The Wisconsin Men’s Hockey Team (25-10-4) earned the #1 seed in the West region by skating to a second place finish in the WCHA regular season. Tonight they open up their NCAA Tournament run against 4th seeded Vermont (17-14-7) at the XcelEnergy Center in St. Paul.
Vermont was the final team to earn an at-large bid into the tournament. The Badgers won’t take them lightly because of their record according to WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Brendan Smith. Smith says the win-or-go-home format forces you to take it game-by-game:
The other big factor in the win-or-go-home format of the NCAA tournament is the goaltender. Hobey Baker Award Finalist Blake Geoffrion is aware that a wall between the pipes can end a season quickly:
The winner of #1 Wisconsin and #4 Vermont draws the winner of #2 St. Could State (25-13-5) and #3 Northern Michigan (20-12-8) for a trip to the Frozen Four in Detroit.
The Badgers have not seen the Catamounts on the ice since 1996. Tonight’s face-off is 8pm. The game is being broadcasted on ESPNU.