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

Two top-ranked teams will take the ice against each other to ring in 2022

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

A non-conference match-up between two highly-ranked teams — each with only one loss under their belts — is on the docket for the new year.

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

Quinnipiac (15-1-2) at Wisconsin (13-1-1) | Saturday, Jan. 1, at 3 p.m. ET | Sunday, Jan. 2, at 3 p.m. ET

Wisconsin closed out the first half of the season with two dominant wins over Bemidji State, changing their trajectory after a rough weekend against Minnesota to start off December. While the Badgers are a perfect 12-0-0 in enemy territory, their record at LaBahn is somewhat of a different story (5-1-1). They’ll want to improve upon that record when Quinnipiac comes to town this weekend.

The Bobcats have been on a tear recently, coming into the new year after ending the first half on a high note with their Nutmeg Classic championship game win over UConn. It’s been over a month since Quinnipiac has hit the ice in a game scenario, though — will they be able to shake off the rust, or will top-ranked Wisconsin take them down?

Players to Watch

Quinnipiac: Kendall Cooper

We knew when she arrived that the sophomore defender would be a force to be reckoned with, and Cooper has stepped into that role with grace. A playmaker at both ends of the ice and a player who is unafraid to get into the dirty areas, she’s racked up eight assists to go with one goal so far this season, and registered fifteen blocks. She’ll be relied on not only to spark big plays, but also to shut things down in her own zone and be the reliable defender that Canadians will remember (and love) from her days with the U18 team.

Wisconsin: Makenna Webster

The sophomore forward sits second on the Badgers in scoring with 15 goals and 20 assists. Webster and the rest of Wisconsin’s top line have been heavily relied on by her team and by head coach Mark Johnston to produce on the scoresheet and come up big on the ice, especially with the absences of Britta Curl and Lacey Eden. Webster has also been a critical component of the Badgers’ power play, registering five goals with the skater advantage through the first twenty games of the season.

Our Thoughts

Gabs Fundaro: Quinnipiac’s had an excellent start to the season so far, very much earning their place in the top-5 nationally, while Wisconsin has clearly proven themselves to consistently be the best team every weekend so far. Still, I think a win this weekend is within reach for the Bobcats. This is perhaps the most enticing non-conference series we’ll see this season. Both teams play to a possession-heavy style—and have the personnel to do it successfully. Wisconsin generally makes it tough to build up pressure, instead dictating their own offensive scheme. Quinnipiac generally makes it tough to win battles in the middle of the ice, and they’re adept at forcing turnovers to build the other way. I think we’ll see two really close games, and despite the offensive talent on each roster, I’d be surprised if either game is particularly high-scoring just on the strength of the team defenses alone.

Anne Tokarski: I think this series could really go either way. It’s a top-4 match-up between two teams who haven’t seen each other in the regular season since 2008 when Wisconsin thumped the Bobcats to the tune of a 7-3 win. That being said, both teams are a lot different this year and I don’t think it would be all that surprising to see a series split. The Bobcats will have to shake off some rust if they want to keep up with the Badgers, given that Quinnipiac hasn’t played a game since the end of November, but I wouldn’t be surprised if each team takes a game.

Around the (rest of the) NCAA:

Friday, Dec. 31:

Saturday, Jan. 1:

  • Minnesota Duluth at Harvard at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • RIT at LIU at 2 p.m. ET (NEC Front Row)
  • Merrimack at RPI at 3 p.m. ET CANCELLED
  • Syracuse at BU at 4 p.m. ET (Battle at the ‘Burgh) (YouTube)
  • Penn State vs. St. Cloud State at 7 p.m. ET (Battle at the ‘Burgh) (YouTube)

Saturday, January 2:

  • Battle at the ‘Burgh consolation game at 12 p.m. ET
  • Maine at Vermont at 1 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)
  • New Hampshire at Dartmouth at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Merrimack at RPI at 3 p.m. ET CANCELLED
  • Battle at the ‘Burgh championship game at 3 p.m. ET
  • Providence at Holy Cross at 4:30 p.m. ET (College Sports Live)

Monday, January 3: