Men’s hockey: Badgers travel to Columbus for weekend series with Buckeyes

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s hockey team travels to Columbus, Ohio this weekend for a late season matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Badgers are playing their first away series since mid-January while the Buckeyes are hosting their final home series in Columbus this season.Wisconsin (6-15-7, 1-10-3 Big Ten) is trying to end a four-game winless streak to Michigan and Michigan State in hopes of finishing the season strong. The Badgers haven’t won a game in conference since early December and could use a victory to boost their confidence heading into the Big Ten tournament. The team is now in dead last in conference standings for the second year in a row, but is hoping to play spoiler from here on out.The Buckeyes (9-17-2, 4-8-2 Big Ten) are coming off a big 7-4 beat down win over No. 16 ranked Penn State in State College and are poised to pick up two final home wins before traveling to play top-ranked rival Michigan in Ann Arbor. Ohio State is now No. 5 in the Big Ten behind Michigan State by only one point, making this series crucial for them to make the jump into the top four.The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. CT Friday and 6:30 Saturday. Friday’s game is covered on the Big Ten Network.Wisconsin keys to victoryPlay through their captains: There are very few upperclassmen leaders on this team, but the few that are have been relatively unproductive as of late. If Wisconsin wants to get the best out of the young talent they have, the older guys like Grant Besse and Eddie Wittchow need to set an example. It is crucial the Badgers play through them or they will continue to lose close games down the stretch.Capitalize on opportunities: The final note to help the Badgers to victory stems from their inability to put the puck in the back of the net. Whether that is from a lack of confidence or inexperience, Wisconsin has too much talent to be going long periods of time without scoring. The opportunities have been there all season, but no individual has stepped up to show the team how it’s done. If they want to match the quick Ohio State offense, they’ll have to capitalize on more wide open chances.Ohio State player to watch: Junior forward Nick SchilkeyThe Buckeye to keep an eye on this weekend is Nick Schilkey. The shot-happy upperclassman was named the Big Ten Preseason Player to Watch for the second straight season this year and is a former Big Ten All-Freshman Team honoree. Schilkey leads the team in points and goals with 30 and 14, while also coming in third in shooting percentage (.133).The Michigan-native crossed state borders for the Buckeyes as one of the most highly touted recruits. His aggressiveness on offense has and continues to be a concern for the Badgers, who have struggled with that type of player all season. Schilkey notched four points in the last game against the Badgers with a goal and an assist. Watch for him to shoot pretty consistently in his last series in front of the Buckeye faithful this season.last_img

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