Around the Big Ten: Hockey – Week 7

Audio/Story posted November 22, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Josh Portney

Host Logan Bourandas alongside Josh Portney and Jordan Mansberger look back at some of the best games that took place around the Big Ten last week. They also give their takes on some of the best matchups for the upcoming weekend:

We’ve got a big lineup of marquee Big Ten college hockey matchups in store for Week 7, so let’s review them with another Around the Big Ten update. This week, we get to see true in-conference tests for the ranked squads in the Big Ten.

Hot off a series in which they dominated their in-state rival Michigan, the Michigan State Spartans have their biggest test of the season when they host the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Ranked third in the country, Notre Dame is currently the second best team in the Big Ten, just behind Penn State. The Irish have an incredible offense, led by forwards Cal Burke and Mike O’Leary, and are able to score nearly four goals per game. Michigan State, which isn’t expected to be much of a hockey powerhouse, counters with a weaker offense that has been improving, especially with the recent series against Michigan in which the Spartans had 34 shots on goal in the first game.

Moving west, Wisconsin has a big opportunity to stand out in the conference standings and recapture its early season expectations when they travel to Minnesota. Minnesota started the season in a less-than-impressive way, splitting a series with Colorado College, then edging out a series sweep against Niagara. Then the Golden Gophers offense struggled to produce against Minnesota Duluth, and it hasn’t really recovered. Minnesota’s goaltending is still stellar; Jared Moe has a .911 save percentage and has come up clutch for the Gophers. But this 2019 season has largely been a disappointment. The Badgers can use this series to pick up the pieces on their season, as they are only 6-6 but have a pretty good offense that averages about 3.7 goals a game.

Penn State is ranked sixth in the country and deserves it. The Nittany Lions offense has been outstanding, with Nate Sucese leading the team with six goals and 12 assists. Penn State has been climbing in the rankings and are finally back in the conversation for a long postseason run after an early finish to the 2018-19 season.

This weekend, Penn State faces conference rival Ohio State for a series that will give the Nittany Lions another season-defining test. Penn State’s offense is dominant, but Ohio State’s Tommy Nappier is lights out in the net with a .935 save percentage. This should be a really exciting series between two really good hockey teams.

Watch out for Penn State, Notre Dame and Ohio State as the season goes on, as they all have great cases for the top spot in the Big Ten. Stay tuned for some surprises next week, too, as Big Ten teams face out-of-conference squads in Week 8.

 

Josh Portney is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jxp776@psu.edu.