Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 5
Brian Mclaughlin, Ben Ferree and Zach Kaplan break down this week's action on the ice across the conference.
The Big Ten has now seen each team play at least four conference games. No. 4 Notre Dame leads the pack with 12 points, while No. 7 Minnesota closely follows at 11. No. 17 Michigan (7 pts), No. 9 Wisconsin (6 pts) and Penn State (6 pts) resemble the middle of the pack. And No. 16 Ohio State and Michigan State (both at 3 pts) find themselves rallying to catch up in the standings. Let’s take a look at how each team has fared so far:
Notre Dame swept the Nittany Lions last weekend in South Bend with a 5-3 win on Friday and a hard-fought 1-0 win on Saturday. Dawson Cook, Andrew Oglevie and Bobby Nardella all had multiple-point nights on Friday, while Bo Brauer scored the only goal on Saturday. The Irish will travel to RPI this weekend.
The Golden Gophers had a subpar weekend by their standards, losing one game and barely winning another in a shootout against Michigan. Tommy Novak led Minnesota with three points in the loss on Friday, while Tyler Sheehy had four on Saturday. Things won’t get much easier as No. 13 Harvard comes to the Twin Cities for a two-game set this weekend.
Michigan has to be happy after the aforementioned Minnesota series. The Wolverines showed they could skate with a Big Ten and national power. Tony Calderone tallied three goals and an assist on the series, while Alex Roos had three assists and scored the winning goal in overtime on Friday. There will be no rest after a tough series for the Wolverines, who travel to Madison for two games with the Badgers.
Speaking of the Badgers, 4 different players tallied a multi-point night in last Friday’s 6-3 win against Michigan State, before Wisconsin was shut out the following night by the Spartans, 2-0. Their series this weekend with Michigan will be critical for both teams, as each will try to get a leg up in the Big Ten standings. Kyle Hayton has been an important contributor in net for the Badgers.
Penn State looks like a far more inconsistent than they did a year ago, splitting weekend series’ with subpar teams and getting swept at Notre Dame last weekend. The offense has struggled at times with Denis Smirnov missing time due to an illness. The big Achilles heel for this Penn State team has been their defense - or lack thereof.
They looked much sharper in a 1-0 loss to the Irish last Saturday, but the unit has not given nearly enough support for Peyton Jones in net. The Nittany Lions will make their first-ever trip to Tempe to take on Arizona State this weekend, in a battle of the two newest college hockey programs in the country.
Ohio State looked solid, beating and then tying UConn last weekend in Hartford. Tanner Laczynski and Mason Jobst look like they have picked up right where they left off last season with 13 and 12 points respectively. The Buckeyes find themselves in the back half of the top 20 nationally at the moment. They are off this weekend, but travel to Ann Arbor next weekend to take on archrival Michigan in a series that coincides with the annual football game between the two schools.
Michigan State remains tied in the basement of the Big Ten with the Buckeyes, but first-year head coach Danton Cole already has his team looking improved from a year ago. The Spartans split the aforementioned series with Wisconsin last week and have a legit No. 1 goaltender in John Lethemon. Michigan State has a home-and-home series with Ferris State and will get back into Big Ten play next weekend when they travel to Penn State.
Zach Kaplan is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Zach Kaplan is a senior broadcast journalism major with a double minor in history and sociology. Beyond his work with the Centre County Report, Zach is involved with CommRadio as a sports director and on-air personality, as well as a broadcaster for BTN Student U productions on-campus. He also works with 46Live both on-air and as a producer to provide live coverage of Penn State’s annual Dance Marathon.
Outside of his on-air work, Zach writes for Penn State Athletics covering men’s hockey and lacrosse and has held summer internships with Israel Sports Radio, the Cape Cod Baseball League, and the Coastal Plain League.