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Badgers men's hockey scheduled to open 2020-21 season at Notre Dame
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Badgers men's hockey scheduled to open 2020-21 season at Notre Dame

From the Get ready for Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey season with State Journal's in-depth coverage series

Officials around the Big Ten Conference and the University of Wisconsin men's hockey program suggested ahead of Thursday's release of the initial part of the 2020-21 schedule that some unusual game dates might be in the works.

In the first four weeks, the Badgers will open six two-game series on six different days of the week.

Let's get weird, Big Ten hockey.

For the Badgers, only the Nov. 13-14 opening series at No. 20 Notre Dame will be in college hockey's traditional Friday/Saturday setup as UW squeezes 12 games into 27 days before the Christmas break.

"I don't think anyone has anything against that," Badgers senior forward Linus Weissbach said. "It's a lot of games but we've been practicing now for about eight months. The more games we can play, the better. So we're all happy about that."

Home series against No. 12 Michigan, No. 9 Penn State and No. 15 Arizona State and road trips to No. 10 Ohio State and Michigan State also are on the docket for the Badgers' opening month.

That leaves home and road series against archrival Minnesota, ranked 14th in the preseason poll, among games to be scheduled for the remainder of the season after Christmas.

The six UW home games in November are laid out over a span of 11 days, and a pro-style schedule for the opening four weeks offers no more than four days off between contests.

"That's a little bit different than we've ever had," Badgers coach Tony Granato said. "But the excitement of the opportunity to be able to play again, with all the uncertainties and things that have gone on, we're hockey players and we're getting that chance to play. So if they told us we were playing 10 games in a row in 10 days in a row, we'd be there. It's just what we do."

Badgers men's hockey coach Tony Granato talks with State Journal reporter Todd D. Milewski about an opening stretch of the season that includes 12 games in 27 days.

After a six-week delay to the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Ten schools are playing a 28-game schedule this season that includes four games against each conference opponent and four home games against independent Arizona State. The contests against the Sun Devils won't count toward the standings.

Arizona State has agreed to adhere to the same medical protocols as the Big Ten schools. Like with football, they involve daily antigen testing for COVID-19, a 21-day layoff and cardiac screening for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and a data-driven approach to deciding when practices and games need to be canceled.

It took until eight days before the opener for the Big Ten to release the first part of the schedule. Granato said Wednesday that team concerns about travel and safety were holding up the final product, which had been revised multiple times.

Game times and television broadcasts will be announced later. The Badgers are hoping to have all of their home games televised.

The schedule delay didn't seem to trouble Badgers players.

"You could tell us we're going to play somebody tomorrow and I think we'd be ready to go, no matter who it is," graduate transfer goaltender Robbie Beydoun said.

Said captain and junior defenseman Ty Emberson: "Everyone's been working a long time for this and now it's actually coming about."

During the time when fans aren't allowed to attend games because of the coronavirus, the Badgers will play home games at LaBahn Arena. The fanless experience around the Big Ten allowed for scheduling flexibility to both fit games into open TV windows and allow for earlier return travel.

UW will open series against Michigan on Thursday, Nov. 19; against Penn State on Monday, Nov. 23; against Arizona State on Saturday, Nov. 28; at Ohio State on Thursday, Dec. 3 and at Michigan State on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

That compressed window should allow the Badgers to have their three players being considered for the U.S. World Junior Championship team — forwards Cole Caufield, Owen Lindmark and Sam Stange — through the first half. USA Hockey is hoping to bring prospects in for a final camp around Dec. 9, right when UW closes its 2019 schedule.

Forward Dylan Holloway may leave for Canada's extended tryout camp, scheduled to begin Nov. 16, after the opening UW series at Notre Dame although Granato said that hasn't been finalized.

Badgers men's hockey 2020-21 schedule

Day Opponent Time (CT)/Result TV/Web
Friday, Nov. 13 at Notre Dame W 2-0 NBCSN,, NBC Sports app
Saturday, Nov. 14 at Notre Dame W 5-3 NHL Network, NBC Sports Philadelphia,, NBC Sports app
Thursday, Nov. 19 Michigan L 5-2 Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Detroit,,
Friday, Nov. 20 Michigan L 2-1 OT Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Detroit,,
Monday, Nov. 23 Penn State W 6-3 BTN,
Tuesday, Nov. 24 Penn State W 7-3 BTN,
Saturday, Nov. 28 Arizona State L 8-5 Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Arizona,
Sunday, Nov. 29 Arizona State L 3-1 Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Arizona,
Thursday, Dec. 3 at Ohio State L 4-2
Friday, Dec. 4 at Ohio State W 3-1 ESPNU
Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Michigan State PPD BTN,
Wednesday, Dec. 9 at Michigan State PPD BTN,
Saturday, Jan. 9 Minnesota W 3-1 Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Sunday, Jan. 10 Minnesota L 5-3 Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Friday, Jan. 15 Arizona State W 4-0 Fox Sports Wisconsin+,
Saturday, Jan. 16 Arizona State W 5-2 Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Thursday, Jan. 21 at Penn State W 4-1
Friday, Jan. 22 at Penn State L 5-4
Friday, Jan. 29 Michigan State W 6-0 Fox Sports Wisconsin+,
Saturday, Jan. 30 Michigan State W 4-1 Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Friday, Feb. 5 at Minnesota W 4-1 Fox Sports Wisconsin+, Fox Sports North+,
Saturday, Feb. 6 at Minnesota W 8-1 Fox Sports Wisconsin+, Fox Sports North+,
Saturday, Feb. 13 at Michigan L 5-1 BTN,
Sunday, Feb. 14 at Michigan W 3-2
Friday, Feb. 19 Notre Dame W 4-2 Fox Sports Wisconsin+,
Saturday, Feb. 20 Notre Dame T 5-5 Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Friday, Feb. 26 Ohio State W 2-1 OT Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Saturday, Feb. 27 Ohio State W 7-0 Fox Sports Wisconsin,
Friday, March 5 at Michigan State W 4-0
Saturday, March 6 at Michigan State W 2-1 BTN,
Monday, March 15 B1G semifinals vs. Penn State W 4-3 OT BTN,
Tuesday, March 16 B1G championship vs. Minnesota L 6-4 BTN,

Catch up on what you might have missed in the Badgers men's hockey 2020 offseason

Catch up on what you might have missed in the Badgers men's hockey 2020 offseason

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the longest Badgers men's hockey offseason in 51 years. Here's what the State Journal has covered since the 2019-20 season ended.

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