This weekend is important to the #1 ranked Wisconsin Women's hockey team, not only because it's a cruicial WCHA series against a very good Bemidji State club, but because Saturday marks the date for the annual "Fill the Bowl" game.
The game, which is on Saturday night at the Kohl Center (7 PM) is aimed at breaking the NCAA Women's hockey attendance record that was set last year's (10,668) "Fill the Bowl" game vs Minnesota.
The event is special on a number of different levels and head coach Mark Johnson talked about that this week in h is media availability.
"You know, for our players, I guess the best compliment is you talk to the Minnesota players that played in that game and the Minnesota coaching staff. And they were as excited as anybody in the building because now they got an opportunity to play in front of 11,000 people," Johnson said.
"For them to come out in warm-ups and have the bottom bowl full. And as the game started, you had the two bowls full. So it was just a unique experience for our players because a lot of games we don't get that opportunity to play in front of that many people."
Wisconsin has been ranked #1 nearly the entire season. The only week they weren't was two weeks ago after they lost and tied on the road at Minnesota. For the season, the Badgers are 22-2-2 and projected to have the #1 overall seed for the NCAA tournament.
In an effort to fill as many seats as possible, the University has reduced ticket prices to only $1 per person. Additionally, for every person that comes to the game, Becker Law Offices will donate $1 to the Second Harvest Food bank to help area families in need.
University of Wisconsin students are encouraged to come out and will be admitted free with a student ID. According to a release from the school, students will receive free pizza during the game and also will have a chance to win a $150 Best Buy gift card.
Students and fans are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank as well on Saturday.
Not only will it be cool to pack as many fans in the Kohl Center for a women's hockey game and do it for a good cause, but these games should be good ones as well.
Coach Johnson talked about Bemidji this week and how hard they battle.
"They're probably the hardest working team if you talk to most of the coaches of teams that have played against them in our league. You know, they've had a very good season. They've been in the top ten for several weeks."
Bemidji features one of the best goaltenders in the country in Zuzana Tomcikova who carries a .931 save percentage into the weekend. She'll be tested early and often by Wisconsin's potent offense that features four of the most dynamic forwards in the country with Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight, Carolyne Prevost, and Brooke Ammerman.
It's also been pretty cool to see the support of the Women's program from those with ties to the University. JJ Watt, a former Badger football player and current defensive end for the NFL's Houston Texans tweeted about the game last night.
Badger Nation: Kohl Center, Saturday night, 7pm, Women's Hockey, Fill The Bowl. 4 National Championships in the last 6 years.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 24, 2012
Other current and former athletes are also doing their part:
Jake Gardiner (@JGardiner272) January 24, 2012
— Louis Nzegwu (@Louis_Nzegwu) January 24, 2012
@JJWatt you know what im gunna go to that hockey game...
Even Bucci did his part to help out:
John Buccigross (@Buccigross) January 24, 2012
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