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Series Preview: Wisconsin and Michigan State Jostle for Big Ten Standings

The Matchup: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin
Dates: Friday/Saturday, February 19/20 8 PM CT
Location: Kohl Center
Ice Surface: 200’ X 97’
TV: Friday — BTN; Saturday — None
Radio: WIBA AM 1310
Video Stream: Friday — BTN2go app; Saturday — BTNplus ($)
Audio Stream: Badgersportsnetwork.com (Free)
All-Time Series: 47-50-3 (UW Trails)
Last Meeting: 3-0 Wisconsin over Michigan State

 

About Michigan State

Record: 7-20-3, (3-10-1 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Tom Anastos (68-95-19 5th season)
Notable: Michigan State enters the weekend series at 5th place in Big Ten standings. A disappointing spot for a team predicted to finished 3rd in the Big Ten in the preseason. Spartans are looking for six needed points in Madison.

 

Stat Leaders:

Points: Mackenzi MacEachern (22)
Goals:  Mackenzi MacEachern (10)
Assists: Mason Appleton (15)
Save Pct.: Jake Hildebrand (.900)
Goals Against Average: Jake Hildebrand (3.29)

 

About Wisconsin:

Record: 6-12-6 (1-7-2-1 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Mike Eaves (14th Season – 265-218-64)
Notable: Wisconsin sits at last place in the Big Ten, only 3 points behind Michigan State. With the Spartans in town, Wisconsin has a golden opportunity to climb out of last place with a couple of wins.

Stat Leaders

Points: Grant Besse (24)
Goals: Luke Kunin (12)
Assists:  Grant Besse (17)
Save Pct.: Matt Jurusik (.893)
Goals Against Average: Matt Jurusik (3.40)

 

Quick Analysis:

The Badgers look to build off of some of their momentum gained in a come from behind 4-4 tie against the sixth best team in the country, the Michigan Wolverines to end their series last weekend.

The key to the Badger’s success against Michigan Staurday night came from the production from its top tine. Junior Grant Besse, sophomore Cameron Hughes and freshman Luke Kunin did it all for the Badgers against Michigan scoring three of the four goals, including the game tying goal with under 30 seconds to go.

The other major key was Matt Jurusik. It is a no brainer but when Matt plays well, the Badgers play well. Matt’s success tends to come later in the game after he has found a bit of a rhythm and confidence between the pipes.

Wisconsin should focus on making sure the first five to ten minutes of the game is not strenuous on Jurusik. If he is allowed to settle in and then called upon to make bigger saves later in the period, he has shown he can be up to the task.

With a series split at East Lansing, MI the two teams will fight it out for the rubber match on Friday night before finishing off a weekend series Saturday night. With only three points separating the two teams in Big Ten standings, every point matters this weekend.

 

Predictions:

Friday — Wisconsin 3  Michigan State 2

Saturday — Wisconsin 3 Michigan State 3

Badgers win Friday night behind the goaltending of Jurusik and skate to a gutsy tie Saturday night, win the shootout and come out of the weekend with 5 points.

Sawyer Bock

About Sawyer Bock

Sawyer is a Junior at UW-Madison majoring in Communication Arts and Journalism. He is 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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