Tag Archives: Border Battle

Like You Were There: Tweet Recap

Gophers v. Badgers. Here. We. Go. We are going to use your Tweets, as they happen, to crowdsource this recap. The Gophers are on a disappointing 3 game losing streak. The Badgers are fresh off disappointing losses to Iowa and MSU. Both teams are desparate for a win. Should be a good one.

15:40: @AmeliaRayno nailed it “Well this is fun, let’s just shoot 3-pointers all day.”

Both teams are running completely inept offenses. Both run clock and then jack up a desperation three. Big 10 Basketball ladies and gentlemen!! Amelia, you might be my favorite Strib ink-stained wretch, but this should not surprise you.

13:30: @DanaLitman “I guess these teams are only allowed to score three pointers”

Seriously. Maverick Ahmnisi comes off the bench and hits two big threes. But both teams are showing a serious lack of offense right now. Is Mbakwe afraid of Berggren?? That is the only explanation I have for him not making any plays. This same thing happened in the Northwestern game. Mbakwe dominated for stretches of that game, but he just disappeared when the Gophers needed him most.

11:09: @mtperka “I’m too sober to be watching this team (Gophers) right now”

I agree.

10:53: @alnen32 “Great seal by Trevor. #Gophers need to pount it down low”

Could not agree more. Mbakwe finally realizes he has a day-walker (Brusewitz) on him and goes right at the rim. If the Gophers are going to win, they need to continue feeding the 6th year senior.

8:43: @KVanDeWalker “Did Rodney Williams make the trip to the Kohl Center? Waiting for him to show up”

Oh, he is here. He has already jacked up two TEWIBLE shots, one of which was very early in the shot clock. He just grabbed a big offensive rebound. That gives him a chance to do  something the Gophers have struggled with the last few games: makes free throws. He proceeds to make one of two. !?$?@?!@$?%

5:55: @GophersNow “Nice feed inside from Austin Hollins to Eliason for the basket. Almost thought the big fella woul fumble it  but good catch.”

The funny thing about Eliason is that he played really well in Mbakwe’s absence last year. He looks to be in good shape, maybe even a little bigger than last year. And yet, Tubby has him getting very few minutes. If he continues to play well off the bench, his minutes should increase.

4:34: @mtperka “Wow. Comparing Eliason to Zeller. I have heard it all”

Yeah, let’s not go crazy. For a minute there, I thought PA might have kidnapped the BTN color guy.

2:21: @KeelynP “Someone needs to stay in that Decker kid.”

Could not have missaid it better myself! As always, Gophers fail to close out defensively at the three point line and Dekker makes them pay. Someone needs to be in that kid’s pocket for the rest of the day. I am having flashbacks to the Northwestern game. Skinny white boys knocking down threes have been this teams Achilles heel.

HALF: @zmotalk “Another bad game by the #Gophers yikes time for tuby to go.” @mnglorydays “If Tubby can’t win with this #Gophers team, he absolutely has to go. Find a young guy that can build a program and wants to step up to B10.” @brennentoq “Its tubbys famous “stand around and hope somebody else makes a play” offense.”

Not hard to figure out the sentiment of the fans. And those are just the cleanest of the reactions we saw.

Unfortunately, they are right. If the Gophers cannot figure out how to capitalize on its most talented team in nearly 15 years, there will need to be a change. I know the practices facilities are less than great. And our students have to pretend to go to classes in subzero weather, but those are really poor excuses. Nebraska has a world class practice facility and I do not see them making serious noise on the national stage.

19:18: @AmeliaRayno “Only 5 turnovers for the Gophers in the first half — but they had the same number at Northwestern last game and then blew up in 2nd.”

Come on Amelia!! Cannot be so negativ…never mind.

18:45: @the realstecks “This game is not even worth watching. No scoring, missed dunks, turnovers, etc.”

Uh-oh, we are losing them. Hopefully the team has a little more confidence than the fans and beat writers.

17:54: @JBBauer612 “Only way Mbakwe might get touches is via offense rebounds. #Gophers need to feed that man inside and let him score.”

Stop me if you have heard this one before. Mbakwe is hustling to make plays on the offensive glass. He, quite literally, nearly broke his back. But all to no avail. Gophers trail by 2.

17:04: @DeepDish34 “Oh, now I see why Mo Walker never plays. He has been seriously bad this season for the #Gophers.”

Yeah, Mo has some talent, but he is about 35 pounds too big. He cannot move his feet quickly enough on defense. And he often times looks lost in terms of who he should be guarding. That said, he has shown flashes on the offensive end. I still think Eliason is the better sub for Tubby right now. He has been a spark for this team today.

16:34: @bs_wayne “@GophersNow let’s just be glad Mo is back on the pine.”

Well, Brandon, not sure we need to rub it in.

15:04: @bnmnetp “crazy officiating! #gophers so inconsistent from first to second half.”

I tend to agree. How is it possible that the Gophers are already in the penalty. They have not changed their style of play. Calling a lot of touch fouls, not Big 10 basketball.

13:05: @Aelias1908 “Andre Hollins is in BEAST MODE.”

Dre hits a big three and puts the Gophers up 2. He has 18 on the day and simply cannot be guarded. The refs have ruined the rhythm and flow of this game (definitely plays to the Badgers strength – solid ball control and slow play), but Dre will not be denied.

If he can tap into a little of the NIT magic he had late last year, the Gophers can win this game. Even if no one else on the team knows what to do on either end of the floor.

11:46: @3PtBadger “With a 6-0 run in less than a minute, #Badgers take a 37-33 lead against #Gophers, mid 2nd half!”

Huge problems again finding guys on the perimeter for this Gophers team. Not a good flaw when facing a team like the Badgers who love the three pointer.

7:29: @jsuthHN “We have no offense. Terrible. Slow down, set some shit up, and make sure @TMbakwe32 gets a touch on the block every single trip.”

What is sad, you could replace @TMbakwe32 with @Bergeron40 and this tweet could be a Badgers’ fan. Both teams are doing a tewible job running anything resembling an offense. Gophers cannot get the ball inside where they have an advantage. Badgers are having a difficult time finding their open shooters.

Gophers finally take @jsuthHN’s advice and get it to Mbakwe who gets fouled. He misses one of two. Just. Ugly.

6:01: @peekay622 “Breaking news: 3 points in a minute!”

Thanks for doing the math. Ick!

3:40: @BrandonHarrison “Mbakwe the difference for #Gophers so far in 2H: 8 pts, 10 reb. now. RT @JimPolzinMSJ: Mbakwe with 4 offensive rebounds in the 2nd half.

Mbakwe grabs a big offensive board because Tubby — if you are not going to draw up plays for him, he will get it himself — and then makes a big baby hook over Berggren. Gophers up 2. They have the fans right where they want them. Here comes the FG drought.

2:47: @streethistory “2 for 21 from Austin, Coleman, and Williams. Terrible.”

Not exactly inspiring. Even after an Evans TO, Badger fans have to feel good about their chances to close this thing out. Those numbers are downright scary.

And, right in line with the above stat, Gophers turn the ball over on a shot clock violation. Absolutely no rhythm to this offense.

1:47: @vikingsrube “Box out!”

Okay, so some context. Evans makes his 9th big flub of the 2nd half, missing his first FT. In fact, he only tickles the front of the iron. He then misses his second (hence vikingsrube’s advice: box out). Gophers do box out and draw a foul. Ingram promptly misses the first. The Badgers come back down the floor and tie it up. Was there any doubt?

0:39: @guylindvall “This offense is brutal.”

Quick, a fan of which team Tweeted the above?? I am not sure either. But, since it came shortly after Dre took an ill-advised drive to the hoop. Great acting job by Brush on the charge.

Badgers win on a shot after the shot-clock expires. Gophers didn't deserve it anyways.

Badgers win on a shot after the shot-clock expires. Gophers didn’t deserve it anyways.

0:02: @reporterbw “Already bracing myself for a soul-crushing #Gophers defeat.”

Say no more @reporterbw!! Jim Jackson, Jr. (4 for his last 17) hits a pull-up jumper as Mbakwe flies by to put the Badgers up 2. I would say soul-crushing about does it. Even more so considering the replay looks like Jackson did not get the ball off in time. Only a Minnesota sports team could find a way to lose like this. One last chance.
0:01: @droege32 “Wisconsin is lucky it was a foul… Mbakwe made the shot…”

Let’s explain this. So, the ball is inbounded and Mbakwe makes a great play catching it with one hand, turning, and nailing the fadeaway that would have tied the game.

Instead, as he is doing that, he is fouled by Brusewitz. Wisconsin is initially angry. But wait, Mbakwe is hurt. He cannot shoot the FTs. That means the Badgers get to pick who gets to shoot the FTs. Not good for Gophers fans. Mbakwe makes the shot that would tie it, and instead, the Gophers get to watch Rodney Williams try to make two FTs.

He makes the first.

He misses the second. Your season in a nutshell.

 
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Border Battle: Fighting for the Playoffs

The intensity of the Packers-Vikings rivalry escalated to another level after Lord of the INT donned the purple.

Sunday will be the 103rd installment of what’s quickly become one of the best rivalries in football: Green Bay vs. Minnesota. Green Bay holds the series edge at 53-48-1. The Packers have won seven of the last ten, including the last four games. The current four-game streak started with the revenge game against Brent Favre in his second season donning the purple.With both teams fighting for a playoff spot, this match-up is a critical game for both teams. Out of respect to the visiting squad, we’ll let the Vikes Rube fire the first shot:

Vikes Rube:

First shot? Better be careful, after watching that vaunted Packers secondary against the G-Men last week, giving us the first shot likely means six, even if it is the spaghetti-armed Ponder going deep to one of our hands-challenged wide receivers.

The G-Men exposed a Packers secondary that is ranked 22nd overall and is considerably worse without Clay Matthews wreaking havoc up front. Now, Matthews might be back, so that means the Packers might at least generate a pass rush. But, there are still concerns, on both sides of the ball. Jennings is practicing but no one knows how he will return from injury. Bulaga is still out and the plan to replace him does not appear to be working. And that means Jared Allen might be throwing more lassos than a rodeo.

This Vikings squad, while inconsistent, is pesky. In terms of shared opponents, the Vikings actually stack up pretty well with the Packers. Both teams went 4-3 against SF, CHI, JAC, SEA (yes, we both get Ls here), NFC North Killers IND, ARI, and DET.

Packers Roob:

Please. You’re touting your cheap-shot artist as this Clay Matthews type. I’m worried about guys that actually get to the QB, not guys that have gone three games without a sack and tallied a total of 10 tackles (well 11 if you count the cheap shot that should have gotten him suspended this week). He couldn’t sniff Quitler last week, and that’s against the Bears’ high school-like offensive line. And even if he does touch Rodgers this week, that’d be one less play that doesn’t go for six. Need I remind you of last year’s 45-7 drubbing at Lambeau? I’m sure you know that score marks the biggest landslide in the 102-game-series.

And frankly, I did not even know Minnesota was starting a QB these past few games. I just thought you were direct-snapping it to AP every play. In all seriousness, what the hell has gotten into the “franchise” QB?! Even with AP going gangbusters and having the defense do everything it can to stop him, Ponder still looks worse than Mark Sanchez out there. I mean, 58 and 63 yards passing in two separate games. TOTAL! And he has (had) Randall Cobb-lite to bail him out. Question, what’s 35.5 and 37.3 mean to you?

Vikes Rube:

I dunno.

Packers Roob:

Ponder’s QB rating those two games. I’m no Mike Mayock, but I’m thinking the Christian Ponder experiment has run its course.

Vikes Rube:

Almost clever. That said, I agree that after that putrid performance versus an overrated Bears squad, there is little to be excited about in Vikings country. Without Colorado’s newest citizen, Cheech Harvin, in the line-up, the Vikings offense is  about as creative as Justin Bieber’s entire discography. Sprinkle in the return of All Day’s issues with holding the rock and now is not the greatest time to be a Vikings fans. If ever there was a team in need of a slump-buster, it is the Minnesota Vikings. Enter the Packers. Now, I know what you are thinking Packers Roob…brats with kraut…check that…I know what you will eventually be thinking…enter the Packers? Yep, that is right. Enter the Packers.

Packers Roob:

You cannot be serious? Not even PA would make such a preposterous statement. The last thing the Vikes need right now is a road game against a pissed off Packers team. Embarrassed after getting de-flowered on Sunday Night, the Packers will be looking to take out their aggression on an alleged division threat. And the Vikes have 3 combined road victories over the past two seasons. Save yourself the misery, it’s going to get ugly. Like you ain’t got no alibi ugly.

