Joel Rumpel

Badgers hoping to find answers in home opening series against North Dakota

The Wisconsin Badgers welcome North Dakota into town this Friday, November 7th, for a two game series for their season home opener.

After a shaky start to the year, leading to a dismal 0-4 record, the Badgers are searching to earn their first win of the season. That illusive win, however, will not be an easy feat as North Dakota come to Madison boasting a 5-1-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in the USCHO.com Top 25 poll.

When asked how the past two weeks of practice went, Coach Mike Eaves responded with a chuckle, “Well, I’m tired”.

The new look Badgers spent the past two weeks working hard day in and day out and Eaves is seeing the results he was searching for, “we are better now than we were two weeks ago”.

The Badgers will have to be better than they have been so far this season if they hope to stand a chance against rival UND. These two teams have given fans nothing but action packed hockey in previous match-ups with UW leading the overall series with a record of 88-66-12. Thanks to a new agreement between the teams, the Badgers and UND will be facing off for at least the next four years.

“We want to stay in contact because I think they’re always going to be an elite program and you want to test yourselves against that”, said Eves.

With the elevated level of play comes a certain aspect of elevated emotions. UND and UW have often combined for big hits and even some extra circular activities including a bench-clearing brawl in 1982. There is no blood lost between the two rosters, even recently.

This UND team is the very same that knocked the Badgers out of the NCAA tournament a season ago beating UW 5-2 in the first round. Returning Badgers are looking for revenge while new faces will be getting their first taste of a college hockey rivalry.

Eaves believes his freshman are up to the challenge with a little help from the vets, “the older guys are going to have to lead by example in their preparation”, he also added his gratefulness that the game was not held in North Dakota. Eves figures the Kohl Center gives the new comers a better atmosphere in their first run in with North Dakota.

If one thing needs to happen for the Badgers to help improve the season it is point production, and it needs to happen fast. Eaves is not too concerned about the lack of scoring this early in the season saying that a lot of the older guys are pressing to be “the guy” but if an emergence of one player is going to happen it will be by settling into the system and just letting it happen.

Despite the slow start, fan excitement has not been dampened for hockey to be back in Madison, Wisconsin. The Kohl Center crowd looks forward to give UND a not so warm welcome in this classic college hockey matchup.

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_

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