Big Ten Hockey Weekend Preview

Story posted February 19, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Eric Ohlson

The Big Ten standings remain the same as last weekend, except for the very top. Minnesota, who had been in a tie with Michigan for the number one seed, now sits alone with 33 points and controls their destiny the rest of the way. Michigan is now second with 32 points while Penn State remains steadfast in third with 26 points. Ohio State is still fourth with 12 points, but Michigan State is now only two points behind the Buckeyes. Wisconsin remains at the bottom of the standings with only seven points.

Here are the matchups this weekend:

Ohio State vs. No. 15 Penn State

Friday: 6:30 p.m. ET and Saturday: 3 p.m. ET

Up one spot in the national rankings this week, Penn State came away with an important sweep against Michigan State last weekend to remain six points behind Michigan for second place. Saturday will be Senior Day for Penn State, as they honor eights players who will play their final game at Pegula Ice Arena. Freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie continues to be an offensive threat in conference play, with six goals and five assists, and senior Eric Scheid leads the team with 13 points in 14 conference games. Ohio State is coming off a tough series loss to Minnesota, which included a 5-4 defeat in overtime. Forwards Mason Jobust and David Gust are averaging more than a point per game in the Big Ten, and will look to spoils Penn State’s quest for a top seed. These teams split their previous series and will likely have another entertaining one this weekend.

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin

Friday and Saturday: 8 p.m. CT

Both teams may be at the bottom of the standings, but they have a lot to play for, as the Spartans are only two points away from fourth and the Badgers have a chance to get out of the basement, only three points behind the Spartans. Michigan State continues to struggle on offense, scoring the fewest goals per game and do not have a player with more than four goals or eight points in conference play. Senior goalie Jake Hildebrand has a 3-9-1 record and a 3.87 goals against average, which is second to last in the conference. Forwards Grant Besse, Ryan Wagner and Luke Kunin are averaging a point per game for Wisconsin, and will try to lead the Badgers to a fifth place spot this weekend. Still with only one Big Ten win, goaltending is the biggest issue for the Badgers, as freshman Matt Jurusik ranks last with a 3.99 goals against average. Wisconsin’s lone win came against the Spartans in December—a 3-0 victory.

Ferris State vs. No. 6 Michigan

Friday: 7:30 p.m. ET

Maintaining the sixth spot in the country, the Wolverines will play a one-game non-conference slate against Ferris State. Because this is a non-conference game, Michigan will not receive any points towards the Big Ten standings. Forwards Kyle Connor, Tyler Motte and JT Compher continue to dominate opponents, averaging nearly two points per game against non-Big Ten teams. Ferris State ranks fourth in the WCHA and is coming off a series split with conference opponent Michigan Tech. Forward Gerald Mayhew leads the team with 10 goals and 17 assists, and goalie Darren Smith boasts a 11-5-5 record with an excellent 1.94 goals against average. These in-state rivals have played every year since 1981. Michigan owns a 68-30-4 all-time record, but Ferris State has won the previous three matchups.

Minnesota is idle this weekend.

Eric Ohlson is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ewo5082@psu.edu.