Following the sweep of Notre Dame two weekends ago, the No. 14 University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (2-2-0-1, 2-2-0-1 Big Ten) had their turn at getting swept, falling to the No. 6 University of Michigan Wolverines(4-0-0, 2-0-0-0) in back-to-back games, 5–2 and 2–1(OT).
Though the Badgers squad dropped two straight to an electric Michigan team, there were some bright spots.
Following the series, sophomore Cole Caufield now has an assist in every game of the season so far. Another great Badgers passer, senior Tarek Baker, posted his third straight game with an assist.
The Badgers also have the third-best power-play offense in the conference (4-for-14, 28.6%), along with the fifth-best penalty kill in the conference (7-for-10, 70%).
Next up, the Badgers host the No. 15 Penn State Nittany Lions (0-2-0, 0-2-0) at LaBahn Arena. The Nittany Lions have the all-time series lead 20-13-3, but are just 7-7-2 in Madison. This week’s matchups are the 37th and 38th games between the two, the most times Penn State has played a team in its eight years as a Division I team.
Lately, Penn State has had their way with the Badgers. Over the past four contests, Penn State has outscored Wisconsin 16–9, posting a 3-1-0 record against the Badgers in that time frame.
Dating further back, from 2014-18, Penn State has dominated against the Badgers, taking the series 13-3-2.
Penn State senior Alex Limoges seems to have the Badgers’ number, scoring 20 career points in 15 career games against the Badgers (7 goals, 13 assists). Badgers hockey fans may be familiar with Limoges, who was a nightmare in the 2019 playoffs, scoring five goals and two assists in the three-game series.
Limoges isn’t the only Nittany Lion who the Badgers will have to look out for this week. Junior Paul DeNaples and senior Sam Sternschein have a combined 14 points in 25 career games.
The Badgers will need to keep leaning on graduate transfer goalie Robbie Beydoun, who has a 0.929 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average in the four games that Beydoun has played this season.
It remains to be seen how the Badgers plan on effectively dealing with the loss of Dylan Holloway to Team Canada for the first half of the season. Holloway proved to be a big loss to the Badgers offense, who failed to put on much of an offensive display against the Wolverines. Michigan outshot the Badgers 34 to 28 Thursday and 36 to 23 Friday.
The two Big Ten rivals will faceoff on the Big Ten Network at 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday night.