johnson and his team, and this head coach always has a way to fix the problem.
With a large part of this year’s team being underclassmen, many coaches would think that Wisconsin would falter early on in the season, but that would never happen under Johnson’s reign. Johnson has managed to put together productive lines and recruit the best players in women’s hockey to ensure that Wisconsin fans will always have a great hockey team to support.
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These three things are going to make it a challenge for Minnesota State to earn a win this weekend. Minnesota State is currently on a two-loss streak right now, and they are going to have to turn things around quickly if they don’t want to double that number by the end of Saturday.
The Badgers and the Mavericks will face off Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.