College Hockey Series Of The Week: No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 11 Minnesota
This weekend will feature a crucial series in the Big Ten conference.
The Michigan Wolverines head into the series on top of the Big Ten with 29 points and on a four-game winning streak.
Michigan ended its four-game homestand with a sweep against Penn State which could’ve gone either direction.
Both games against the Nittany Lions were decided by a single goal and the final game of the series required a comeback to secure the victory.
Following a strong second period by the Nittany Lions, Michigan found itself down 3-1 before scoring the final three goals of the game.
All three of those goals were scored by first round draft picks in the past two NHL Drafts.
Matty Beniers sparked the comeback late in the second period by netting his 14th goal of the season while Luke Hughes tied the game and Brendan Brisson scored the eventual game winner with his team leading 15th goal on the season.
The Wolverines would win the game with a 4-3 score and would win the first game of the series 3-2.
Both Hughes and Beiners scored in that game as well as the Wolverines took a 3-0 lead in the first period and would never give it up.
The opponent for Michigan this weekend has dealt with a major setback off the ice.
Former Minnesota Golden Gophers goaltender Jack LaFontaine signed an entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes in early January effectively leaving the college in the middle of the college hockey season.
With LaFontaine’s departure, the Golden Gophers now have a major hole in net and have given up eight goals in the past four games including three goals in the teams most recent game in a loss against Alaska.
That Alaska series ended in a split as the opening game of the series ended in a 4-1 Minnesota victory.
Blake McLaughlin scored two goals in the series netting one in each of the two games.
With the Golden Gophers just four points behind conference-leading Michigan, this is a big series for both sides and in the final two games, these two teams will play against each other.
When these two teams met earlier on in the season, back in early December, the series ended in a split but that was with LaFontaine in net for both games of the series.
Despite all the questions with Minnesota at the moment, it is one of four teams in the Big Ten conference within five points of each other and vying for the top spot in the conference.
The Golden Gophers have a great opportunity to take down a Michigan team that despite winning, has struggled to hold the top spot in the conference as of late.
Can Minnesota get the job done at home? We shall see.
Prediction: Series split
Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism