The Wisconsin women’s hockey team (16-0-0, 10-0 WCHA) is gearing up to host rival No. 3 Minnesota (15-1-0, 11-1 WCHA) this weekend in a fierce top-five showdown in Madison.When the puck drops in this seasoned rivalry, the numbers on paper signifying rank will mean nothing, but the ones on the scoreboard as the buzzer sounds will mean everything.“These are the weekends that you put in all of the extra work over the summer, the extra reps in the weight room, the extra skating,” Mark Johnson, UW head coach, said. “These are the fun weekends where you get to go out and showcase yourself against a real top opponent.”If there is one team that the Badgers should consider a “real top opponent,” it is without a doubt Minnesota. In the past five seasons, Wisconsin has suffered a total record of (4-17-3) against their border rivals.UW has fallen to the Gophers in their previous 14 consecutive meetings, a stretch spanning over three seasons that also includes two Frozen Four losses and one national championship stumble.As hard as it may be to dwell on the recent past in this rivalry, the Badgers can gain from studying which key areas need improvement.“What’s happened in the past you try to learn from and build from,” Johnson said.When it comes to playing quality opponents, Johnson emphasized the importance of executing the little things with precision and staying focused mentally.“We need to be more concerned about us than them, and coming out and playing up to our potential,” Johnson said.So far this season, the Badgers have cruised their way to 16 wins, recording 11 shutouts and an astounding goal differential of plus-73. However, they have yet to face a team like Minnesota this season, and there is no doubt the atmosphere at LaBahn Arena will escalate with a team like the Gophers in town.“I can’t wait until Friday night,” Johnson said.The Badgers are set to clash with Minnesota at the LaBahn Arena in Madison Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a rematch Saturday at 3 p.m.
Women’s hockey: No. 1 Badgers kick off home schedule against Buckeyes
Wisconsin ready for Northwestern quarterback duo