As I mentioned with the Badger preview, this is a big series for the Sioux. Both teams are coming in and could possibly consider this a "must win" series. I was having a chit-chat with the WCHA Writer for USCHO and we both discussed the possiblities of what would happen with a Sioux sweep, a Badger sweep, or a split.
If the Sioux sweep, their season is back on track. The young guys will have more confidence, the goalie situation will be solidified, and the coaching staff will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. On the visiting side, the Badgers will be reeling badly. 0-7-1 is going to be tough to recover from, and we will probably be looking at the Badgers missing the NCAA's.
If the Badgers sweep, they can salvage their season. They will be able to say they the hardest part of their schedule is behind them and look forward to getting back home and their season on track. To the Sioux, looking at a 1-5-0 start, it looks grim, to say the least. The goaltender situation will be messy, the freshman and sophomores not really contributing, and the coaching staff will be scratching their heads wondering what went wrong thus far.
If a split happens, neither team is asking a lot of questions.
Now, my 3 reasons why the Sioux will sweep the Badgers:
1. They have figured out the powerplay. After going 1-22 heading into the 3rd period, the Sioux scored 3 of their goals on the powerplay. They also added a short hander to seal the deal in Mankato. Wisconsin takes a lot of penalties, so the Sioux should be able to capitalize
2. Ben Street is out. And for the season. A Wisconsin fan confirmed to me that Street has hurt his knee, most likely an ACL injury, and is out for the year. This is the one guy Wisconsin had returning that was going to save their season. Not anymore.
3. Connelly is shaky. He has let in a lot of soft goals and gets flustred easily.
The freshman and sophomores have to step up for the Sioux. The underclassman have yet to reach the scoreboard, sans Gregoire with an assist. Frattin and Trupp need to step up this weekend and have big games.
On the injury side, Matt Watkins should be in the lineup, as will the young Toews. Finley is still injured, and his status is at best questionable. If he's out, Ben Blood and Corey Fienhage should get significant playing time.