Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 5
The Big Ten has now seen the majority of teams play six conference games, with only Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State having played four. No. 4 Notre Dame still leads the pack with 12 points, while No. 6 Minnesota closely follows at 11. No. 9 Wisconsin has taken sole possession of third in the conference (10 pts), while No. 17 Michigan (9 pts), and Penn State (6 pts) are mired in the middle. Rounding out things are No. 15 Ohio State and Michigan State (both at 3 pts) who both find themselves trying to rally in the standings. Let’s take a look at how each team is doing:
Notre Dame swept Rensselaer last weekend, with a 4-1 win on Friday and a 1-0 overtime win on Saturday. Cam Morrison scored the overtime winner on Saturday, as Cale Morris put on a 25-save shutout for the Irish. Notre Dame will face their toughest conference test of the season so far when they host No. 6 Minnesota this weekend.
Minnesota found the exact same result last weekend against Harvard, sweeping the Crimson. The Golden Gophers won 4-2 on Friday, and 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. Tyler Sheehy had the game-winner in overtime on Saturday, continuing to add to his solid season thus far with 11 points in 12 games. Things won’t get much easier, as the Gophers will travel to aforementioned Notre Dame for a two-game set that will identify the early leader in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin split their series with Michigan last weekend in Madison, winning 7-3 on Friday, and losing in a shootout (4-4 in regulation, 1-0 in shootout). The Badgers rallied to force overtime on Saturday, scoring with under two minutes left to tie the game. Linus Weissbach had two goals in the Saturday game for Wisconsin. The Badgers will host Mercyhurst for two games this weekend.
The Wolverines split the previously mentioned Wisconsin series last weekend. Michigan looked porous in their own end on Friday, as starting goaltender Jack LaFontaine was chased from the game after allowing four goals. Hayden Lavigne started on Saturday, and was not much better, but good enough to salvage a shootout win. Michigan will host archrival Ohio State for two games this weekend in a series that coincides with the two schools’ annual football game.
Penn State looked much sharper, granted it was against subpar competition. The Nittany Lions swept Arizona State, winning 7-0 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday, in a battle of the two newest college hockey programs in the country. Andrew Sturtz (16 pts) continues to pick up the offensive slack with Denis Smirnov out in the last few weeks. Penn State will take on Michigan State for a two-game set this weekend as both look to climb out of the lower half of the conference standings.
Michigan State swept Ferris State last weekend, winning 3-2 in overtime on Friday, and 3-1 on Saturday. Mitchell Lewandowski added three goals and Taro Hirose had the overtime winner on Friday. Michigan State will travel to Penn State for a two-game series this weekend.
Ohio State was off last weekend, but travels to Ann Arbor to take on archrival Michigan. The series will be crucial as the Buckeyes make up games in hand against other Big Ten foes. They are 5-1-1 on the road this season and will look to climb out of the Big Ten basement.
Zach Kaplan is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.