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NCAA Game(s) of the Week: Minnesota at Wisconsin

The Badgers and Gophers square off in the season’s first Border Battle

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Photo by Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

It’s a Border Battle weekend in the WCHA, with Minnesota heading to Madison to take on Wisconsin. Each team is ranked in the top five nationally (and the top three in TIG’s poll), setting up another heavyweight matchup between the two teams.

You can watch the games on B1G+ ($).

No. 3/5 Minnesota (12-4-0) at No. 1 Wisconsin (15-0-1) | Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. CT | Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. CT

The Badgers are the consensus best team in the NCAA this year and have just one mark against their otherwise perfect record (a scoreless tie against Bemidji State, which feels like a yearly happening at this point). The Gophers have been on a tear since a few early season losses to Ohio State and Minnesota Duluth—up until last weekend, when they lost to Colgate in the Smashville Showcase. For Minnesota, this weekend presents a big opportunity to show that they’re a national frontrunner. A win or more would certainly show that they’re on level footing with the Badgers. On the flip side, Wisconsin will be playing to protect their No. 1 ranking.

Players to Watch

Minnesota: Abigail Boreen, F

Boreen ranks second overall on the team in scoring with 21 points in 16 games. She’s already almost doubled her career-high for points and comes into the series on a four-game scoring streak, including two multi-point games.

Wisconsin: Sarah Wozniewicz, F

She’s having a strong rookie season so far and is the type of player who usually shines for the Badgers in tough series like this. She had arguably her best performance of the season in a tight game against Duluth earlier this season, helping Wisconsin come back and win in overtime. As a secondary scorer in the Badgers’ offense, she can help Wisconsin outmatch the Gophers with their depth.

Our Thoughts

Gabs Fundaro: It’s hard not to look back on the Badgers’ series win against Ohio State without getting a feel for how dominant they truly can be, even against the toughest competition. Their veteran defense is doing a great job of setting the pace this season and they’ve got depth at every position. Still, Minnesota has done well to execute their own game plan despite losing some key players this season. Border Battle games are never predictable, but I think we’re likely to see a split and at least one back-and-forth, high-scoring contest this weekend.

Anne Tokarski: I start every week’s predictions with the same refrain: “To reiterate what Gabs said...” and this week is no different: Border Battle games are never predictable. The easy way out is to guess that Wisconsin takes both of these games handily, but I think Minnesota’s championship loss to Colgate at the Smashville Showcase will light a fire under the Gophers and might power them to, at the very least, a weekend split. After all, Minnesota is 12-4 this season, with their only losses coming to ranked teams, so I think it’s safe to say they definitely know what they’re up against when it comes to squaring off against the Badgers this weekend. Can they pull it off? They have my vote of confidence.

Around the (rest of the) NCAA:

Friday, Dec. 3:

Saturday, Dec. 4:

  • Franklin Pierce at LIU at 2 p.m. ET (NEC Front Row)
  • Boston College at Maine at 2 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)
  • Vermont at New Hampshire at 2 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)
  • Cornell at Northeastern at 2 p.m. ET (NESN in New England, College Sports Live out of market)
  • Princeton at Providence at 2 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)
  • Johnson & Wales at Sacred Heart at 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Bemidji State at St. Cloud State at 2 p.m. CT (B1G+)
  • Minnesota State at St. Thomas at 2 p.m. CT (B1G+)
  • RIT at Lindenwood at 2:20 p.m. CT (Stretch)
  • Merrimack at Boston University at 3 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)
  • Union at Dartmouth at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • UConn at Holy Cross at 3 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)
  • Clarkson at St. Lawrence at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Rensselaer at Harvard at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+ U.S., Stretch international)
  • Mercyhurst at Syracuse at 3 p.m. ET (CuseTV)
  • Ohio State at Minnesota Duluth at 3 p.m. CT (B1G+)
  • Post at St. Michael’s at 4 p.m. ET (Stretch)

Sunday, Dec. 5: