The Wisconsin men's hockey team hits the road this weekend for a WCHA series against St. Cloud State.
The Badgers are coming off a six-game home stand in which they won five of six games, sandwiching a series split with Minnesota between sweeps of New Hampshire and Alaska-Anchorage.
Over that period, the Badgers received offensive production from different sources and showed the potential for big goal totals on just about any night.
Over the last three weeks, the Badgers averaged 4.5 goals per game and outscored their opponents 27-10. Half of those 10 goals allowed came on one night against Minnesota in a 5-2 loss.
No team can score goals without shooting the puck and, so far this season, nobody has done it more than the Badgers. Wisconsin leads the nation in shots on goal, racking up an average of 39.4 per game. On the other side, the Badgers rank second in the nation in fewest shots allowed, giving up only 21.8 per game.
Part of the reason the Badgers find themselves in the nation's elite in many statistical categories is the depth of their roster. So far this season, 19 players have tallied goals, another stat that leads the country.
Head coach Mike Eaves and his staff have been in the position to sit any player who is not producing, because they have so many capable options. Veterans such as senior forward John Mitchell and junior forwards Pat Johnson and Sean Dolan have been healthy scratches for games this year, a testament to the quality players Wisconsin has from top to bottom.
That depth is evident on the defensive side as well. Not only does Wisconsin's group of defensemen rank third in the nation in scoring at 3.5 points per game, but the coaching staff continued to use two goalies last weekend against Alaska-Anchorage.
After outscoring the Seawolves 11-2, the Badgers hit the road for only the second time this season. Their opponent, St. Cloud State, is 4-4-2 overall and 3-2-1 in WCHA play. The Huskies host Wisconsin after two weekends on the road. They earned two splits, first with Michigan Tech and then last weekend with North Dakota.
Similar to the Seawolves last weekend, St. Cloud is not exactly a high-powered offensive team, ranking near the bottom of the WCHA in scoring. However, they are a physical, defensive team and will make the Badgers work for their scoring chances.
The Badgers enter the weekend tied for third in the WCHA with Minnesota-Duluth and Denver at nine points. North Dakota currently leads the conference with 13 points, and Colorado College is second with 11.