Playing against the Minnesota Golden Gophers is a tremendous deal for any Wisconsin Badgers hockey player, for obvious reasons. But playing and beating the Gophers holds a special significance for Badgers from the state of Minnesota. One Badger in his final series against the Maroon and Gold is the senior star and assistant captain, Grant Besse.
Besse, who starred at Benilde-St. Margaret’s just outside of Minneapolis, wanted to be a Gopher but they didn’t recruit him nearly as heavily as the Badgers did, despite he being Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 2013.
As a Badger, Besse has developed quite the reputation for scoring goals over his career, especially against his childhood team, the Gophers. At one point last season he had scored in five straight games against the Gophs.
Now, to the series at hand. As previously mentioned, this weekend set is huge for Badger hockey as a whole, with the rivalry, the conference title and NCAA Tournament ramifications.
In the context of the second half of the season, this series is also huge for Besse. In the previous three-plus years, the senior has been one of the Badgers’ most consistent and dependable scorers. But he hasn’t potted a goal since December 10 against Michigan. That’s astonishing for Besse, especially considering the fact that he scored in 5-of-6 games prior to this drought.
How beneficial would a goal-or-two this weekend be for Besse with the end of the season closely approaching? It’d be an immense help for the Badgers if Besse starts scoring again how he has over his tenure in Madison. For an already lethal offense to get back one of its more consistent goal-getters on the score-sheet could prove to be priceless.
The sought-after goals, against the Gophers, in his hometown (with the potential of moving the Badgers to the brink of a Big Ten title in his final season), would be huge for Besse, too.