Women’s hockey: Badgers hit the road for top-10 battle with conference rival North Dakota

first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s hockey team is coming off a very successful weekend, and, in what will be the third consecutive top-10 clash for the Badgers in just over a week, No. 9 North Dakota (10-6-2, 6-4-2 WCHA) is set to host No. 1 Wisconsin in a two-game series Friday and Saturday.Wisconsin made a statement last weekend with their victory against border rival No. 3 Minnesota.The Badgers swept the series for the first time in six years and held the Gophers, who have the highest scoring offense in the country, to only three goals in the whole series.Passing the halfway mark in the season after Nov. 4’s win, the Badgers are sitting atop the USCHO poll with a perfect record of 18-0-0.But if the top-ranked Badgers want to remain undefeated, they will have to put the celebrations after last weekend’s performance in the rear view window.They must do so quickly, as the hungry North Dakota team will be awaiting their arrival in Grand Forks this weekend.Recently, the Badgers have been dominant against UND, and Wisconsin is coming into this series having beaten North Dakota in their previous four matchups.But as the Badgers prepare, they may find themselves battling more than just their opponents on the ice this week.This series will be the last that the Badgers will play before taking their holiday break, and they will not return to the ice until January.Since the two-game road series falls between the an emotional, yet draining sweep over rival Minnesota and UW’s upcoming final exams week, managing off-the-rink distractions could prove key for success.These two programs last met during the WCHA conference tournament last season, where UW sent the Fighting Hawks packing after a decisive 4-1 victory.Even though this was only eight months ago, North Dakota has made significant changes since then. Come Friday, they will be returning with not only a new roster, but even a new mascot.One stellar matchup to look for this weekend is between North Dakota’s leading scorer, junior forward Amy Menke and Wisconsin’s star goaltender, Ann-Renée Desbiens.The first puck drops 7 p.m. Friday and then again 4 p.m. Saturday.last_img

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