This weekend's Jan. 1 meeting with Northeastern marks the first New Year's Day game for the UW women's hockey team in program history. The closest Wisconsin has ever been to playing a game on the first of the year came in 2008 when the Badgers topped Minnesota State, 4-1, on the road Jan. 4. UW also played an exhibition game against the U.S. national team on Jan. 2, 2009.
Wisconsin is 7-3-1 in its first game of a new calendar year in 11 seasons of women's hockey. The 11 games include six WCHA matches (3-3-0) and two games each with Hockey East (1-0-1) and ECAC foes (2-0-0).
UW's game against Northeastern to kick off the 2011 calendar year is the second time the Badgers will face the Huskies in their first game of a new year. Wisconsin tied Northeastern, 1-1 in overtime, in a college hockey showcase sponsored by the California Selects Amateur Hockey Association in Lakewood, Calif., Jan. 10, 2004.
Let's take a look back at all of the Badgers' first games after turning the calendar to a new year.
In its first season of women's hockey in 1999-2000, Wisconsin played the U.S. national team to kick off the new millennium, falling 12-0 in an exhibition game on Jan. 8, 2000. The Badgers fell to Minnesota Duluth, 6-3, in their first real game of 2000.
The 2001 calendar year saw Wisconsin defeat Providence, 2-1, in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Badgers also played the U.S. national team and fell 4-0 in the second game of the tournament Jan. 7-8, 2001.
Wisconsin opened 2002 with a series at Minnesota Duluth, Jan. 6-7, 2002. The Badgers swept the top-ranked Bulldogs, 3-1 and 3-2.
To open 2003, UW topped then-No. 5 St. Lawrence, 2-1, on the road in Canton, N.Y., on Jan. 7. The team then posted a 5-0 win at McGill in an exhibition game Jan. 8, 2003.
During the 2003-04 season, the Badgers were idle for over a month. After defeating Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, on Dec. 6, 2003, UW did not hit the ice again until Jan. 10-11, 2004 for a series against Northeastern in a college hockey showcase sponsored by the California Selects Amateur Hockey Association in Lakewood, Calif. The teams tied both games in overtime, 1-1 and 2-2.
Wisconsin swept Quinnipiac, winning 7-0 and 4-0, in its first series of 2005 on the road in Hamden, Conn., Jan. 7-8.
UW topped Wayne State in a pair of games to open 2006. The Badgers skated to a 5-3 victory Jan. 6, 2006 and followed up with a 3-0 win for the series sweep Jan. 7.
The 2006-07 year saw the Badgers kick off 2007 with a sweep at then-No. 5 Minnesota. Wisconsin posted a 4-1 win on Jan. 5 and a 3-0 shutout Jan. 6.
Minnesota State was Wisconsin's first opponent of 2008, and UW swept the Mavericks on the road, 4-1 and 3-1, Jan. 4-5, 2008.
The Badgers hosted the U.S. national team to kick off the new year in both 2009 and 2010. Last year, Wisconsin faced off against Team USA at the Kohl Center Jan. 5, 2010. The previous year, the Badgers upset the U.S. Select Team, 3-2, at the Kohl Center in their lone exhibition game of the season.
In the team's first real game of 2009, Minnesota Duluth defeated UW, 4-0 on the road; Wisconsin fell to North Dakota 3-1 in its first actual game of 2010 on Jan. 8.
The Badgers look to start 2011 off right and break a two-game losing skid in first games of the calendar year with a win over Northeastern to open the Easton Holiday Showcase in St. Cloud, Minn., this Saturday.