This Saturday at Labahn Arena, the No. 1 University of Wisconsin Women’s hockey team (32-4-2, 18-4-2 WCHA) will face off against the Syracuse University Orange (13-21-3, 10-8-2 CHA) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.

Wisconsin is coming off their underdog victory in the WCHA conference championship versus the Minnesota Gophers and will look to continue their success against a team they’ve dominated during the regular season as they find themselves back on top in national rankings.

While the Badgers have only faced off against Syracuse in one series during the regular season, the scores of that series paint a dominating picture.

In each game of the two-game series, the Badgers held the Orange to just one goal per game and scored a total of 15 goals.

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Yet in order to continue their season, the Badgers will still have to close out against a team that has experienced the atmosphere of Labahn Arena once already this season.

“For Syracuse, they are going to be familiar with our surroundings. From our standpoint, it’s about continuing what we’ve done the last couple of weeks,” Head Coach Mark Johnson said during a press conference.

Wisconsin is undoubtedly the favorite on paper in this matchup despite the fact that Syracuse was successful enough to be included among the arguably best eight teams in the nation.

Nonetheless, Wisconsin will have to execute to the best of their abilities to secure repeat victories against a team who will play with high energy from the beginning.

Compounding on the necessary caution the Badgers must exercise, Syracuse has been successful against opponents who have challenged Wisconsin earlier in the season.

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Syracuse is undefeated in five games against the Lindenwood Lions, a team who was a last-minute goal away from defeating the Badgers earlier this season. Furthermore, Syracuse split a series with Princeton, a team that was also one goal away from defeating the Badgers.

No matter what the scoreline has been between these two teams, the Badgers will have to continue their streak of expert execution and strong closing play if they to ensure the Orange do not put an early end to a promising postseason run.

The Badgers have enjoyed high scoring from a massive swath of their roster throughout the WCHA Tournament. Look for them to continue this pattern with contributions from Freshmen Britta Curl, Sophie Shirley and Senior leader Annie Pankowski.

If the Badgers were to defeat Syracuse, they will face the winner of No. 4 seed Clarkson vs. Boston College in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.