Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 2
Last weekend served as the start of a new season for one team in the Big Ten conference while for the other six teams, that point will be this weekend.
The Penn State Nittany Lions opened up the new year as they took on the Long Island University Sharks. The blue and white were able to come away with a convincing sweep against the Sharks who are in their second year of existence.
Game one was a 3-1 win while the second game saw much more scoring in a 5-2 Penn State win. All eight goals scored by the Nittany Lions were from a different player as Penn State showcased its depth.
Every Big Ten team will play college hockey this weekend and there are a few interesting series to preview for this weekend.
The reigning conference champion Minnesota Golden Gophers will start the year against the Mercyhurst Lakers. With the loss of Sampo Ranta to the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, it will be junior Sammy Walker to lead the charge for the No. 4 Golden Gophers this season. Walker had 13 goals and 16 assists last season.
Their biggest challenger for the Big Ten title may be the Michigan Wolverines who will face off against the Lake Superior Lakers. Star power could be the best word to describe this Wolverines roster as they return several players who were high NHL Draft picks a few months ago. Defensemen Owen Power and forwards Matty Beniers and Kent Johnson were all top-five draft picks and are returning to play for the No. 3 Wolverines this season.
Neither of those teams however won the Big Ten regular-season last season as it was the Wisconsin Badgers who made that surprise run. They will play the Michigan Tech Huskies this weekend. With much of the Badgers star talent including star forward Cole Caufield leaving following the season, it will be players such as Cole’s brother Brock Caufield and Roman Ahcan set to lead a No. 13 ranked Wisconsin team with many questions surrounding it.
The only other Big Ten team aside from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin to open up the season ranked is the No. 19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They will face a team already discussed in the Long Island University Sharks. With the loss of forward Alex Steeves to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, it will be the Slaggert brothers Graham and Landon set to lead the Fighting Irish this season. This matchup against Long Island will only be a one-game series.
It should be a fun weekend in college hockey as fans of the Big Ten conference finally get to see all seven of its teams in action to open up another college hockey season.
Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.