Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 16
Host Josh Portney and analysts Logan Bourandas, Jordan Hession and Zech Lambert talk about key Big Ten matchups this week, as Penn State looks to rebound and Notre Dame tries to stay relevant.
After a surprising weekend in Big Ten hockey with both Notre Dame and Penn State losing seemingly easy series, this upcoming week will offer some major bounceback opportunities to the leaders of the Big Ten.
At the top of the Big Ten is Ohio State with a small lead over Michigan State and Penn State. With an overall record of 15-6-3, the Buckeyes are playing extremely well and are riding a lot of momentum from their home series sweep of the Fighting Irish. Incredible goaltending by Tommy Nappier and the combination of Gustaf Westland, Tanner Laczynski and Carson Meyer on offense has led the Buckeyes to win after win. Next, they face a lousy Minnesota team that has no outstanding offensive leader and lacks good goaltending. However, this could end up being a rerun of the Penn State-Michigan series, so watch out for Minnesota to steal a game from this dominant Ohio State team.
Notre Dame is the team that you’d expect to be at the top, but the Fighting Irish are currently on the decline. They started off the year at the top of the league, ranked and ready to dominate with loads of potential. However, losses to Bowling Green, Boston College and Michigan set them far back in the standings. Now, Notre Dame has completely fallen apart. Against Ohio State this past weekend, the Fighting Irish showed some effort in the first game but had absolutely no energy in the second. This week, Notre Dame has an opportunity to reawaken and redefine itself, as the Fighting Irish host the bottom-of-the-pack Wisconsin Badgers.
Similar to Notre Dame, Penn State has also fallen into some recent woes, namely a series sweep via Michigan, which seems to have taken the energy out of the Nittany Lions. Coach Guy Gadowsky responded to Penn State being shut out 6-0 by completely mixing up the lines and pulling star goaltender Peyton Jones, who, despite allowing six goals, made his fourth 40-save game of the year. Penn State has a chance to rebound this weekend, but it won’t be easy. The Nittany Lions take on the surging Michigan State Spartans in a road series that could define the season. Michigan State is a team that really came out of nowhere to become a major contender in the race for the Big Ten title, so this series will also be a defining moment for the Spartans’ program, too.
Michigan currently sits at second place in the league, but this week, the Wolverines have a bye, as they play the United States U18 Team in an exhibition match.
Josh Portney is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.