After appearing in eight of their last 10 road games – and scoring a 1-7 record there – the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team doesn’t have to leave the state to play for nearly two months.
The next 10 regular season games include eight at the Kohl Center, starting with non-conference games against Clarkson at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. UW is also hosting the Holiday Face-Off in Milwaukee on December 28-29.
Here are five things to know about the games between the Badgers (4-10) and the Golden Knights (7-4-2):
No more sacrifices sought
Coach Tony Granato identified two shortcomings as contributing to the Badgers’ worst penalty kill (61%). One was a deficiency in blocking fire, and the numbers prove that to be true.
When they got the eighth best penalty last season (86%), the Badgers blocked 34% of the opponent’s shot attempts. That has fallen to 26% this season.
“We have to go back to the basics and the fundamentals to understand that when you’re outnumbered it has to be the sacrifice of being in a position to block shots over and over again,” said Granato.
“Last year we were much more consistent in our blockades. We were a lot more consistent when we got a puck, we took it down to 200 feet. There were little things in our PK that were exceptional last year that we were very negligent about (this year) and that we will have to improve on in order for the numbers to improve.