For the first time in program history, the seventh-ranked Clarkson Golden Knights will welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Cheel Arena in Potsdam, NY. The two teams have met only twice, in a two-game matchup in January 2015. The first game ended in a 1-1 tie with Wisconsin winning the rematch 4-0.
Undefeated Badgers Team to Beat
Currently the top-ranked team, the Badgers are the WCHA coaches’ poll “team-to-beat” in the 2016-17 season. The Badgers finished first in the WCHA last season with a 35-4-1 record, ending their season with a loss to Minnesota in the Frozen Four playoffs. Wisconsin will meet Clarkson on Friday, Oct. 14, with a current record of 3-0-1 after tying Ohio on Oct. 8. The Badgers gained an extra point in their tie against Ohio thanks to freshman Abby Roque’s shootout goal. Outshooting Ohio 38-7, Wisconsin will bring their offensive power to Cheel Arena on Friday.
Clarkson Reeling Off Tough Weekend
Clarkson also made an appearance in the 2016 NCAA tournament, marking their fourth straight appearance. The Golden Knights finished their season second in the ECAC with a 30-5-5 overall record during the 2015-16 season. Currently, the Golden Knights hold a 2-1-1 record after a tough series against St. Lawrence. On Oct. 7, the Golden Knights fell to St. Lawrence for the first time in seven meetings. The rematch ended in a tie, with neither team able to find the back of the net in overtime. Clarkson’s head coach Matt Desrosiers stated that, while there are areas of improvement to work on headed into the matchup against Wisconsin, goaltender Shea Tiley is a huge asset to the team’s defensive play: “Shea was able to make some big saves to keep the game close and allow us the opportunity to tie it up.”
High Stakes for Both Teams
With the Badgers ranked fourth in the country for their strong penalty kill, Friday and Saturday’s games should prove to be a test for both teams. Wisconsin certainly wants to make amends for letting the unranked OSU team tie them at home. While Wisconsin is headed to Potsdam as the statistically better team, Clarkson will be fighting hard to put themselves back on the winning path. Despite the Golden Knights’ rough start, they are still ranked and highly thought of, and Wisconsin will need to keep the intensity and energy of their play high. This might be difficult as the Badgers take on their first ranked opponents of the season while on the road. UW head coach Mark Johnson stated: “It is a good test for us, especially on the road, to find out some things about our team and where we are at this point in the year. Clarkson is an experienced team as they went to the NCAA Frozen Four last year and they won the NCAA title a couple of years ago. They have a pretty good thing going on.”
The series kicks off at Cheel Arena at 3PM EST on Friday.