Men’s hockey looks to batter the Badgers

Photo by Nick Nelson/The Dakota Student. UND forward Brock Boeser after a faceoff against Bemidji.

No. 1 ranked UND takes on old rival and WCHA foe Wisconsin in a series this weekend at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Games against the Badgers used to be a commonplace event. Now that they have opted to go with the University of Minnesota to the Big Ten Conference, the amount of times these former foes have matched up has been reduced.

Last season, UND swept the Badgers in two games in Madison, Wis. The Badgers had one of their worst seasons in history, going 4-27-5. This season is going better for the Badgers, as they have won two games so far this season, already netting half of the wins they got all last season.

For the Green and White, the season has had many changes from last year for UND. First and foremost, the team lost coach Dave Hakstol to the Philadelphia Flyers, and Hobey Baker finalists as well as Mike Richter Award winning goalie Zane McIntyre.

What is similar to last season is UND comes into this matchup on a roll. UND has a 6-0-2 record so far this season after sweeping Colorado College in Colorado Springs last weekend in a commanding fashion, with a 5-2 and then a 2-0 victory.

“It wasn’t our sharpest weekend as a team, but I thought it was a weekend where we grew a little as a team on the road,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “We took a bunch of penalties and again we came through it, but we’ve got to learn from that.”

Wisconsin comes in unranked but swept the upstart Arizona State Sun Devils last weekend. The team has struggled this season and turning that trend around at Ralph Engelstad Arena this weekend will be extremely challenging.

While goalies Cam Johnson and Matej Tomek try to get back on the ice, junior walk-on Matt Hrynkiw has done an excellent job filling in. He has yet to give up more than two goals in game and ranks second in the NCHC in save percentage as well as goals allowed per game percentage.

Offensively, freshman Brock Boeser has shined on the UND offense. He has scored five goals and is currently tied for second on the team in points, only behind the offensively gifted Drake Caggiula.

The Green and White has been very successful in the past against Wisconsin. They are 6-2-1 against the team since 2011, with UND knocking the Badgers out of the                                     NCAA Tournament in the                 2013-14 season.

Game times for the games are as usual, 7:37 p.m. for Friday and 7:07 p.m. on Saturday. These are the first two of a    four-game home stand.

Adam Gunderman is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]