Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 6
Ben Jenkins, Ben Ferree and Brian McLauglin preview this week's action on the ice in the Big Ten.
As the college hockey season moves along, teams are starting to get into the heart of their conference play. The Big Ten is no exception, as every team in the conference has already played at least six conference games.
No. 4 Notre Dame remains at the top of the Big Ten standings with an impressive 6-0-0 record in its first season in the Big Ten. The Irish are 12-3-1 overall on the season. Last weekend the Irish welcomed Minnesota, the traditional powerhouse of Big Ten hockey, to South Bend and swept the Gophers to claim their spot at the top of the conference.
This weekend, the Irish will continue to make their rounds in the Big Ten when they take on the struggling Michigan State Spartans on the road. The Spartans sit at the bottom of the Big Ten standings with a 1-4-1 record in the Big Ten.
Led by Cal Burke’s seven goals, Notre Dame will rely on its high-powered offense that averages 3.3 goals per contest. Michigan State will look to ride its momentum from a tie against Penn State in the second leg of their weekend series.
No. 7 Minnesota sits just behind Notre Dame in the conference standings with a 3-4-1 record in the conference. The Gophers will look to rebound from a disappointing performance last weekend against Notre Dame, where the Gophers lost both games, 1-0 and 5-2, respectively.
This weekend, Minnesota will return home to take on the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers, who sit just behind the Gophers in third in the Big Ten with a 3-2-1 record.
Minnesota has not played its best hockey in the Big Ten this season and needs a good series at home in order to get back on track. Wisconsin, on the other hand, will also be trying to rebound following a disappointing split against Mercyhurst.
A high-powered Wisconsin offense that is averaging 3.6 goals per game will look to overcome Minnesota’s impressive defense, which allows only 2.4 goals per game.
Tied for third with Wisconsin in the Big Ten is Penn State with a 3-4-1 conference record. Following a rocky start to the season, the Nittany Lions appear to be getting back on track after going unbeaten two weekends in a row against Arizona State and Michigan State. The Nittany Lions did tie in their second game against the Spartans.
This weekend, Penn State will be tested once again when they travel to Columbus to take on No. 11 Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a 3-3 record in the conference so far.
Ohio State is coming into this game hot following a sweep of its rivals Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes will look to continue this momentum against Penn State, a team that has struggled this season on the defensive end of the ice.
Ohio State will also present a challenge to the Nittany Lions’ offense, as the Buckeyes hold opponents to just 1.9 goals per game.
Tied for fifth in the conference with Ohio State is Michigan who boasts a 2-4-2 record in Big Ten play. As mentioned, the Wolverines will be looking to rebound from a sweep by Ohio State.
The Wolverines will not play an official game this weekend, as their next matchup will be an exhibition against the team USA U-18 National Team Development Program team. When Michigan returns to the ice, they will face off at home against the Michigan State Spartans.
Ben Ferree is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.