Ohio State senior forward Freddy Gerard (15) move the puck up the ice in the game against Notre Dame on Feb. 2. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorThe No. 3 Ohio State men’s hockey team (17-5-4, 10-3-3 Big Ten) will be going up against Wisconsin (9-12-5, 5-6-5 Big Ten) in an away game in Madison, Wisconsin, this weekend.Ohio State has been on a five-game winning streak and is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten, eight points higher than any team in the conference. Following its back-to-back wins against Notre Dame, the Buckeyes have managed to climb to the No. 3 spot in the nation in the USCHO.com polls..Wisconsin is currently situated in sixth place in the Big Ten and unranked in the USCHO polls.Record aside, senior defenseman Tommy Parran believes Wisconsin has the potential to be tough competition in the Big Ten.“All the teams in the Big Ten have progressed,” he said. “If you look at the standings, everybody has been winning games; everybody has been consistently moving up.”The Badgers are led by freshman defenseman K’Andre Miller, who leads the team with 17 assists and 22 points.No Wisconsin player has scored double-digit goals for the team this season.Ohio State holds a strong margin on the defensive side, currently ranked No. 10 in the country with 2.12 goals against per game, with Wisconsin’s defense placing 48th out of 60 teams, allowing 3.35 goals per contest.Senior forward Dakota Joshua believes it’s the defense that is Ohio State’s biggest strength.“I think good team defense,” Joshua said. “Just not giving teams a lot of opportunities to score. When we make a mistake the two guys behind us are always there to answer the bell.”The last time the Buckeyes faced-off against the Badgers was in November and saw Ohio State win both matches, the first game being 4-0 and the second game being 3-1.Head coach Steve Rohlik believes that the Ohio State hockey team has gotten only better since their last matchup against Wisconsin.“I think we’ve become more consistent,” he said. “When we’re at our best we play very connected, we play very structured.”That said, Rohlik doesn’t believe Buckeye fans should expect an easy win this weekend.“I think the scores weren’t quite what the games were,” Rohlik said. “I think the two games against these guys were really close. I think when people look at the scores they might think it was one-sided but we definitely don’t see it that way.”The two teams face off this weekend on Friday and Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Both games start at 8:00 p.m.
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