GREG DIXON/Herald photoWhen Wisconsin and Minnesota get together for any sport,there is always intensity between the two teams. But when the No. 5 Badgers(23-7-2, 19-5-2 WCHA) head to Ridder Arena this weekend to take on the No. 4Gophers (25-4-3, 21-4-1) in the final regular season weekend, a lot more willbe on the line. With UW four points behind Minnesota-Duluth, and Minnesotaonly one point back, both teams enter the weekend with a shot at winning theWCHA regular season title. At the very least, second place and the No. 2 seedin the WCHA playoffs is on the line. With all that on the line, it gives the rivalry extraintensity, according to UW head coach Mark Johnson.?It adds a little more heat,? Johnson said. ?I don?t know ifit adds pressure, but it certainly adds meaning to it. It makes the game funnerto play in when there are things on the line. You come down to our last tworegular season games, and you have an opportunity to move up in the standingsif you do well. To me that creates excitement.?However, a lot has changed since the last time these twoteams met in November at the Kohl Center. Minnesota was still adjusting to newhead coach Brad Frost ? who took over the program after Laura Halldorsonstepped down in August ? while Wisconsin was still adjusting to the loss of asenior class that led the team to two national championships. The Badgers and Gophers ended up splitting that weekend, butsince that time, Minnesota has gone on a tear. After losing their next game toconference leading UMD, the Gophers have not dropped a game, going 19-0-2 intheir last 21 games.?They found a formula with the coaching staff that utilizestheir assets, which is speed and puck movement, and try and create scoringopportunities,? Johnson said. ?They?ve been able to do that and have success.?Wisconsin also enters this weekend on a hot streak winning13 out of its last 14, with its only loss to Minnesota-Duluth. The Badgers arealso coming off a pair of shutouts over Bemidji State, which they hope willgive them momentum this weekend.?Both Alannah (McCready) and (Jesse) Vetter played great,and that boosted the confidence of the team in both goalies,? captain EmilyMorris said. ?I think that will carry some energy over into this comingweekend.?While Minnesota might be one of the hottest teams in thecountry, Wisconsin has one thing on its side this weekend: the last seven timesthe Badgers have gone into Minnesota, they have come out with the win. ?We just have a little extra excitement anytime, anywhereyou play Minnesota,? Vetter said. ?I think we just enjoy playing at Ridder(Arena) because it?s such a nice rink and such a great facility. They get agood amount of fans to come to the game, and we build off that excitement fromthe crowd and just try and play some good hockey.?If Wisconsin is going to come out of the weekend with itsninth straight win at Minnesota, it will have to find a way to shut down theGophers? high-scoring offense. Gigi Marvin, who leads the WCHA in points, leadsthe Minnesota offense that averages 3.59 goals per game. ?They just have an explosive offense,? Vetter said. ?Theyare always moving. They got a lot of depth. They definitely can bring it to youwith their first through third line. You just got to be aware of their speedand their ability to make things happen.?However, the Badgers know they will have a good shot atgetting another sweep if they are able to limit their penalties and make themost out of every power play they get.?When you look at this weekend, as you get ready for theplayoffs, those things have to be in place if you?re going to move on in thetournament,? Johnson said. ?Your power play has to work. Your special teams,your penalty killing has to work and your goaltender has to be good. If you?remissing one of those ingredients, then the chances of winning aren?t as high.?Regardless of the outcome this weekend, Johnson likesplaying Minnesota right before the playoffs because he believes it will preparehis team for another title run.?When you play against a good opponent, an opponent who isvery high in the rankings, it?s going to make you a better hockey club,?Johnson said. ?It?s going to make your group go up a couple of steps. Certainly,when we come back and get organized for our playoff weekend, we are going to bemuch better off than we are this weekend.?