Vikes Rube:

Alright, so slump buster might be a bit of hyperbole, but only in the same way that guaranteeing it is going to be a one-sided Packers blowout. As an allegedly bright football mind (and I am beginning to have some concerns), if you actually think either team in this rivalry could ever be considered a runaway favorite, you have lost your mind. Has the game at the Dome last year already been erased from your memory? When a Ponder-led squad, with a worse defense, was a dropped TD pass away from upsetting your beloved Pack? These games are rarely blowouts. So let’s abandon the runaway favorite foolishness right now.

The current Vikings squad is clearly far from perfect. With the Mayor of Denver limping, the Viking WRs have been downright pathetic. Poor routes and dropped balls have plagued this unit. Jerius Wright’s semi-decent performances have been the lone bright spot. And even that might be best described as a flicker. However, Cheech is practicing and looks like he might give it a go this week and even at 80%, he is still better than we are trotting out there.

Perhaps a larger concern for Vikings fans is the return of AP’s recent fumblitis. After 6 lost fumbles in 2009, AP had gone 2 ½ seasons without a lost fumble. Now he has 2 in the last 4 games. Hopefully this is a blip and not a trend.

Vikings can ill-afford AP putting the ball on the turf.

Vikings can ill-afford AP putting the ball on the turf.

Lastly, there is Dr. Christian and Mr. Ponder. After a solid performance against the Lions at home, we were treated to another lambastable performance against the Bears. Now, the Bears secondary is decent. Maybe not as good as Bears’ fans think they are, but they are decent. So there is a little room for forgiveness. But Ponder’s problem might be more than just about the quality of the defense he is facing. The guy who was supposed to be a mental giant, nailed the Wonderlic and was Mr. Joe Cool, looks frantic in the pocket. Does he still exhibit flashes? Sure. Hence Dr. Christian and Mr. Ponder. But Vikings fans will need him to be consistent if they are going to win on Sunday.

Packers Roob:

Ponder is THE reason the Vikes will struggle at Lambeau. The guy has not been simply inconsistent, he has been downright terrible the last several weeks. He’s lost all confidence and the WR’s, outside of Percy, have done little to help him. Further, the Packers have feasted on less-than-elite QBs. Even with last week’s debacle, the Packers are 9th in the league in the real defensive QB rating – which measures the QB’s total play, rather than just the QB’s passing efficiency – at 72.57. On the flip side, the Vikes’ real QB rating is 23rd in the league at 74.43. Stated more plainly, outside of Brees and Eli carving us up, the Packers have handled the non-elite QBs soundly. Consider the following QBs performances: Schaub (2 INT, 0 TD, and 56.6 passer rating (the commonly known passer rating)), Cutler (4 INT and 28.2 passer rating), and Stafford (2 INT, 1 TD, 54.0 passer rating). I just don’t see Ponder doing much damage against this defense. As a result, it’s going to take a Herculean-like effort from AP to keep this game close. Working in the Vikes’ favor is the fact that C.J. Wilson, a developing 3-4 end that was stout against the run, may be out for the season. You saw how Bradshaw exploited this. I’m not looking forward to seeing AP do the same. Still, AP alone hasn’t proven enough to date, and I don’t expect that to change.

And while we’re on the topic of defensive real QB rating, the Vikes are a paltry 25th in the league at 86.58. As you might expect, Packers are high up on the real QB ratings at 6th: 92.37. And this ranking dropped a few spots because of last week’s debacle. Point being, Rodgers is performing at an elite level.

My biggest concern is Rodgers’ protection. The injury that has hurt the Packers the most this season has been the loss of Bryan Bulaga. Lang, a developing guard, had to move outside and Dietrich-Smith stepped in at guard. Like you said, this has not been pretty. Both are significant downgrades from the original starting-5. The results have been rather ugly since then, culminating in last week’s 5-sacks and Rodgers running for his life on the plays he wasn’t sacked. But that’s the Giants defensive line, which is one of the best in the league. And breaking news – the Vikings defensive line is far from what it used to be. Allen can still dominate, but he’s been slowed these last few weeks as I have already pointed out. Kevin Williams is a shell of his former self – he only has 2 sacks. As a result, the Vikings defensive line won’t (knock on wood) dictate the game the way it needs to in order to slow the Packers.

Vikings Rube:

Wow, someone figured out how to navigate the world wide interweb. Impressive.

