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Michigan hockey heads to Madison to take on the Badgers

The Wolverines look to build momentum against lowly Wisconsin.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: DEC 08 Minnesota at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 5 ranked Michigan Wolverines returned to health and form last weekend against previously unbeaten Harvard. Michigan left the weekend undefeated (one tie, one win), and earned four key points in the standings. Now they hit the road for two games to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.

Wisconsin has started the year with a 6-8 record, including an abysmal 0-6 record in Big Ten play.

The Badgers have struggled on both ends of the ice, but especially on offense. Currently, Wisconsin is led by freshman forward Cruz Lucius (6 G, 5 A, 11 P), who, if nothing else, has one of the best names in the country. Cruz is the only double-digit points scorer for the Badgers.

In net, Jared Moe has developed into a very solid goaltender. Moe is 5-6 on the season, but boasts a .917 save percentage, good enough for just outside of the top 30 in the country. If Moe had more consistent support in front of him, he could be one of the top goaltenders in the Big Ten.

Keys to the game

  • Stay focused. Wisconsin may be one of the worst teams in the conference, but still feature a sweep over a decent Minnesota Duluth team on its resume. The Wolverines are notorious for blowing leads, so this must be a habit-building series of finishing off opponents.
  • Keep Portillo hot. Portillo was benched in game one last weekend in favor of birthday boy Noah West. Michigan tied game one and dominated in game two with Erik Poritllo back between the pipes. Portillo stopped 39-of-40 shots and finally flashed the form he displayed most of last season. If the Swede is back to where he was in 2021 or has even taken a step forward, Michigan will have no problem sweeping the Badgers.
  • Depth. Depth. Depth. Michigan’s deep arsenal of goal-scoring production was on display against Harvard last weekend. While the Wolverines are unarguably less talented at the top of the roster this year, they might be deeper in their third and fourth lines. It is important to keep these players engaged with significant ice time to make this offense potent across any line combination they skate out there.
  • Winning Sweep. Two victories this weekend would bring the Wolverines back to .500 in conference play before next weekend’s colossal matchup with rival Michigan State. Michigan must beat up on bad teams and not let up in order to contend for a conference championship or a national championship. Time to make a statement.

Game 1

When: Friday, Dec. 2, 8 p.m. EST

Where: Madison, Wisconsin, Kohl Center

How to watch: Bally Sports Detroit; BIG+

How to listen: Varsity Podcast Network

Game 2

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 5 p.m. EST

Where: Madison, Wisconsin, Kohl Center

How to watch: Bally Sports Detroit; BIG+

How to listen: Varsity Podcast Network