Both Wisconsin and Colorado College share one thing in common heading into this weekend's series. They're both on the outside of the NCAA Tournament and looking in. The WCHA standings are not indicative whatsoever of the NCAA PairWise rankings. Wisconsin sits in the second spot in the WCHA standings, while CC is third, but in the PairWise rankings, Wisconsin is tied for 20th, six spots away from that 14th and last spot, while CC is at 17th.
The key to this series will be Richard Bachman, CC's sophomore goaltender. Last season he came to Madison and delivered the most impressive performance I have ever seen live by a goaltender, stopping 43 of 44 Badger shots over the two games...the lone goal came on a fluke play which saw Sean Dolan swat at the puck in midair and go past Bachman 13 seconds into the game. I thought that Dolan touched it with a high stick but in the WCHA the only angle a referee can view is the birdseye camera above the goal...so essentially on any high stick review the goal will stand because it's impossible to tell. Nonetheless, Bachman in two career starts in Madison has been impressive. With Wisconsin's lack of an elite scorer, he could be in for a big series.
Also, we'll begin the Chad Rau watch this weekend. He's been held without a shorthanded goal this season, but last season he did something almost unheard of...scoring a shorthanded goal in all four games against Wisconsin. The Eden Prairie, Minn. native led the nation with six shorthanded goals.
By the way, CC has a six game winning streak against Wisconsin. The last time the Badgers beat the Tigers was out in Colorado Springs in January of 2006, when Wisconsin won 9-1. That was the weekend before Brian Elliott got hurt in practice and missed a large portion of the second half of the season before returning and leading the Badgers to their sixth NCAA championship.
When and Where: Kohl Center, Friday at 7 CT, Saturday at 6 CT
Tune in at: http://vu.wsum.net/sports (WSUM Student Radio's live sports stream)...the Badger Herald's Tyler Mason and I have the call...we'll have interviews with Badger players Derek Stepan and Cody Goloubef tonight and tomorrow.
Prediction: Friday...Colorado College 3, Wisconsin 1, Saturday...Wisconsin 2, Colorado College 0
Interesting to note that: Colorado College won its first game on a Friday since mid-October last weekend when it beat Minnesota State 5-2 at World Arena.