Around the Big Ten: Hockey - Week 4
Host Josh Portney and analysts Logan Bourandas and Ben Geller recap last weekend's college hockey action in the Big Ten and preview the first weekend of in-conference play in the latest edition of the Around the Big Ten: Hockey podcast:
Another week down in men's hockey and the Big Ten is still looking strong. The rankings feature four Big Ten teams in the top 20 and two others receiving votes, and no team in the Big Ten is currently below .500. Things are going to get interesting as Big Ten play kicks off this week, but first, let’s recap the past week.
The top team in the conference remains the Fighting Irish, as Notre Dame holds onto its No. 5 ranking. The Fighting Irish are still undefeated on the season with a 4-0 record. Over the weekend, Notre Dame swept its two-game series at home against Lake Superior, winning 5-2 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday. The offense continues to look like one of the best in the country, averaging over five goals per game. Notre Dame will now have four straight series against Big Ten competition, starting on the road against Minnesota.
The next highest Big Ten team in the rankings remains the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers. After an impressive three-game winning streak, which included a sweep over the reigning two-time champion Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin split its series last week. Against No. 11 Clarkson, the Badgers lost the first game on Friday, 0-4, but won on Saturday, 4-3. Especially in Game 1, the Badgers looked outmatched by the Golden Knights, leading to the Badgers falling one spot in the latest rankings. Wisconsin will now travel to State College to open up conference play against Penn State.
Like Notre Dame, the Nittany Lions had a weekend that went as expected. Penn State won its lone game of the week against Robert Morris, 2-1, at home. Penn State is now 4-1 on the year, and the win over Robert Morris made for a nice recovery after a shocking 4-0 loss against Alaska Fairbanks a week ago. Brandon Biro scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period of the game (his fourth of the season), staying hot as one of the Big Ten’s top offensive weapons. Penn State will now welcome Wisconsin for a crucial in-conference matchup later this week.
Elsewhere around the Big Ten, Ohio State jumped two spots in the rankings, landing one spot behind Penn State at No. 13. The Buckeyes went on the road and swept Mercyhurst last weekend, winning 7-2 and 3-1. Ohio State is now 4-1-1 on the year.
Michigan split its series over the weekend against Western Michigan. The Wolverines won Game 1, 4-0, and lost Game 2, 1-4. Michigan earned 32 votes in the latest rankings, moving into the top 20. The Wolverines will travel to Ohio State for a two-game set that will open up their Big Ten slate.
Michigan State also split its series over the weekend against Colorado College. The Spartans lost Game 1, 1-3, and won Game 2, 5-1. They will continue non-conference play against Cornell.
Lastly, Minnesota lost both games in their two-games set against Minnesota Duluth. The Gophers lost by a combined five goals over the two games. Minnesota will open up conference play this week against Notre Dame.
With almost every team in the Big Ten set to open up conference play this week, it should be interesting to see if the top teams can start to create some distance from those on the bottom.
Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.