Wisconsin Badgers heating up as Big Ten tournament approaches
With eight wins in their last 10 games, the Wisconsin Badgers are catching fire at the right time with just two games remaining in their regular season slate.
The Badgers lead the Big Ten in points with 46, but trail Minnesota in the standings points percentage wise which will ultimately be the determining factor in the playoff standings should teams finish the season with an unbalanced number of games.
Minnesota has played two less games than the Badgers after having a weekend set with Penn State postponed earlier this month. The two schools hope to have the games rescheduled and played prior to the start of the Big Ten tournament on Mar. 14.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot,” said forward Cole Caufield. “One of our goals is to be good going into the postseason. As long as we’re still having success, working hard, keeping that same mindset we’ve had all year I think we’ll be fine the rest of the way.”
The Badgers have put themselves into a good spot in large part thanks to one of the nation’s top offenses, led by Caulfield himself.
The sophomore leads the country in goals with 22 and points in 42 as of Mar. 1. Teammates Linus Weissbach and Dylan Halloway sit third and fourth in the nation respectively in points with 35 and 33.
“When our team is doing well, people are getting on the board and they go hand and hand. As long as we keep this up, guys get confidence going into the postseason, especially next weekend too with a big weekend ahead of us, gain some confidence and keep going,” Caulfield added.
Another key behind the Badgers success has been their dynamic duo between the pipes in Robbie Beydoun and freshman Cameron Rowe.
“We know if we play our game we can win and that’s what it comes down to. Going into this weekend, it’s a big weekend for us,” said Rowe. “We’ve got to take it one game a time and keep doing what we’re doing. I think that’s been the formula to success for us as the year has gone on.”
After allowing a season high five goals in a shootout loss to Notre Dame on Feb. 20, Rowe bounced back Saturday with a 21-save performance, his second shutout of the season.
“It was huge, I think that you just got to take it one game at a time,” Rowe said of bouncing back.
“Even after [Saturday], whatever the next game is, it’s a new slate and it doesn’t matter what happened in the past. Yeah, you have momentum going into it, but it’s just another game you have to prepare for the same way as any other one.”
Among the 16 freshman goalies that have appeared in eight or more games this season, Rowe leads the pack with a 1,77 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
Rowe and Beydoun have alternated starts for a little over a month now.
“We’ve done enough to set ourselves up to be in a really good position heading into the last weekend of the regular season,” Badgers coach Tony Granato said. “Everybody in our locker room has been part of something special so far. We just want to keep this rolling.”
The Badgers conclude their regular season slate this coming weekend with a back-to-back set against Michigan State.