After traveling all the way to the West Coast to open their season, the Badgers travel to south Florida this weekend for games against Florida International and Florida Atlantic. The Badgers take on Florida International in Miami on Friday night before traveling to Coral Gables, Fla. to face Florida Atlantic.
Last weekend, the Badgers managed to split two matchups despite being outshot by a combined 23-7 against Santa Clara and UC-Irvine. Even in a 2-1 vicotry over Santa Clara, the Broncos outshot UW 5-3. However, so far this season, the difference for the Badgers has been their accuracy. Though the sample size is small, so far the Badgers have put 28.6 percent of their total shots on frame while holding their opponents to an 8.7 percent clip.
This weekend will provide another challenge for new UW coach John Trask. Trask, who takes over this season after Todd Yeagley left to accept the head coaching job at the University of Indiana, is the third head coach in three years for the Badgers.
With so much change in the coaching staff recently, the job of senior midfielder and tri-captain John Rzepka even more important. Rzepka missed a good portion of last season with an injury, but he came back and played well late in the season as the Badgers made a run at a Big Ten championship. Rzepka shares the captain duties with senior defenseman Aaron Nichols and senior goaltender Ryan Vint.
Vint has big shoes to fill this year, as he replaces departed senior Alex Horwath. Horwath started 17 games last year and recorded a clean sheet four times. Vint is off to a good start so far, with a solid 83.3 save percent so far.
Through two games, Florida International (1-1) has experienced the same low scoring results as Wisconsin. Playing in Chicago, Ill. last weekend, FIU defeated Illinois-Chicago 1-0 in double overtime and then lost 1-0 against DePaul. Wisconsin will have to find a way to stop sophomore forward Sebastian Frings, who scored a team best nine goals and racked up 19 points last season.
Sunday's opponent, Florida Atlantic, has struggled to slow opponents down so far this year. In two games, the Owls have already given up six goals, though four did come in a 4-0 loss against No. 9 Florida.
If the Badgers can find some consistency on offense and continue to get solid play from Vint in net, a second weekend on the road might look more promising.
—uwbadgers.com contributed to this report.