The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (11-18-1, 6-15-1-1 Big Ten) will battle the No. 9 ranked team in the country this weekend as the Arizona State University Sun Devils (22-9-3) march into the Kohl Center.
The Sun Devils are currently playing some of their best hockey of the season, riding a seven game win-streak in which they are averaging just under four goals per game. The team also ranks top 10 in all of Division 1 hockey with goalie winning percentage at 69% and scoring offense at 3.32 goals per game, giving the team a clear advantage over the Badgers.
The story has been very different for the Badgers this season. The team has averaged 3.03 goals per game, putting them tied for 20th in the country in this category. While that may seem close behind the Sun Devils, the Badgers do not have a record to show for their offensive efficiency. The Badgers have allowed 3.7 goals per game, the fourth worst in all of Division 1 hockey.
Goalkeeping has been an issue for the Badgers, allowing a total of 111 goals so far this season. Sophomore goalie Daniel Lebedeff has appeared in 23 games this season, with a win rate of just 39% and a save rate of 89%. In order to compete with the Sun Devils this weekend, the Badgers are going to need to step it up defensively.
The team had been offensively productive all season and hopes to continue that this weekend, especially from key offensive weapon Cole Caufield. Caufield’s productive freshmen year puts him at 11th in the nation with 0.6 goals per game. Caufield also leads the team with 32 points this season, followed by 23 from junior Wyatt Kalynuk. Kalynuk shares the team lead in assists with junior Linus Weissbach — both at 17 this season.
The Badgers will be playing their final home series of the season this weekend — a season that many Badger hockey fans are not happy about. The Badgers ended last season with 18 losses, a number that they have already reached this season with four games remaining.
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These two teams have not played each other in over four years, their last match dating back to the halloween weekend of 2015. In that series, the Badgers won the first game 5–1 and the second game by a score of 2–1, giving the Badgers the series sweep. The Badgers hope to continue this two game win streak against the Sun Devils this weekend.
Both games this weekend are set to begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be listened to on 1310 WIBA. These games can also be followed on the Men’s Hockey Twitter page, @BadgerMHockey.