ST PAUL, MN – MARCH 21: The helmets for the Wisconsin Badgers sit on the bench before the semifinal game of the Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Championship between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Penn State Nittany Lions on March 21, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Hockey: Series Preview vs. Michigan

Standings Update

Wisconsin hockey welcomes the Michigan Wolverines to the Kohl Center for a two-game series tonight and tomorrow (December second and third).

The Badgers come into this series with an overall record of 6-8, which includes a less-than-ideal 0-6 conference record.

However, Bucky is on a roll as of late.  They enter this matchup on a four-game win streak, including the most recent win being a 5-1 beatdown against Lindenwood.  This win is their biggest of the season so far.

Michigan hockey has been playing lights out so far this year and come into this matchup ranked number five in the nation.

Overall, Michigan comes into this Big Ten showdown ranked fourth in the Big Ten standings, whereas Wisconsin is bringing up the caboose.

Additionally, Michigan leads the all-time series with an 84-64-13 record.  This includes winning three of the four meetings between these two teams last year.


Wisconsin

Wisconsin hockey has gotten off to a slow start this year.

Before this four-game win streak, the Badgers only had two wins on the year.  These wins did come against a Minnesota Duluth team that was ranked 10th in the nation at that point, but the season up to this point hasn’t been ideal.

The overall trend of the team needs to improve in all facets of the game.  Wisconsin currently sits dead last in the Big Ten in goals scored per game and is also second to last in goals allowed per game (only ahead of Michigan).

With all this said, things could be turning around for Bucky, and there are a few bright spots to lean on.

Freshman forward Cruz Lucius has been playing very well.  Lucius is coming off a four-point effort against Lindenwood and currently leads the Badgers in goals and points with six and 11, respectively.

Fellow Freshman Tyson Jugnauth has also been showing signs of heating up.  The defenseman scored his first goal against Lindenwood and has points in three of the last four games.

The freshman class is a key to Bucky’s success this year, and if the rest of the team can follow Lucius and Jugnauth in heating up, the team could be in for a good little run.


Michigan

As previously mentioned, Michigan comes into this matchup as the fifth overall team in the nation and is currently playing stellar hockey.

Most recently, Michigan tied and beat a previously unbeaten Harvard team.

Goal scoring and the power play unit have been the catalyst for this Wolverine squad.  Michigan comes to Madison with the second-best scoring offense in the nation (4.13 goals per game) and the second-best powerplay unit (29.4% conversion rate).

On the flip side, Michigan is also last in the Big Ten in goaltending, allowing three goals per game.

Lastly, like Wisconsin, Michigan has been counting on production from its freshman class.  Adam Fantilli is second in the nation in points with 25 and is a player to watch on the opposing side during this series.


Summary

This series features two teams coming in with good spirits for different reasons.

Both teams have been scoring goals recently which should lead to high-scoring games.

For Wisconsin hockey to have a shot at winning, scoring chances will have to be capitalized on.  Michigan has been known to let pucks through this year, which needs to be the case this weekend as well.

Look for these games to be high-intensity, high-scoring, fun games.


Some other fun notes to wrap things up:

Friday night’s game will officially be Suter night.  This game will honor the contributions of the Suter family to Badger and Madison community hockey.

Saturday night’s game will feature a teddy bear toss.  Be ready to toss your teddy bear when the Badgers score their first goal!

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.  Both games can be watched live on Bally Sports Wisconsin Extra or on B1G+.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Alex Fletcher on Twitter @AlexFletcher920

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ST PAUL, MN – MARCH 21: The helmets for the Wisconsin Badgers sit on the bench before the semifinal game of the Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Championship between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Penn State Nittany Lions on March 21, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Hockey: Preview for the 2022-23 Season

Wisconsin Hockey is just around the corner.  The air is getting colder, and with it, comes a fresh start to the hockey season.  The Badgers should be happy starting from scratch, as last season did not turn out very well.  Wisconsin finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten with Penn State, and only better than one team, Michigan State.  This accumulated to a 10-24-3 overall record, with a conference record of 6-17-1.  A big reason for this is the goal scoring and goals allowed.  The Badgers allowed 96 goals, the most in the Big Ten, while only scoring 53 goals, second fewest in the Big Ten.  Not good.

