Grant Besse (Wisconsin - 21)

Badgers Hockey Preview: Michigan series

The Matchup: Wisconsin vs. #16 Michigan
Dates: Friday, Jan. 23rd 8 PM CT and Saturday, Jan. 24th , 7 PM CT
Location: Kohl Center
Ice Surface: 200’ X 97’
TV: Friday- BTN, Saturday- Wisconsin Channel
Radio: WIBA AM 1310
Video Stream:
Audio Stream: (Free)
All-Time Series: UW trails 54-65-9
Last Meeting: 2-2 Tie. (Michigan won in shootout)



About University of Michigan:

Record: 13-7-0 in Overall, 5-1-0 in Big Ten
Head Coach: Red Berenson (31st season – 801-391-84)
Notable: Michigan is coming into Madison, Wisconsin riding a five game win streak and only one point behind Penn State for first place in the Big Ten. The five game win streak includes wins against Michigan Tech, Minnesota, and Ohio State.


Stat Leaders:

Points: Zach Hyman (29)
Goals: Zach Hyman (13)
Assists: Dylan Larkin (17)
Save Pct.: Zach Nagelvoort (.904)
Goals Against Average: Zach Nagelvoort (2.51)


About Wisconsin:

Record: 2-13-3 Overall, 0-3-1-1 in Conference
Head Coach: Mike Eaves (13th season – 257-192-55)
Notable: After losing to Minnesota in their last outing, the Badgers look to rebound and find their first Big Ten conference win against Michigan.

Grant Besse is coming off his best series of his carrerr against Minnesota. He netted three goals, a game winning goal in a shootout and provided the spark the Badgers needed to come back and tie the Gophers late in the third period of their first game.

Due to a late game hit, Eddie Wittchow will not be playing Friday after being issued a one game suspension for his hit.


Stat Leaders:

Points: Grant Besse (11)
Goals: Grant Besse (6)
Assists: Cameron Hughes 6
Save Pct.: Joel Rumpel (.904)
Goals Against Average: Joel Rumpel (3.35)


Quick Analysis:

This is a scary matchup for Badgers hockey because the Wolverines can score and score in bunches. Two weeks ago against Minnesota they put up 11 goals over the course of two games…oh and won both of them over the Gophers.

Michigan leads the Big Ten with 39 goals in just six Big Ten contests so far this season, and that has to scare a Badgers defense that has allowed an average of 4.00 goals per game in conference contests.

In fact, the Badgers defense doesn’t look so good throughout the year to be honest. Michigan ranks first nationally in offense (4.15 goals against), while the Badgers are 53rd nationally in goals allowed (3.61). Not exactly good news.

Wisconsin has shown that it can put more shots on net as of late, and considering Michigan’s defense isn’t exactly great either (46th with 3.10 goals against). UW put up 30-plus shots in a home series against Boston University two weeks ago and had over it’s season average in shots in one of the two games at Minnesota last weekend.

If the Badgers can start off by putting some decent pressure on the Michigan defense in these two games it could stand a chance to come away with points. That said, UW hasn’t done a great job of getting off to hot starts offensively.

This series could be a wild one given the pure lack of defense on the ice, and if ever the Badgers were going to show they were turning a corner for real taking advantage of Michigan’s equally bad defense would certainly help.



Friday- Wisconsin 2, Michigan 6; Saturday- Wisconsin 4 Michigan 2


Sawyer Bock

About Sawyer Bock

Sawyer is a Sophomore at UW-Madison majoring in Communication Arts and a beat writer for the UW- Men's Hockey Team. You can catch him on UW-Madison's student radio WSUM where he hosts a sports talk show and broadcasts numerous varieties of Badger sports or on twitter @YoungSawyer_