Hockey Series of the Week: North Dakota vs. Wisconsin
The series to watch this week in college hockey is North Dakota taking a visit up to Wisconsin to play the Badgers.
This is a matchup of top ten teams, as North Dakota comes in ranked at No. 4 while Wisconsin is ranked No. 7.
North Dakota is 5-2-1 on the season as the Fighting Hawks are coming off back to back split series with Minnesota and Colorado College.
The Badgers are 6-3 this season and have won two of their last four games. Wisconsin split with both Northern Michigan and St. Lawrence.
It is interesting that both the Hawks and Badgers have been unable to get sweeps over opposing teams even though they have all been unranked opponents, while both North Dakota and Wisconsin come in ranked in the top ten.
The Fighting Hawks are one of the more balanced teams in the country, as their scoring is spread throughout the lineup. The offensive attack is led by Christian Wolanin, who leads the team with eight points and is also tied for first on the team with three goals.
Grant Mismash and Rhett Gardner are among some of the big contributors on the team, as they rank second and third on the team in scoring. Both Mismash and Gardner create several scoring opportunities a game for the Fighting Hawks.
The strength of this North Dakota team however, has been their goalie Cam Johnson. Johnson has been nothing short of spectacular this season. With a 92.5 percent save percentage and 1.63 GAA, Johnson is one of the best goalies in the country. Johnson has shown the ability to win games by himself.
The Badgers are led by a high scoring offense that averages 3.6 goals per game. Forwards Trent Frederic and Will Johnson are tied for the team lead with 10 points on the season. Frederic has been a top-notch goal scorer this season, tied for the team lead with 5.
Defenseman Peter Tischke has been a great piece for the Wisconsin defense. Tischke leads the team with 24 blocks and is second on the team with a plus/minus of +5. Tischke also shows his offensive touch as he leads all defensemen on the team with six points in this season.
Goaltender Kyle Hayton has been solid in goal this season. Hayton, allowing 2.46 GAA, has been good enough to allow the Badgers to win games with their offense.
An interesting matchup to watch in this series will be the North Dakota power play versus the Badger penalty kill. The Fighting Hawks have been 22.7 percent on the power play, while Wisconsin has been strong as they have killed 84.2 percent of opponent’s power plays.
Both teams have been extremely strong in the second period. North Dakota and Wisconsin both tend to put their opponents away in the second period of games this season. The Fighting Hawks have outscored their opponent 11-6 in the second period, while the Badgers outscore their opponent 15-8 in the second period.
This should be a great series to watch as two top ten teams face of in Madison, WI. These are two teams that could eventually matchup in the NCAA tournament. Look for two competitive and close games this weekend in a great series between North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.