This weekend, the UW women's hockey team (5-5-4 Western Collegiate Hockey Association, 12-5-4 overall) will get a chance to prove its worth in the national rankings of women's collegiate hockey.
The University of New Hampshire Wildcats (9-0-0 Hockey East, 19-4-1 overall) will put their perfect conference record on the line against a hungry Wisconsin squad. Making this weekend's tilts especially interesting will be the parity of these two very talented squads. Currently, the Wildcats are ranked fifth in the nation, while UW sits one place behind them at No. six.
\It should be a close game,"" senior defender Sis Paulsen said on the parity between the Badgers and Wildcats.
""It should be a good series with two probably very equal teams, and two teams bidding for that fourth spot in the NCAA tournament. So it's a big weekend in a lot of different directions for both teams,"" Head Coach Mark Johnson said.
Most recently, the Badgers played the University of Minnesota-Duluth, splitting the two game series with the talented Bulldogs. Johnson's Badgers can take some confidence from their 2-1 victory over nationally ranked No. 2 UMD, into their game against New Hampshire
Other than a 4-1 loss against UMD and an exhibition loss to the Brampton (Ontario) Thunder, the Badgers have been resilient, winning four games in a very rigorous road trip through upstate New York and Canada. Perhaps the momentum from these impressive performances can carry over into this weekend's series.
UNH is coming off a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Minnesota. The Badgers will not let this substantial Wildcat loss give them false confidence. UNH is a lightning-quick squad that has several women who find the net regularly.
""They are a very fast squad; we're looking for a total team effort to contain them,"" junior forward Steph Boeckmann said.
The dynamo for the Wildcats has been standout junior forward Carolyn Gordon. So far this season, Gordon has scored 14 goals. Defensively, New Hampshire is anchored by the TPS Louisville Player of the Week, senior goalkeeper Jen Huggon.
The implications of this weekend's series go well beyond simply winning or losing.
UW has a chance to prove its mettle by playing a similar team to it's own. A successful outing against New Hampshire would help propel Paulsen and Co. in the national rankings and give them a shot of confidence for the rest of the season.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter