Friday was just about the perfect day of hockey for the Wisconsin Badgers men’s team. It started off in the afternoon as UW shutout the Michigan State Spartans 4-0 to keep the heat on the Big Ten-leading Minnesota Golden Gophers and ended with those very same Gophers losing to Michigan 5-2.
With those two results, the Badgers just need to beat the Spartans again and they will win the Big Ten regular season title and earn the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament. As crazy as this may sound, the Badgers haven’t won a regular season conference title since 2000.
Well, tomorrow just got a lot more interesting... pic.twitter.com/EEeNCSbzKX— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) March 6, 2021
Friday night’s game was basically over from the moment the puck was dropped as Tarek Baker scored just under two minutes into the game and Jack Gorniak added insurance six and a half minutes later. With the way goalie Robbie Beydoun was playing (28 saves on 28 shots to earn his third career shutout), two goals was more than enough for Wisconsin to get the win.
Wisconsin added two power play goals in the second period from Cole Caufield (No. 23 on the season) and Ty-Pelton Byce (No. 12 on the season), boosting their nation leading power play to 32.1 percent. Caufield leads the nation with those 23 goals and 44 points, seven goals ahead of the next highest scorer.
Back-to-back shutouts— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) March 6, 2021
4-0 victory at Michigan State pic.twitter.com/OxxckEeZ79
The Badgers close out their regular season Saturday at 1:30 p.m CT with a final matchup against Michigan State which will be aired live on Big Ten Network.
The women’s team has a huge game of their own on Saturday. The Badgers are in Minneapolis to take on the Gophers in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Faceoff. The winner will take on the winner of Ohio State vs. Minnesota Duluth on Sunday to win the conference tournament and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The team has won four of the last six tournaments and is looking to increase their league-best total of eight tournament wins this weekend. Last year the Badgers lost to Ohio State 1-0 in the final after beating Duluth in the semifinals, 4-1. I don’t want to take ALL of the blame here, but I did cover the semifinal live but was unable to attend the final...so, I’m sorry everyone.
The WCHA Final Faceoff semifinal marks the 110th meeting between Wisconsin and Minnesota. Wisconsin has turned the tide as of late in the Border Battle series, as the Cardinal and White has a 9-3-2 record in its last 14 games against Minnesota and a 15-5-4 record in its last 22 games, dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season.
The playoff edition Border Battle is set to start at 1 p.m. CST on Saturday. The game will be streamed lived on FloHockey.