Once again the Wisconsin men's hockey team will skate short-handed, as two of the Badgers' top players will not suit up Friday when UW hosts Bemidji State at the Kohl Center.
According to a report from the Wisconsin State Journal, neither Derek Lee (concussion), nor Jake McCabe (ankle) will be available for the opener according to Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves. However, Eaves would not rule either player out for Saturday's contest.
Lee was injured in the second game of the Alaska-Anchorage series, as he was hit up high by Seawolves defenseman Austin Sevalrud. Lee didn't return to the contest, and didn't make the trip last weekend to North Dakota.
McCabe was injured this past Saturday in Grand Forks. In an odd play, McCabe's ankle got caught underneath a player as his momentum took the rest of his body over the top of the player.
Both players are vital members of this roster, and both are also on Wisconsin's top power-play unit. Lee currently leads the Badgers in assists with 16, and is second on the team in total points with 19. McCabe leads all Badger defensemen in scoring with 10 points, and is able to play big-time minutes in any situation.
Without McCabe, Wisconsin will use junior blue-liner Chase Drake who has already seen action in 13 games this season. Up front we could see a variety of combinations to replace Lee, but last weekend saw junior center Jefferson Dahl take over most of Lee's responsibilities.
The real question is what Eaves has in store for the power-play that features these two players as key members. Don't be surprised to see freshman defenseman Kevin Schulze given an expanded role on the top unit this weekend.
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