Badger men’s hockey fans have something to look forward to, as the 2018–19 schedule was released earlier this week.
After a disappointing finish to the 2017-2018 season, Wisconsin can breathe a little lighter that there will indeed be another season of hockey. Let’s take a look at what’s upcoming for Tony Granato’s squad in what should be a critical season for his coaching tenure.
Fans are used to seeing Boston College early in Wisconsin’s schedule, but usually the Badgers have a few games to prepare for their first top-10 test of the year. Not so in 2018–19, as BC comes to town for the home opener Oct. 12–13.
Minnesota comes to the Kohl Center Nov. 9–10 in a critical fall series.
North Dakota and Wisconsin get another chance to dance after the WCHA split. Too bad it’s not in Madison.
Perhaps most notable is the Notre Dame series in which Wisconsin will tangle with the Irish at the United Center in Chicago for the second game in the series. Yes, the Badgers will give up a home game for this one.
Okay, they’re all key games. Every one of them. Except for the exhibition against Team USA’s under-18 team. In my mind, there are no bunnies on the schedule.
The schedule is really front-loaded. And back-loaded. There are a few weekends of reprieve, but they are mere islands in this shark-infested schedule.
Badger fans have a lot of sports options to choose from in the fall, but the good news is that there are no regular-season home conflicts between football and men’s hockey. On the other hand, eight home games are scheduled on the same day as women’s hockey games.
Last season, Wisconsin performed worse as the year wore on. With Granato no longer splitting attention between Team USA and Wisconsin, perhaps the team will find ways to play its best hockey in February and March.