After the Badgers bounced back with a weekend sweep at Alaska Anchorage, Wisconsin has its work cut out for them before its scheduled off week, as the Badgers return home to host Colorado College in a pivotal weekend series.
Currently, No.16 Wisconsin (12-9-3, 9-5-2 WCHA) sits in second place in the conference with 20 points while No.11 Colorado College (12-7-5, 8-6-2 WCHA) sits just two points behind in third.
"It's just another classic WCHA series," said senior goalie Shane Connelly. "CC is another good team and this is an opportunity for us to build our resume a little more. CC is ranked higher than us, so two wins would really help us out. They're chasing us for WCHA points and we have the opportunity to go up six. There are a lot of implications and we need to make sure that we come out playing better than last week."
While Wisconsin continues to dominant in conference play, going 9-1-1 over its last 11 league contests, the Badgers have a bone to pick with the Tigers. Since beating the Tigers 9-1 in January 2006, Wisconsin has lost six straight games to Colorado College, including all four meetings last year by a combined score of 15-5.
"We're focused on the now but everyone knows that Chad Rau scored four shorthanded goals against us," Connelly said. "I, personally, remember the highlights because I didn't feel I played my best against CC. I'm taking this weekend a little personal for me, but we're not taking it as a revenge standpoint because it is another year."
That Chad Rau, now a senior, is having one of his best seasons. A Toronto Maple Leaf draft pick, Rau has scored 11 goals and registered 17 assists in 24 games, scoring 1.17 points per game. Also back is sophomore goalie Richard Bachman, who is allowing 2.22 goals per game, saving 92.5 percent of his shots and has a career 95 percent save percentage against Wisconsin.
But while Colorado College has yet to find solid momentum in conference, registering only one sweep this season, Wisconsin got some of its lost momentum back by sweeping UAA, especially after a disastrous series the week before against Northern Michigan.
"Having to make the long travel trip, especially after the Northern Michigan series, and put together two games where we were able to get four big points and help us climb further over .500 was huge from a team standpoint," Connelly said. "For me, it was nice to respond and get two big wins. I fell comfortable enough where I can put a bad game behind me and make a lot of big saves."
Connelly, who gave up nine goals in the two-game series compared to six in the previous seven games, didn't get down on himself after the overtime loss to Northern Michigan, watching the film on Sunday and coming back to work on Monday. Although the team was collectively disappointing, Connelly and his teammates received their wake-up call, something they feel is going to propel them down the stretch.
"It was definitely a good wake up call for us to have," Connelly said. "We didn't want it to happen, but it forced us to focus in and make sure that we focus in on the details. College hockey is a crazy game. Anybody can beat anybody in 20 minutes. We just have to make sure that we stay on point."
No.11 Colorado College (12-7-5, 8-6-2 WCHA) vs. No.17 Wisconsin (12-9-3, 9-5-2 WCHA)
Date/Time - Friday-Saturday, Jan. 16-17 at 7/6 p.m. CT
Arena – Kohl Center (15,237) - 200' x 97'
Television - Friday - None; Saturday live on FSN Wisconsin and tape delayed at 10:30 p.m., on Wisconsin Public Television
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Brian Posick and Mike Cerniglia)
Series – Wisconsin leads 104-56-8 (54-26-4 in Madison)
Last Meeting – The Badgers fell 3-1 to the Tigers at the Kohl Center on Jan. 5, 2008.
This will mark the 169th and 170th meetings between the two schools and the only two meetings between UW and CC this regular season
UW leads the all-time series with CC by a 104-56-8 mark, the 104 victories for the Badgers are the most against any opponent
CC head coach Scott Owens spent the 1991–92 season as a UW assistant coach. A Madison, Wis., native spent six years as GM and coach of the USHL's Madison Capitols before his year at UW.
Wisconsin will finish the season with eight of its last 12 games at the Kohl Center. They also have two off weeks the rest of the season, including next week and the weekend of Feb. 13-14.
Junior assistant captain and defenseman Jamie McBain leads the nation's defensemen in scoring with 28 points in 24 games played. His current three consecutive multi-point games (1-6=7) match a similar streak he posted earlier in the season. McBain posted one goal and three assists last weekend at Alaska Anchorage to pace the Badgers in scoring.
In all games, McBain leads the WCHA with 23 assists, 22 power-play points, defensemen with 28 points and shares third among all players in scoring. In league contests, McBain leads all WCHA players with 22 points, 18 assists and 18 power-play points.
All 10 of Geoffrion's goals have come in WCHA games, which ranks third among league players. His 10 goals are tied with John Mitchell for the team lead and share seventh in the league among all players.
Wisconsin had a perfect penalty kill weekend at Alaska Anchorage last weekend, killing eight power plays last Friday and four more on Saturday for a 12-for-12 weekend. The Badgers rank third in the WCHA in all games with a 89.9 percent success rate (143-for-159) and second in league games with a 92.2 percent success rate (106-for-115). The UW's penalty kill ranks seventh in the country.
The Badgers were 3-for-12 on the power play last weekend at Alaska Anchorage to raise its league-leading power-play in conference games to 24.0 percent (24-for-100). The Badgers rank third in the WCHA in all games on the power play at 20.0 percent (31-for-155). That is tied for ninth in the nation.