Weekend Hockey Preview: Michigan State vs. No. 7 Wisconsin

With only three weekends left in the regular season the Michigan State Spartans (3-5-6-4) will face a tough challenge this weekend, traveling to take on the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (8-5-1-0) in Madison, Wis. The Badgers come into the series second in the Big Ten with 25 points, and ready to play their last home series of the season at the Kohl Center this Friday and Saturday.

The Michigan State Spartans are, as of this point, on the bubble. After picking up four out of five points against Penn State last weekend, the Spartans have clawed to within six points behind the Badgers and only one behind No. 10 Michigan and Ohio State (who hold the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the conference respectively). While a weekend sweep will be a daunting task, MSU has a chance to continue their late season push at Wisconsin’s expense.

Wisconsin is coming off of a split weekend series against the Buckeyes, and instead of focusing on chasing Minnesota, they have several teams looking to overtake them before season’s end. The Badgers are going to be riding an emotional wave this weekend as it is the last home series in their building. With nine seniors on the roster, they will want to give a huge performance in front of their home fans.

The Badgers are riding high and they know it. They were picked to win the Big Ten title in the pre-season, and they want to live up to that expectation. Both MSU and Wisconsin have strong a defensive corps led by top notch goaltenders, but the Badgers have had more success with their offense. In order to counter this veteran Badger team, defense will be key, and the Spartans will have to establish momentum early and often.

The Spartans have a perfect opportunity to surge ahead and add momentum to their late season drive. That is, if they can handle the Badgers.

Jason Ruff is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports