The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (10-13-1, 5-10-1-1 Big Ten) has a high stakes Big Ten battle ahead of them as they take on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-10-4, 5-5-4-3) in Madison this weekend at the Kohl Center. The Big Ten showdown will begin Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m. CT for game one and will conclude Saturday, Feb. 1 at 8:00 p.m. CT.

The Badgers look to bounce back after a loss to Notre Dame in South Bend last Saturday. The team continued their inconsistent play with another series split, their eighth split of the season in 11 total series.

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With four wins in their last 10 conference games, Wisconsin currently sits at the bottom of the Big Ten, but the team hopes to get back on track and finish the season strong.

The last time these two teams played was earlier this season in Minneapolis, where the Gophers took the first game by a score of 4–1. Badgers rallied to win the second game in a shootout after the score was 3–3 at the end of regulation. This series added yet another split to the Badgers’ resume this season.

The Gophers come into Madison riding a three game win streak as well as a dominant all time record against the Badgers (171-96-24). While the Gophers have relatively underperformed this season — especially after slow starts against Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan and Notre Dame — they will look to find a late season spark against the Badgers.

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Both teams play a schedule dominated by conference play for the remainder of the season, giving both teams significant opportunities to make large moves in the standings. This season, the Badgers are 7-5-0 at home, while the Gophers are 3-4-2 on the road, giving the Badgers a slight advantage heading into this weekend’s border battle at the Kohl Center.

With 16 goals through 24 games, including a hat trick last Friday in South Bend, freshman Cole Caufield looks to continue his offensive efficiency. Caufield also dominates the team in points with 26 this season, one of two Badgers with over 20 on the season including junior Wyatt Kalynuk. 

Along with Caufield, sophomore Roman Ahcan is the only other player on the team with double digit goals this season with 10 throughout the 23 games he has played in.

The Badgers need to begin their offensive efficiency early this weekend. The team is 8-3-1 when they score the first goal of the game this season and 2-10-0 when they do not. The Badgers are averaging 2.50 goals per game in conference play, while Minnesota averages 2.64, leaving these two teams almost statistically equivalent.

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The games this weekend can be streamed on FSW+ Friday and FSW Saturday. Both games will be broadcast live on 1310 WIBA. Both games can also be followed live on Twitter @BadgerMHockey.