MADISON, WI (LEARFIELD-WSAU) The Wisconsin men's hockey team will open its regular season by hosting Northern Michigan tonight and tomorrow night. The Badgers are ranked third in a pair of national polls. A Big Ten pre-season poll has Wisconsin winning the league's inaugural championship.
Coach Mike Eaves has six players who scored 21-points or more last season. Michael Mersch leads that group. The senior forward led Wisconsin in goals with 23 a year ago, with 36 total points. The Badgers are an experienced group, with five players having 100-or-more games under their belts.
Nine seniors and seven juniors make up the heart of the lineup. Wisconsin also has two strong goaltenders -- Josh Rumpel and Landon Peterson. Eaves is starting his 12th year as the Badgers' head coach. The Wisconsin women's hockey team will try to end Minnesota's 51-game winning streak in Minneapolis tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Both teams are coming off two-game sweeps last weekend.
Wisconsin took a pair from Minnesota State in W-C-H-A conference play, while the Gophers won two at Colgate. The Badgers are ranked fourth by U-S College Hockey Online, and coach Mark Johnson calls the Gopher series an early season challenge that he enjoys.
Minnesota plans to unveil its national championship banner from last season before tonight's contest. Badgers' goal-tender Alex Rigsby enters the weekend with .981 save percentage from last week. The senior saved 53-of-54 shots in the sweep of Minnesota State. (End)