Erickson: Watch women’s hockey this weekend

first_imgFact 1: It’s the weekend.Fact 2: Men’s hockey and both basketball teams are out of town.So what are you going to do for entertainment this weekend besides hiking across campus in the freezing cold only to attend some crowded sauna of a party?Well if a good sports fix is needed that isn’t watching a mashup of the NFL’s best – or almost-best, considering no Packers (or Steelers, obviously) will be there – go to the women’s hockey games.The Wisconsin women’s hockey team is by far one of UW’s best teams, if not the best.This may be a bold statement, but for starters, the squad is the only UW team to win three national titles in the last five years and it could potentially be on its way to another.Through 26 games this season, the Badgers have only lost two and tied one. The tie came last weekend against reigning national champions Minnesota-Duluth. The Badgers earned the extra point in the tie, winning the shootout and inflating their lead in the WCHA to 12 points ahead of the Gophers.What other team can claim such a dominant form of success?The football team may come to mind, but we all know the heartbreak that season ended in. They also didn’t play championship caliber teams week-in and week-out.The hockey team’s dominance on the ice is not the only reason you should go to the games this weekend. No. 1 Wisconsin welcomes conference rival No. 4 Minnesota to the Kohl Center in what will be one of the squad’s final tests of the regular season.Not only is it a test for the Badgers, but it will also be one of the NCAA’s oldest rivalries played at its absolute finest.With intense emotions surrounding the game already due to the fierce rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Gophers are certainly hoping to spoil some of the Badgers’ success and head home with a couple of huge upsets favoring their record.Earlier in the season Minnesota handed Wisconsin it’s first loss in its very first road game. The following night, Wisconsin took the ice with a fury that lead it to a 5-0 win.It was a physical series – freshman forward Madison Packer got in the middle of a fight with some of the Minnesota players after her line mate and fellow forward Brittany Ammerman was decked by Minnesota goalie Noora R?ty.“I’m not the biggest player out there, but playing with Hilary [Knight] and Packer, I’m not too scared,” Ammerman said. “I’m going to keep going to the net and do what I want. If they want to throw punches at me, they can and they’ll get a penalty, I’m not going to fight back. It’s my first time home against our rival team. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be feisty and there are going to be punches thrown, I can guarantee that. But we’re a classy team, we’re disciplined and with maybe 10,000 fans here Saturday night, that’ll get a little crazy.”There is no other women’s hockey matchup that could be just as exciting as a men’s game.Sure, there’s no legal checking or as many fights, but the Badgers/Gophers rivalry itself sparks a lot of emotions, and both teams will get physical and a little dirty.Players on both sides will be playing as if for the national title. They might as well be.In the 10 years the NCAA title game has been played for women’s hockey, Minnesota and Wisconsin have made appearances a combined total of seven times, facing each other once – the Badgers won.Being two of the best teams in the nation, both squads want to end the other’s win streak and take bragging rights for the season. That’s how badly these teams want to beat each other.“I can imagine what the fans feel,” sophomore defenseman Saige Pacholok said. “As a player – I wouldn’t say hatred – but a deep desire to just beat them. Obviously we’ve had great games against them all the time. That makes it more exciting. I love the rivalry. I thrive off that stuff. I think we get more pumped up for the game.”While the rivalry alone could bring more than the approximate 2,000-person crowd the Badgers have been drawing to the Kohl Center this season, Wisconsin is hoping to fill the Kohl to the brim and show the Gophers what being a Badger is all about.With this goal in mind on Saturday night, students get in free and get a free t-shirt (while supplies last) and a chance to win a 150-dollar Best Buy gift card. General admission tickets are only a dollar for those who can’t seem to find their student I.D.For every fan in attendance, Becker Law Office will donate one dollar to Second Harvest. Non-perishable food items will be collected at the door donated, as well.Not only will you be entertained, you will also be helping a good cause.In the words of head coach Mark Johnson, “it’s a win-win situation.”Kelly is a sophomore intending to major in journalism. Will you help Fill the Bowl this weekend and show the Gophers what being a Badger is all about? Let her know at [email protected]last_img read more

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