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Badgers battle Bemidji State in season’s final road trip

The Badgers are hitting the road for their final trip away from the Kohl Center this season.

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Disclaimer: This article has been written and submitted by Taylor Valentine, who will help cover Badgers hockey.

The Wisconsin Badgers head to Bemidji this weekend for two games against Bemidji State.

No. 2 Wisconsin (24-4 overall, 18-4 WCHA) enters their final road trip of the season winners of 11 straight.

The same cannot be said of their opponent, Bemidji State (4-22-2 overall, 3-18-1 WCHA), who has won once in their last nine games.

The Badgers look to avoid a letdown en route to hosting the Border Battle and closing the season with top-ranked Ohio State.

When the teams met earlier this season, Wisconsin outpaced Bemidji State 4-0 and 8-1 at home.

There is no reason to expect anything different this weekend as the Badgers bring with them an offense leading the nation in goals per game at 5.17 per contest.

The high-powered Wisconsin attack is led by a pair of 20-goal scorers in senior Lacey Eden and sophomore Kirsten Simms.

Freshman Cassie Hall (17 goals) and graduate student Britta Curl (16 goals) are not far behind and can be expected to make a run at giving Wisconsin four 20-goal scorers this season.

The Beavers from Bemidji State face a tough task against the potent Badgers as freshman goaltender Eva Filippova and junior goaltender Abbie Thompson are surrendering just under five goals per game.

The Bemidji State offense has struggled to give them much support scoring just one goal or fewer in seven of their last nine.

Expect Wisconsin to continue rolling out their tandem of goaltenders as they have all year, starting redshirt junior Jane Gervais on Friday and closing the series with freshman Ava McNaughton.

Both have been stellar in net, leading a Badger unit that gives up just over 1.5 goals per game behind a solid backline.

Key to the game

The Badgers will look to step on the gas early and establish a lead against a team giving up nearly six goals per game against ranked teams.

Setting the tone early can hopefully help the Badgers get through the weekend healthy heading down the home stretch.

Prediction

Bemidji State has not had many bright spots this season, and by all accounts, the Badgers are the better team.

I’ll go out on a limb and say the Badgers come away with a sweep to enter next weekend’s Border Battle on a 13-game winning streak.

There isn’t a ton to improve upon from when these teams met back in December, but I’ll also say the goaltenders one-up their performance with both Gervais and McNaughton registering shutouts.

Game Info

Game 1

Date: Friday, February 9

Time: 6 p.m.

Place: Bemidji, MN / Sanford Center

TV: B1G+ Radio: 1070 AM

Game 2

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 3 p.m.

Place: Bemidji, MN / Sanford Center

TV: B1G+ Radio: 1070 AM