I am not going to continue beating a dead horse in regards to Ponder’s play. He needs to be consistent (read: limit the mistakes) or the Vikings lose on Sunday. I am a little surprised by the Packers’ alleged ownership of less-than-elite QBs considering the great Alex Smith diced up the entirely healthy Packers secondary in Week 1 and then NFC North-killer Andrew Luck did the same in Week 5. I am pretty certain Alex Smith made me my McMuffin this morning. And Luck, while a promising rookie, is still just a rookie. So let’s just back off the ravenous Packers defense against less-than-elite QBs bit.

11.5 sacks in 6 games. Clearly, Jared Allen is licking his chops to get after Rodgers again.

Instead, let’s focus on that offensive line you are right to be worried about. Losing Bulaga was a huge blow. Though, despite that, you think the Packers will get by because you continue to underestimate the Vikings defensive line. Yes, Kevin Williams does not get as many sacks as he did, but that is not really his job. His job is to try and occupy two interior linemen and keep help from sliding over to Allen and Robinson. He has done a good job of that. Allen may not be the force he was last year, but he is still solid. And he always brings his A-game against the Pack – 11.5 sacks in his last 6 games – only once was he shutout. The Vikings will get pressure with four guys, the question is whether that will matter. Unfortunately, seven guys in coverage might not be enough to stop Rodgers. Because at the end of it all, your green and gold foolishness aside, Rodgers is the difference in this rivalry.

Packer Roob:

It almost pains me to say this, but you are right. The biggest reason why the Packers are Super Bowl contenders and the Vikes will have a mid-round draft pick again is because of the Packers passing game (it also does not hurt the Vikes recent drafts have been less than stellar and haven’t shored up the secondary). Though Rodgers’s numbers are down and he has not been as sharp at times this season (he’s missed on a number of longer shots that he usually connects on), Rodgers is still putting up numbers that have him in the MVP-discussion. Yes, he won’t win it. But, he is part of the discussion.

John Abraham learned the hard way in the 2010 playoffs to what happens when you piss off Rodgers. Championship Belt mode!

Rodgers has thrown for 2,838 yards and owns a 28/7 TD-to-INT split. His QB rating is 105.6, good for second-best in his career. Most impressively, he’s done this without his top WR for most of the season, Jordy for 2 games, and a TE that taught Jerome Simpson how to catch. Still, in an alarming trend, Rodgers’ has not surpassed 250-yards in any of the last four games. And these have been against the likes of Jax and Detroit – secondaries that Danny O’Brien would be able to exploit! Nonetheless, it’s the Michael Jordan-esque inability to forget his critics and haters that makes Rodgers a threat to go into full-out Championship Belt mode – just ask Houston. Based on last week’s performance – remember he apologized for the way the team played – I expect Rodgers to be on point this week against a hapless secondary.

As far as our defense, it has the potential to be a championship-winning defense. The defense has suffered an exhaustive list of injuries at various points this season: Claymaker, Raji, Wilson, Worthy, Nick Perry, Bishop, D.J. Smith, Woodson, and Shields. But through these injuries, the Packers have been forced to break in younger talent that is starting to emerge. Casey “All I Do Is Intercept” Hayward is proving to be the SOD. He’s an absolute ball-hawk that has really lifted the defense’s play. McMillian and Jennings have had their fair share of growing pains, but have also learned from the same and continue to get better – evidenced by Jennings’ game-changing pick-six at Detroit. House has returned from injury and taken over the outside CB position due to his size and physicality. And Dezman Moses, an undrafted free agent, and Erik Walden have proven that they can supply pressure opposite Clay. So when the defense gets back Claymaker, Woodson, and Shields – three of its best/better playmakers – it has the potential to really take off and lead this team.

The Packers won the 2010 Super Bowl because of Rodgers’ unbelievable play and a dominant defense. This squad could shape up similarly when healthy.

Vikings Rube:

To delve into a discussion about the Packers’ secondary would be a fruitless endeavor. You are clearly so drunk on the Kool-Aid that you might even be over the limit in Wisco. Hayward is a good little player. But the rest of those mutts are just not good. McMillian, Jennings, and House looked like they needed a map last week. It looked like they thought they were in the wrong stadium. Now, that is not to say these guys will not be serviceable NFL players at some point, but classifying it as growing pains is an insult to Kirk Cameron fans everywhere.

If the Packers fate rests with Rodgers, the Vikings fate, especially sans Harvin, clearly rests with AP. Fresh off his 2011 knee surgery, AP has come back with a vengeance, leading the league in rushing with 1,254 yards and getting them at nearly 6 yards a pop. He has been a beast. And against the squad with the fifth worst run success rate, this could mean BIG things for AP.

Alright, enough is enough. Time for our predictions.

Vikings Rube:

Rodgers tries to do his thing, but is hog-tied  so often he has flashbacks to 2009. Ponder does just enough to allow a fumble-less AP to roll over the Packers run defense. The Kid Kicker puts it away.

Vikings 24 Packers 21

Packers Roob:

Wow. Just wow. You’re either on to something or on something. With my sanity clearly intact, I foresee the Packers starting their trek through the NFC North on a high-note. A game that will be close for a majority of the game due to AP’s dominance will eventually give way to the Rodgers’ show.

Packers 31 Vikings 17

One thing we both can agree upon: get your tickets to the game from Ticket King. A local company, you won’t find a better deal for the toughest tickets in town.

The Gloves Are Coming Off This Weekend!

Gloves will be sure to come off this weekend!

This weekend, Mariucci Arena will play host to the end-of-year Border Battle between the Badgers and Gophers mens hockey squads (yes, that means this is a hockey post. Don’t worry, I consulted with Denis Lemieux to learn the finer points of hockey.) In a complete 180 from recent years, the Gophers are the team to beat while the Badgers are the struggling bottom-of-the-standings squad. Yet, games between these two are always hard-fought – and sometimes literally.

The Gophers enter this game on top of the WCHA Standings. And because they swept the UMD Bulldogs back in October, the Goph are in the driver’s seat to claim the MacNaughton Cup. Two points guarantees a share of the title, while three points guarantees they will be skating away with the MacNaughton Cup. Regular season titles do not earn them a place in the Big Dance. Still, the regular season title will mean a lot to this group and should have the Goph fired up this weekend.

There are still some concerns for the Gophers, though. After starting the season by winning 10 of their first 11, the Gophers have barely been over a .500 team since. They’ve won their last four games, but those came against two squads they should sweep. There are some injury concerns too with Nick Bjugstad, the stud center on the top line, suffering an undisclosed injury in last Saturday’s game. Bjugstad has missed some practice time this week, but is expected to play. Meanwhile, Nick Larson and Ben Marshall could return to the lineup. Larson has been out for nearly two months with a wrist injury, and Marshall was out last weekend with his own undisclosed injury (did The Don go to the Bill Belichick school of preparing injury reports?).

Another interesting aspect of the weekend is that it is Senior night on Saturday. If Larson is healthy enough to go, The Don will have a tough decision to make between which two to start between Seth Ambroz (the enforcer – which will particularly come in handy at the end of the weekend when things get chippy), Nico Sacchetti, and Larson – the latter two are Seniors. You would guess part of his decision-making will hinge on whether the MacNaughton Cup is wrapped up or still left to be won.

Badgers look to prevent the Goph from skating away with the MacNaughton Cup

As for the Badgers, although they have been one of the better teams year-in and year-out recently, this years downfall was not unexpected. They lost three key players from last years squad. Still remaining is a player many argue has no business being in the college ranks still – Junior defenseman Justin Schultz. Schultz has 42 points in their 32 games. Outside of Schultz, the Badgers go as their top line goes. Scoring from their second line and down is rare.

This is undoubtedly a rebuilding year for the Badgers, who are loaded with some top, young talent and hardly any veteran presence (only one senior on the roster). Both goalies are freshmen, including one from the US Developmental League. Meanwhile, there will be two native ‘Sota freshmen donning the Red and White this weekend and making their first trips back to Mariucci – Joe LaBate and Patrick Daly – two products of private schools in the Twin Cities. Of those two, LaBate is the only one making a difference on the squad, currently sitting fifth in points on the team with 20.

Despite their inexperience, the Badgers will look to prevent their Border Rivals (see what I did there?) from celebrating the regular season title at their expense. Remember, this same Sconnie squad split the series back at the Kohl Center. Since their last meeting, Sconnie is a .500 team and currently on a 3-game winning streak. Expect the pesky Sconnie’s to give the Goph all they can handle. Assuming it gets chippy, as is bound to happen between these bitter rivals, the Goph have the clear edge on special teams: Goph are ranked second in the conference in both power play and penalty kill percentages, while the Badg are 11th in both categories.

The Goph OOOOOOWNS, OOOOOOWNS the series over the long haul. But that is of little difference to this weekends games because the Border Rivals do not like each other. Gloves should hit the ice. The players better put the foil on!