Yeah, for real. The Wisconsin Men’s Hockey team, after winning just 12 games over the last two seasons, hosts Ohio State this Friday and Saturday with a shot at snatching a share of the Big Ten Conference title.
Beyond delving into the lunacy that is the Badgers’ potential worst-to-first metamorphosis, ya gotta know what must happen first.
Courtesy of Big Ten.org
If you take a gander at the standings, the Minnesota Gophers go into the weekend holding a 3-point lead over the weekend. Pleasingly for the Badgers, the Gophers could have –in theory– sealed the conference race either of the last two weekends but have not. The Badgers and Gophers split at Mariucci two weekends ago and Minnesota only managed a split against a very ordinary Michigan squad while the Badgers earned a split against Penn State, last weekend.
Now, to this weekend which should be a weekend full of titillating hockey.
The Gophers, up three, play another very ordinary team from Michigan…this time hosting last-place Michigan State. Maybe, for Wisconsin’s sake, the Spartans can do as the Wolverines did the week before and steal a win. In their previous series in East Lansing, the Gophers beat the Spartans both nights 4-2.
If Minnesota sweeps Sparty, they win the conference. But if Michigan State can win one of the games — a much more realistic hope than asking a road sweep from the Spartans –Wisconsin can claim a share with a sweep over Ohio State at the Kohl Center. The precedent is there for the Cardinal and White, as they took two from the Buckeyes back at the end of January.
But can they do the same with far more pressure? I, honestly don’t know but we’ll see. One thing is for sure, though, if the Badgers could somehow get a sweep and a victory out of Michigan State, it’d be one of the more remarkable and unbelievable one-year turnarounds ever.
The Badgers and Buckeyes start at 7 p.m. both nights with Friday’s game being on the Wisconsin Channel and Saturday on BTN. Also, the Gophers and Spartans play Friday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNNEWS and 7 p.m. Saturday on FS North Plus.