The Wisconsin hockey teams (both men's and women's) took the field/ice for the Camp Randall Hockey Classic on Saturday. The stadium, normally home to the football team, belonged to the hockey players for the afternoon in the first outdoor hockey games to be played at Camp Randall.
While hockey games at the Kohl Center are usually played in front of a sell-out crowd of around 15,000 fans, Saturday's game brought in an audience of over 55,000.
The Badger women took care of business as they easily blew out Bemidji State, 6-1.
The Badger men had more of a struggle on their hands.
UW took a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game, but Michigan came back, scoring a goal to tie the game up at one a piece. The game remained 1-1 until 10 minutes left in the third period, when Michigan took their first lead of the game.
With five minutes left in the game, the Badgers evened the game up at two with a power-play goal by Brendan Smith.
Then, with under two minutes to play, another Michigan penalty put the Badgers on a power play. With just a minute and a half to go Smith scored his second power-play goal to put the Badgers up 3-2, a lead which they carried to the end of the game.
The Camp Randall Hockey Classic was an exciting event for students not only because of the chance for an outdoor game, but also because the event gave students the chance to experience a "football game day" atmosphere during hockey season.
Tailgating and pre-gaming were prevalent throughout campus. Crowds of red swarmed toward Camp Randall. Had there not been snow on the ground you might have thought it was a regular Saturday game day.
To cap off the "fan's experience," as is tradition at Camp Randall, Jump Around was played in the third period. Always a student section favorite, the song not only pumped up the crowd and players, but also warmed up the fans after two hours in the cold.
All in all I think the Classic was a successful event for UW athletics. Despite the rink being dwarfed by the stadium, making it hard to follow the action, the experience was one-of-a-kind for fans and players alike.