It is Border Battle week for the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team, who is preparing to take on rival Minnesota at Ridder Arena.
The No.1 Badgers (10-0-0, 4-0 WCHA) have started the season off with a bang, remaining undefeated after 10 intense games. While some might not have expected this much success from this young program this year, the Badgers have made all a case for why they are still the strongest team in the NCAA.
Wisconsin started the season off with many people doubting how successful the team would manage to be, especially with a lot of Wisconsin’s toughest goal scorers and star goaltender absent from the 2017 roster.
With a team comprised of a majority of underclassmen, UW knew they would have to put up an impressive performance during their first few weeks of the season to prove all of the nay-sayers wrong. It would be their performance during the first few weeks of the season that would help UW snag the No.1 spot of the USCHO weekly polls.
Wisconsin and Minnesota have a large history together, and it doesn’t tend to reflect too well on Wisconsin. It has been seven years since the last time that the Badgers managed to get a win at Ridder Arena, and it has been 10 years since the Badgers have managed to sweep the Gophers on their turf.
One surprising factor going into this weekend is how rocky Minnesota (5-2-1, 4-1-1 WCHA) started their season off. Originally, the seven-time national champions were slated as the No.1 team in the nation, but following some upsetting losses to Merrimack and Ohio State earlier in the season, the Gophers almost fell out of the top ten in all of the polls.
Now No.6 overall, the Gophers are slowly trying to climb their way back up the rankings, and handing the No.1 team their first loss of the season would be a good way to do it. There is so much for Minnesota to gain this season from a Wisconsin loss, and they know it.
Minnesota’s defense used to make them Wisconsin’s toughest competitor in the regular season, as Minnesota has always had one of the best defenses in the WCHA. However, many of the most talented defenders graduated in 2017, and the younger members of the team have been struggling to fill in the shoes their former teammates left behind.
Wisconsin and Minnesota hit the ice Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m., and the Border Battle will be broadcasted on BTN Plus and can also be listened to on 100.9 FM.