The original version of the 2019-20 schedule had the University of Wisconsin women's hockey team playing this weekend at No. 6 Princeton, which is returning from an NCAA tournament appearance last season.
Instead, the top-ranked Badgers are facing Long Island University for a pair of games in New York. That's the defending national champions against a first-year program, and that's a much different look than UW first had on the docket for this weekend.
Princeton had to back out of playing this weekend after learning it couldn't play regular-season games until next week because of Ivy League rules.
The Badgers used connections to set up the meetings with Long Island for the suddenly open weekend.
"It's an opportunity, in the big picture, to really help them out," Badgers coach Mark Johnson said of the series Friday and Saturday. "Coming off last year's season and the exposure that they'll get ... when we go out there to play, it'll help them."
Saturday's game is at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the part-time home of the NHL's New York Islanders. Johnson reminisced this week about the games he played there against the dynastic Islanders of the early 1980s.
He played his first NHL game against the Islanders, on March 2, 1980, although that was in Pittsburgh.
"It's a great venue, great history, and it should be a fun atmosphere to play in," Johnson said.
First to 500
Johnson was predictably low key about reaching the 500-victory mark as a college hockey head coach, a level he reached in last Saturday's 7-3 victory over No. 8 Ohio State.
Wisconsin scores on all four of its power-play opportunities, raising its conversion rate to 52 percent for the season.
"I'm not into numbers, you guys know that," Johnson said at this week's news conference. "If you do something long enough, things are going to catch up to you."
Numbers don't drive Johnson, who became the all-time winningest Division I women's hockey coach last season, but he went into detail on what does.
"It's the relationships with the players, growing the players, developing the players, giving them an opportunity to play on national teams and Olympic teams and really experience some things within the game of hockey that I've been fortunate to have," he said. "And I think if you can pass that along and put your players in position to get some of those experiences when they leave here, their time in Madison has been something that they'll remember for a real long time."
U.S., Canada rosters set
Eight former Badgers players will square off when the U.S. and Canadian national teams meet next month for a joint training camp and pair of games.
Forwards Sophia Shaver, Hilary Knight and Annie Pankowski and goaltender Alex Cavallini (formerly Rigsby) will play for the U.S. Forwards Sarah Nurse, Emily Clark and Blayre Turnbull and goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens are on Canada's roster.
Verona native Amanda Kessel also was named to the U.S. roster Thursday.
The joint training camp Nov. 4-10 in the Pittsburgh suburb of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, is place of the Four Nations Cup. That annual event was scrapped this year because of a dispute between the Swedish federation and its players.
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