Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Badger Showdown Primer

The Badger Showdown will take over the Kohl Center December 28th and 29th. In the first round, Wisconsin will face Colgate, while Bowling Green and Northeastern will also square off against one another.

Wisconsin's game notes indicate the Badger defensemen lead the nation in points, 3 ahead of Michigan State. Another interesting stat is that the Badgers are tied for second in the nation for goals scored in the third period with 27, showing the overall fitness level of the team is excellent. Three of the Badgers top five scorers are in Slovakia representing their country at the World Junior Championships. Kyle Turris is playing for Team Canada, while Blake Geoffrion and Jamie McBain are representing the United States. The Capital Times has the latest piece on what it means for these young men to represent their country in international play.

Looking at Colgate's (7-7-2; tied for last in the ECAC at 1-3-2) game notes from their last series, the only common opponents between the Raiders and the Badgers are Michigan State (6-3 & 2-1 losses for Colgate; a 4-4 tie for UW) and Robert Morris (4-3 & 5-0 wins for Colgate; 7-2 & 8-2 wins for UW). One of the "little things" the Badgers are going to need to do well is to win faceoffs. Colgate has won more faceoffs than their opponent in every game this season, while the Badgers are without their top two centers for the showdown as they are playing at the World Junior Championship.

Northeastern (7-4-2; Tied for first in Hockey East at 6-3-1) already has their game notes posted for the Badger Showdown and their first round matchup with Northeastern. Northeastern has very balanced scoring and Elliot Olshansky of CSTV is impressed with their goaltender, Brad Thiessen. Northeastern is currently #11 in the national rankings, two spots in front of UW. The only common opponent between the two teams is North Dakota (3-0 loss for Northeastern; 4-0 win & 3-1 loss for UW).

Bowling Green State University (8-6-0; 5-5-0 in the CCHA) returns 20 letterwinners and 78% of their points from last season according to their game notes for the series. The common opponents between UW & BGSU are Notre Dame (4-2 & 2-1 losses for BGSU; 4-1 win for UW) and Michigan (4-2 & 3-2 losses for BGSU; 3-2 loss for UW). Senior forward Derrick Whitmore leads the team in goals with 13, which is more than twice as many as the next leading goalscorer. Junior defenseman Derrick Schmidt is their leading playmaker with eleven assists. Bowling Green has two Freshmen that hail from Wisconsin in David Solway of Green Bay and Patrick Tiesling of Rhinelander.

College Hockey News has a preview of the Badger Showdown, as well as other holiday tournaments around the country.