Let’s take a look at how things are shaping up for the 2022-23 season:


Key Departures

  • Tyler Inamoto, D
  • Max Johnson, F
  • Roman Ahcan, F
  • Jesper Peltonen, D
  • Tarek Baker, F
  • Jake Martin, D
  • Josh Ess, D
  • Ryder Donovan, F
  • Cameron Rowe, G

Key Additions

  • Jack Horbach, F, Freshman
  • Robby Newton, F, Freshman
  • Ben Dexheimer, D, Freshman
  • Tyson Jugnauth, D, Freshman
  • Charlie Stramel, F, Freshman
  • Ty Smilanic, F, Junior
  • Kyle McClellan, G, Junior
  • Cruz Lucius, F, Freshman

Returning Players

  • Daniel Laatsch, D, Sophomore
  • Sam Stange, F, Junior
  • Corson Ceulemans, D, Sophomore
  • Shay Donovan, D, Senior
  • Zach Urdahl, F, Sophomore
  • Mike Vorlicky, D, Senior
  • Brayden Morrison, F Sophomore
  • Jack Gorniak, F, Graduate Student
  • Mathieu De St. Phalle, F, Junior
  • Owen Lindmark, F, Senior
  • Brock Caufield, F, Graduate Student
  • Carson Bantle, F, Junior
  • Caden Brown, F, Sophomore
  • Liam Malmquist, F, Sophomore
  • Anthony Kehrer, D, Junior
  • Dominick Mersch, F, Graduate Student
  • Luke Lamaster, D, Junior
  • Ben Garrity, G, Junior
  • Jared Moe, G, Senior

Departing Coaches

  • Mark Strobel, Associate Head Coach

Coaching Additions

  • Andy Brandt, Assistant Coach

Returning Coaches

  • Tony Granato, Head Coach
  • Mark Osiecki, Associate Head Coach
  • Brad Winchester, Volunteer Assistant Coach
  • Paul Valukas, Strength & Conditioning
  • Andy Hrodey, Athletic Trainer
  • Nate LaPoint, Equipment Manager
  • Shane Connelly, Director of Hockey Operations
  • Paul Capobianco, Brand Communications
  • Zach Addamo, Video Coordinator / Assistant Director of Hockey Operations

Player Highlights

For the leaving players, there is a little offensive firepower that are departing.  Roman Ahcan had the seventh most points last season for the team, and Tarek Baker was fourth in the same statistic.  However, all players were in the negative for +/-, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

Additions to the team are where the excitement begins.  Defenseman Tyson Jugnauth of Toronto, Ontario joins the Badgers defense after a stellar season with the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL.  Jugnauth scored nine goals and assisted 41 times over a 52-game stretch, almost averaging a point per game.  He was also selected 100 overall in the 2022 NHL draft by the Seattle Kraken.  Not too shabby.

Another fourth-round draft selection in the 2022 NHL draft, drafted 124 overall by the Carolina Hurricanes, is Cruz Lucius.  Lucious joins Wisconsin Hockey as a forward from Lawrence, Kansas.  He buried 16 goals and assisted 17 times last season in 39 games across all competitions.  Again, almost a point per game.

However, the biggest prize has to be Charlie Stramel.  Stramel is a forward that comes from Rosemount, MN and is first draft eligible in the 2023 draft.  He’s currently projected to be a first-round selection and reaches as high as eight overall on some draft boards. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound forward netted 19 goals and assisted 25 times in 51 games across all competitions.

Wisconsin Hockey welcomes a few transfers this season as well.  Ty Smilanic comes over from Quinnipiac, where he scored 23 points in 41 games last year.  Kyle McClellan comes over from Mercyhurst, where he recorded a .932 save percentage.


Veterans and Coaching

On the bench, there was one coach departing and one addition.  Coach Andy Brandt joins the staff as an Assistant Coach.  Brandt comes from St. Norbert College, where he spent the last 5 years on the Green Knights’ bench.  The Wisconsin native helped lead the Green Knights to the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship.

On the flip side, Wisconsin Hockey saw Mark Strobel leave the program.  After 5 years with the program, Strobel resigned with two more years left on his contract.

The returning players should serve as a massive boost for a team looking to bounce back after an abysmal 2021-22 campaign.  There are three players about to kick-off their fifth year with the Badgers Hockey program.  There are players on this team with NHL draft capital.  The goaltending is handled by Jared Moe, who is returning after allowing 2.87 goals against average.  Head Coach Tony Granato is back for his sixth season.  Couple all this with the stellar freshman class and transfers, Wisconsin Hockey should be ready to rebound.


Expectations

Wisconsin Hockey has a tall task ahead of them.  Last year was terrible.  This is a team that had won the Big Ten regular season championship just two years ago.  The fall from that to the season last year was huge.

Coaching and scoring points are going to be the biggest reasons for a Badgers bounce back.  More pucks need to find the twine, and the coaches need to get this team playing sound hockey.  With the minimal changes to the roster and coaching staff, I believe this is doable.

For this team, I don’t think an expectation of a Big Ten championship is reasonable.  However, improvement is the goal here, and it can be done.  Realistically, if the freshman can come in and produce, I don’t see why this team can’t get back to above .500 for the season, and push for the third or fourth spot in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin Hockey drops the season opening puck against Ohio State on Friday, October 7.


Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Alex Fletcher on Twitter @AlexFletcher920

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin games for FREE by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

*Subscribe and listen to the BadgerNotes.com podcast (as seen on Apple, Google, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts).