Men's Hockey

Badgers look to control Penn State's explosive offense in tournament matchup

A chaos-filled end to regular season play drastically changed the Big Ten Tournament bracket before Saturday’s action. 

After a thrilling 4-3 win over the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, No. 5 seed Wisconsin (9-10-5 Big Ten, 13-16-5 overall) is headed to University Park, Pennsylvania to kick off a best-of-three series against No. 4 seed Penn State (11-12-1, 19-13-2) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. 

The Nittany Lions are coming off a 3-2 victory over No. 16 Notre Dame in South Bend that gave them home ice against the Badgers. Sophomore forwards Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt both grabbed a goal against the Fighting Irish and will look to continue their scoring form this Friday at the Pegula Ice Arena.

Wisconsin fans will be hoping for the return of star freshman defenseman K’Andre Miller, who has missed the last six games due to a left leg injury sustained in a 4-1 loss to Ohio State. Miller’s defensive prowess will be especially important against a Penn State team that leads the nation this season with 4.62 goals per game. 

Head-to-head this season Wisconsin has a slight edge over the home team with a 2-1-1 record. However, to get another win the Badgers will need to be sharp from puck drop as the Nittany Lions are 13-3-0 when scoring first this year. 

On the other side of the rink, senior forward Seamus Malone and sophomore forward Linus Weissbach will look to take advantage of Penn State's porous defense which has allowed a Big Ten-high 3.71 goals per game. This parity in scoring offense and defense is contrasted by a Wisconsin team that ranks fifth in the conference in both categories with 3.06 scored and 3.44 allowed per game.

Wisconsin’s last matchup with the Nittany Lions, a series in which it captured a 7-3 win and suffered an 8-2 defeat, shows the volatility in both teams' play. The Badgers will need to stay attentive defensively and keep puck possession to avoid a repeat of their blowout loss.

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