With the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (4-2-0) traveling to State College, Pa. to do battle with the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1-0) for the first B1G series of the season we reached out to Wisconsin State Journal sports reporter, and badminton champion, Todd Milewski to give us insight into the Badgers.
Thursday night’s game is on BTN and the puck drops at 6 p.m. CT. Read on for some insider info on the Badgers hockey team.
Is Alex Turcotte playing/healthy for this weekend? How much was he missed on the power play unit against Clarkson?
He has been back at practice and said on Monday that he’s better, so he’ll be in the lineup. I think his absence was one factor in the power play’s inefficiency last weekend but there were others. They didn’t seem as direct as they had in the previous games.
Who has been the biggest surprise to you now that the Badgers have six games under their belt?
I’m not sure it’s a total surprise given his background, but Owen Lindmark has had a great start – and not even because of his goals. He has been a good 200-foot player and has stood out on the penalty kill. That was one area where the Badgers desperately needed to improve, and he has helped so far.
Any areas of concern for the team heading into State College?
There’s always concern when you play at Penn State. The Nittany Lions jump on even the slightest crack in a team’s defense, and we’ve seen that a lot over the last few years. Their tendency is to stretch defenses with long passes out of the defensive zone – a sometimes risky option but one that can lead to a lot of breakaway chances.
The talk around State College is that Penn State isn’t quite playing to its traditional identity yet, but maybe a high-profile series like this could snap the Nittany Lions into it.
How crazy was seeing Owen Lindmark’s goal in person last Saturday?
I’m not sure I saw all of it, to be honest. I was pretty hurriedly rewriting my story at that point. The first version was about Roman Ahcan’s big night (three points, at that point) but had to be changed when Clarkson tied it late. With Ahcan setting up Lindmark’s winning goal, I was able to salvage a lot of the first version.
What are your predictions for the series this weekend?
It seems like a series that’s going to have a lot of scoring, and maybe that benefits Penn State. But I think they’ll split.