In their final regular season series of 2017-’18, the No.1 Wisconsin Badgers 18-2-2-0 WCHA, 27-3-2-0 overall ) face off against the No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-6-3-0, 20-8-3) in a home Border Battle.
In the previous Border Battle held in Minneapolis, the Badgers came away with two wins. Both games were tightly contested, as the teams were separated by only two goals throughout the weekend. Wisconsin took the first game 3-2, and the second game in overtime by a score of 2-1.
Minnesota and Wisconsin both enter the weekend with recent disappointing losses. The Gophers are 4-3-1 in their past eight games, while the Badgers are 1-2-1 in their past four. Each team will be playing their best in an effort to end the regular season on a high note with a sweep against an archrival.
The two games this Friday and Saturday are the last two regular season home games for Wisconsin’s current seniors. Although they may have been apprehensive about playing against Minnesota for their recognition night, some of the seniors have decided to embrace the challenge.
“I’m actually thankful for it because I think it’ll give everybody a reason to play harder,” senior defenseman Lauren Williams recently told madison.com. “I know it’s going to give me a reason to play harder. I want to kick some butt in LaBahn for the last weekend.”
Williams will be honored along with co-captains and forwards Baylee Wellhausen and Claudia Kepler in a pregame ceremony on Saturday.
Would-be seniors Annie Pankowski and Emily Clark both forfeited the year in order to try to compete for the United States and Canada, respectively, at the Olympics. Pankowski, however, was cut in late-fall, while Clark made the Canadian roster. Maddie Rolfes, although technically a senior this season, is currently applying for a medical redshirt and could be back with the team for next season.
The Badgers already clinched the WCHA regular-season title during their series last week against Minnesota-Duluth. They will have a bye for the first round of the playoffs and meet the winner of the fourth and fifth-place quarterfinal game in the semifinals of the WCHA tournament in Minneapolis.