The Wisconsin Badger hockey team opens play this afternoon in the Big Ten Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The sixth-seeded Badgers (8-18-8, 3-13-4-2 Big Ten), winners of two of their last three games, skate in the opening game of the tournament, taking on the third-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions (20-12-4, 10-9-1-1 Big Ten), which has dropped three straight games and four of its last five.
The two teams met in a series March 4-5 at the Kohl Center, splitting the series. Penn State won 2-1 the first night, with UW winning the series finale 4-3.
Penn State holds a 3-1-0 series advantage, with a pair of one-goal wins and a one-goal loss. One of the PSU victories came in overtime.
The Badgers won three straight in the WCHA Tournament in 2013 to gain a spot in the NCAA Tournament field. They’ll need to do the same this year if they hope to extend their season into the NCAA’s.
The winner today will take on Michigan in the Big Ten semifinals on Friday. The Wolverines received a bye in the opening round.
Wisconsin has had great success at the Xcel Energy Center of late, owning an eight-game winning streak in the building. That streak includes two wins on the way to the 2014 Big Ten Tournament title, three victories on the way to the 2013 WCHA Final Five championship, and a pair of wins for the 2010 NCAA West Regional title. The Badgers last loss in the building came in the semifinals of the 2010 WCHA Final Five.
The entire 2016 Big Ten Tournament will air live on BTN and stream on the BTN2Go app and at BTN2Go.com.