Feb. 5, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- After months of preparation and anxious waiting, it's finally here. This Saturday, the Wisconsin men's hockey (15-7-4, 11-6-3 WCHA) team will move outside to take on the Michigan Wolverines (16-12-1, 11-9-1 CCHA) and attempt to avenge an early-season 3-2 loss in Ann Arbor, Mich. Though non-conference, the game carries huge implications in regards to the PairWise rankings, which mimic NCAA tournament selections.
This will be the Badgers' last non-conference matchup of the regular season, as four more conference series separate them from the end of the regular season. Thus far, the Badgers pitch a 4-1-1 record against non-conference opponents.
The weather forecast show a high of 27 degrees and cloudy skies, with temperatures expected to remain hear that high through much of the afternoon and early evening hours.
The Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic will mark the second time playing outdoors for both teams in the modern era of college hockey. The Badgers defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-2, in 2006 on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Michigan skated to a 3-3 tie against Michigan State in the Cold War back in 2001.
Though the Badgers have some experience playing outdoors, only one current player has ever laced up the skates outside. Senior tri-captain Ben Street (Coquitlam, British Columbia) reminisced on his presence in the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic.
"It's going to be awesome. I can't even describe it at all. Being a senior, a captain, but just a guy who loves the game, it can't get any better than this. I remember playing in Green Bay, and it was just unbelievable," stated Street.
As a team, Wisconsin boasts the second-highest scoring team in the nation with a 3.88 goals-per-game average. The Badgers lead the nation with 101 goals scored. The Badgers also lead the nation with a 1.50 goals-per-game scoring margin, and are tied for ninth in the country with their 2.38 goals-against-per-game mark.
A huge contributor to the scoring has been junior defenseman Brendan Smith (Mimico, Ontario). His 31 points are tops among the nation's defensemen. Smith ranks fifth in the WCHA in all games in scoring. His 22 points in WCHA play are tied for fifth in the league. Smith's 31 points from the blue line are three better than the next closest defenseman in the country, while his 10 goals are tops among blue liners. He has 10 points more than the next WCHA rear guard.
Junior goaltender Scott Gudmandson (Sherwood Park, Alberta) is on an eight-game unbeaten streak and is 5-0-3 during the stretch. He played in two additional games during the streak, but was not the goalie of record in either game.
A live Web cam and time-lapse video of the rink construction project are available at UWBadgers.com.
The 800 free public skate tickets for Friday, Feb. 5 on the Camp Randall Stadium ice were gone in 15 minutes when made available on Monday, Jan. 25.
Ice Rink Events created the rink inside Camp Randall Stadium, with the help of SGA Production Staging. Plymouth Foam out of Plymouth, Wis., supplied the field-fitted foam base for the ice surface.
The Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic on Saturday, February 6, features double-header collegiate hockey action. The Wisconsin women's hockey team faces Bemidji State at 2 p.m. followed by the Wisconsin men's hockey team which faces Michigan at 5 p.m. Tickets are available including discounted group and youth hockey team ticket packages.
For more information on the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic including stories, videos and photos leading up to the event click here.