Jan. 21, 2011
MADISON, Wis. -- In preparation for this weekend's games, UWBadgers.com caught up with sophomore defenseman Stephanie McKeough (Carlsbad Springs, Ontario) to get her take on the Badgers' series against No. 6 Minnesota Duluth at the new AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn.
Q: Are you excited to play in a new rink for the first time?
McKeough: Yeah, definitely. Minnesota Duluth has obviously had the opportunity to practice there, so if we could go in there and get some wins it would be even better because we will have beaten them in their brand new barn.
Q: How is the team preparing to play on a smaller ice surface?
McKeough: Well today we pushed the nets off the crease a little so when we were doing breakout drills we had less room behind the net, or when we were doing 3-on-2 down low drills the forwards had less room to cycle down low.
Q: What makes this such a special rivalry between the two teams?
McKeough: I think that each school wants to prove that they are better. Obviously it depends on each team, but with Minnesota Duluth we both just really want to hand it to the other one. And a lot of it is on the older girls too, having lost their national championship in Duluth, so that might even sting a little more for them every time they lose. Every time we can get in there and help the older girls get some revenge on them it's good, and it's fun competition.
Q: What do you think the mentality is like for Minnesota Duluth?
McKeough: Obviously they're going to want to come out hard. They lost both of their games last weekend, so every game they play is going to be tough competition. They want to beat us, and we want to beat them. I think that especially having just lost two games and because they're playing us and we're No. 1, I think they really want to prove to the rest of the NCAA that they're a good team and they shouldn't have lost some of the games that they did. But we just need to come out and be strong mentally and be strong physically and show them what we work on in practice.
Q: Is there anything in particular that the team has to watch out for or that you are preparing for against Minnesota Duluth?
McKeough: They have some really talented players, including a few who played on some national teams, so we have to look out for them. We have to give them respect on the ice. They're a good team and we don't want to have a close game with them. But if we can beat them handily by taking away some of their key players then that would be part of our game plan.
The top-ranked Badgers travel to Duluth for a weekend series against the No. 6 Bulldogs. Both Friday and Saturday's games will start at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can follow the action live with the Gameday Blog.