Men's Hockey

Badgers looking to get back on track defensively against Notre Dame

Without the services of star freshman defenseman K'Andre Miller, Wisconsin's defense will have to step up against the Fighting Irish.

Image By: Téalin Robinson

The struggling Badgers (5-8-5 Big Ten, 9-14-5 overall) travel to No. 15 Notre Dame (8-8-2 Big Ten, 15-10-3 overall) this weekend, hoping to snap a four-game winless streak.

Wisconsin has struggled to find its rhythm post-winter break, putting up an unsightly 1-8-2 record since Jan. 4. Offensively the Badgers haven’t preformed horribly, averaging almost 2.5 goals per game during the slump, but haven’t backed that up on the defensive end.

The Badgers have been conceding an average of four goals per game post-break. Neither junior goaltender Jack Berry nor freshman netminder Daniel Lebedeff have save percentages over .900, which puts both outside the top 50 goaltenders in the NCAA.

To make things worse for the Badgers, standout freshman defenseman K’Andre Miller was injured against Ohio State last Saturday and is doubtful to play.

Facing off against the Badgers are the No. 15 Fighting Irish, who have been mostly treading water post-break, going 4-5-2 since Dec. 31.

However, in their first meeting with the Badgers a month ago, Notre Dame came out of the weekend with a win and a tie, scoring eight goals over the two contests. They’ll be looking for more of that firepower this weekend, especially from freshman forward Michael Graham, who feasted on the Badger defense for four goals in those two games. 

If Wisconsin wants to get back on track and snap its winless streak, the defense will have to step up in front of whichever goaltender plays between the pipes. Whoever gets the call in goal for Wisconsin will have to be ready, mentally and physically to face a stout Notre Dame offensive unit. 

The defense will have to answer the call to a tough challenge as well, especially with Miller’s status in question, in order to stop the Irish from piling up goals.

Puck drop on Friday is set for 6 p.m., and Saturday is set for 5 p.m. Both can be seen on NBCSN.

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