Big Ten Hockey Weekend Preview

Story posted January 22, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Brandon Pelter

Both Michigan and Minnesota are atop the Big Ten standings four weeks into conference play with Penn State not far behind. This weekend, Ohio State will host Penn State while Minnesota will visit Wisconsin. Michigan, while playing an exhibition this weekend, has the most potent offense in the Big Ten as they have seen continued success with Kyle Connor, JT Compher, and Tyler Motte as the Wolverines lead the Big Ten in points scoring.

 

Penn State at Ohio State

The Buckeyes are 2-1-2 in their last five and have proven themselves as a physical team last week against Michigan. Juniors Nick Schilkey and David Gust will need to be at the top of their games. Both teams use two goaltenders, which have proven to work well for the Nittany Lions, but Ohio State’s Matt Tomkins still has to prove himself. Penn State’s tandem of Eamon McAdam and Matthew Skoff will have to be on their game this weekend, but that hasn’t been a problem for either of the two this season. Led by a core of energetic and powerful freshmen, the Nittany Lions might be able to shoot their way to two victories.

 

Minnesota at Wisconsin

The Golden Gophers are coming in with quite a head of steam after winning three straight, one against Penn State and a sweep of Michigan State. Although Minnesota is unranked, a sweep here might just put them in the USCHO top 25. The Golden Gophers have a wealth of offense, with five players tallying 15 or more points and in net, freshman Eric Schierhorn is transforming into a seasoned veteran. Schierhorn has posted a .911 save percentage, good for third in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has certainly struggled and will rely on their star freshman Luke Kunin, who is touted to be a first round draft pick. Kunin leads the team with nine goals and has nine assists to go along with that for a team high 18 points. Freshman goaltender Matt Jurusik has recorded a .901 save percentage, but will certainly have his hands full with a plethora of Gophers offensive weapons.

 

Both Michigan and Michigan State are playing exhibition games this weekend against the USA Under-18 team. Michigan is back in action next week traveling to Penn State for a game and then to the Big Apple for the second game of the series at Madison Square Garden. Michigan State will be back in action next week as well traveling to Ohio State.

 

Brandon Pelter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, email brandon.pelter@gmail.com.