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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Wisconsin Mens Hockey vs Michigan State

Series preview: Badgers seek vengeance against Buckeyes in Big Ten quarterfinal

Despite clear advantages on paper, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team has a tough matchup in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

The No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team will face The Ohio State Buckeyes in a best-of-three Big Ten quarterfinal series at the Kohl Center in Madison this weekend.

The first two games will be at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. A third tiebreaker game will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday if necessary.

The Badgers should have plenty of motivation to win the series beyond hopes of advancing to the semifinals. The Buckeyes previously notched a shocking two-game series sweep against the Badgers on Feb. 17 and 18. 

Those losses had significant implications for the Big Ten regular season championship, which the Badgers narrowly lost to the Spartans earlier this month. That thought is no doubt lingering in the Badgers’ minds this weekend as they seek their vengeance against the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin is favored to win the series. The Badgers smashed the Buckeyes at home when they first met in December 2023, and the Buckeyes are last in the Big Ten with a paltry 4-18-2 conference record and 12-18-4 overall record. They also enter with a three-game losing streak and have only won four away games all season.

However, the Badgers were also favored to win the series against the Buckeyes in February before losing both games. It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong for Wisconsin, but complacency and comfort may have played a factor. Despite Ohio State’s poor record, every hockey team is a force to be reckoned with, and there’s very little chance the Badgers take them for granted again.

Both teams will no doubt be playing with extra fire this weekend as the Badgers hunt revenge for their earlier misdoings, while the Buckeyes will look to upset the No. 5 team in the nation for a third  — or even fourth — game this season. 

Wisconsin will advance to a single-elimination semifinal game on March 13 against the winner of the Minnesota-Penn State series with a series win over the Buckeyes. 

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Ian Wilder

Ian Wilder is a Sports Editor and former senior staff writer for The Daily Cardinal. He’s formerly covered the men’s hockey beat, state politics and features. Follow him on Twitter at @IanWWilder.

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