You live in Madison as long as I have, you start collecting stories about Badger hockey. Your uncle tells you about slamming two beers an intermission at the Dane County Coliseum when he was an undergrad. The guy two bar stools down shows you a clip of the water bottle fight against North Dakota. A job interviewer says “oh back then, you couldn’t get a ticket to a hockey game, that was the hottest event in town.”
The University of Wisconsin might be a football school, but we have a long hockey legacy. The march to add another star starts today at...noon oh come on!
Bemidji State comes in with a 15-9-3 record, good for fourth in the retooled WCHA. (They were in College Hockey America before the Big Ten adopted hockey.) The Badgers haven’t played them since 2013, and due to ~~these uncertain times~~ they have no common opponents.
Ethan Somoza’s the only Beaver that has double-digit goals, potting 13 in 27 games. As a team, their 2.81 goals per game is just below the middle of the college hockey world and a full goal a game behind the Badgers. It’ll be up to Zach Driscoll, who’s almost exclusively been between the pipes, to give Bemidji State a chance.
How to watch/listen
TV: ESPN2; noon CT; John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, Colby Cohen
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Radio/Satellite: 1310 WIBA, Brian Posick; Sirius/XM Channel 372
Live stats: Here!
Arena: Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT
Fun facts (courtesy of the media guides)
- The Badgers are making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014 and officially their 26th all-time.
- The Badgers are officially 37-22-2 all-time in NCAA tournament play. That includes six NCAA titles, the most for any school since the program joined a league for the 1969–70 season. UW also boasts a pair of runner-up finishes, two third-place results and one fourth place.
- UW leads the country with a 31.5 percent power play (29-for-92) and sits No. 8 with an 85.3 percent penalty kill (64-for-75). The Badgers are one of only three teams to rank in the top-10 for both.
- The UW penalty kill is also perfect in its last five games, though they have only had to kill 10 penalties over that stretch. UW is perfect in 12 of its last 14 games on the penalty kill.
- The Badgers are also among the nation’s least penalized team, averaging just 8.1 minutes per game, fifth fewest in the country.
- Wisconsin is 6-0-1 all-time against the Bemidji State Beavers and will face them for the first time since 2013. Wisconsin and Bemidji State were both members of the WCHA together for three seasons from 2010 through 2013, with the Badgers going 5-0-1 against BSU during that stretch.
- UW’s first meeting against the Beavers came in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Former Badger Joe Pavelski scored a hat trick in the game and goaltender Brian Elliott made 15 saves in UW’s 4-0 victory over BSU.
- Cole Caufield is leading the nation in scoring with 49 points. It took Cole Caufield 26 games to reach 20 goals this season. That made him the quickest to reach the milestone since Gary Shuchuk scored 20 in the first 21 games during the 1989-90 season, on his way to a 41-goal campaign.
- Wisconsin graduate transfer goaltender Robbie Beydoun is 0-3-0 with a 3.71 goals-against average and .902 save percentage against Bemidji State from his time at Michigan Tech.
- According to Collegehockeynews.com, Bemidji State is the eighth-oldest team in NCAA hockey with an average of 22 years, 8 months, while Wisconsin is the fifth-youngest team with an average age of 21 years, 4 months.
- Bemidji State senior forward Aaron Miller hails from Superior, Wisconsin.
- UW sophomore forward Ryder Donovan and freshman defenseman Luke LaMaster were high school teammates at Duluth (Minn.) East High School with Bemidji State freshman forward Austin Jouppi.
- UW junior forward Roman Ahcan was teammates with Bemidji State defensemen Will Zmolek, Kyle Looft and Tyler Jubenvill on the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders.