PucKato will be leaving for Madison in a couple of hours. But here's some Friday reading for you between now and my pregame post:
My game preview, which points out the mirror images that are the Mavericks and the Badgers is not on The Free Press' free portion of the website but it is on the e-edition. Long story short: MSU and UW are tied for fourth in the conference with identical records. Both teams have scored 54 goals, while giving up 59 and 51, respectively, and they rank sixth and fifth, respectively in the WCHA in overall scoring offense and scoring defense. "We're very similar teams," coach Troy Jutting said. "That's why I say it's going to come down to whoever gets the bounces, whoever buries the opportunities they get ... because I don't think there are going to be a lot of them."
The sentiment seems to be the same in Madison, where Badgers coach Mike Eaves talked about his team's bumpy start and the road to consistency. ... Senior Josh Engel has handled the transition from defenseman to forward smoothly. ... And freshman Patrick Johnson doesn't play like a 152-pounder.
And in case you're wondering if anyone else has noticed the Mavericks' recent surge, well, they have. Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse was in Mankato this week to compare MSU to the slumping Gophers, while Inside College Hockey leads off its Friday WCHA preview by pointing out that the Mavs' success goes back further than the last six games.
Finally, I have a correction: In today's preview, I pointed out that Mavericks goalie Mike Zacharias is 2-1-1 all-time against Wisconsin. He's 3-1-1. For some reason I forgot to go back two seasons ago when he started the first game of Minnesota State's surprising sweep of the soon-to-be national champions in Mankato. Zacharias stopped 33 shots in the 6-4 win. The next night, Dan Tormey stopped 27 shots in a 7-3 win. Sorry for the mess-up.
I'm off to Madison.