Around the Big Ten: Week 4 (Hockey)
Host Logan Bourandas and analsyts Jacob Cheris, Jordan Hession and Mac Young dive into the upcoming week in Big Ten Hockey and give their analysis and predictions for each series.
Another wild week in the Big Ten is upon us, as the two best teams in the conference square off. Michigan and Minnesota are playing in the nation’s series of the week, as both are ranked inside the top five.
Penn State is looking to build off a massive first win of the season, as the Nittany Lions face off against Arizona State. Later in the week, Ohio State and Notre Dame will battle it out in one of the more defensive tilts in the conference.
The series between Michigan State and Wisconsin that was set to take place this week has been postponed after a positive COVID-19 test from within the Wisconsin program. Regardless of the lost series, it is sure to be one of the most exciting weeks of Big Ten hockey thus far.
The matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and Minnesota Golden Gophers will be one scrutinized by college hockey fans across the nation. Both teams are obviously extremely talented but will be without some of their top players, as World Junior Championship camps have gotten under way.
Michigan will be without five of its top players, while Minnesota will be missing three. One person who will be playing in the series is Minnesota’s star goaltender Jack LaFontaine. The stellar goalie has continued to look outstanding, as his team has remained undefeated.
On the other hand, Michigan has lost three of its last four contests against two of the lesser sides in the Big Ten. It was expected that Michigan would be able to bounce back after a disappointing series with the Fighting Irish. However, Michigan was shocked in its second game versus Penn State, as the Nittany Lions scored nine goals. Michigan goaltender Strauss Mann was pulled after the second period.
The Wolverines are certainly talented enough to be a top-five team in the nation, but their performance lately has not reflected that. They will have to show something against the unstoppable freight train that has been the Minnesota Golden Gophers in order to hold their high ranking.
After an 0-5 start, the Penn State Nittany Lions shocked many with a 9-5 win over Michigan. The team is starting to put the pieces together and has a solid chance to continue winning against Arizona State.
The Sun Devils and Nittany Lions have struggled defensively this year, so this series is wide open. It’s a big opportunity for Penn State to try and rally together and string together a winning streak to erase the sting of the 0-5 start.
The final series in the Big Ten this week is between defensive-minded Ohio State and a struggling Notre Dame team. Outside of a surprising two-game sweep of Michigan, the Fighting Irish are 1-3 on the season.
Both teams actually split their most recent series, but Ohio State had the more impressive split playing against Big Ten title contender Wisconsin, compared to Notre Dame, which matched up against Arizona State.
Ohio State should be the favorite in this one, but it will be interesting to see if Notre Dame can get back to the great play it had against Michigan.
As we approach the heart of this unique season, it will be exciting to see which teams will step up and find consistently good play and which will fail to find their footing.
Maclain Young is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
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Jacob Cheris is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism from Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is an aspiring sports play-by-play broadcaster or sports analyst. Jacob is a huge Washington Capitals fan and has a great passion for hockey. He played all throughout high school and still plays in the Student Hockey League. He is also a member of Penn State Sports Night, where he analyzes hockey and other sports on YouTube. His favorite play-by play-broadcasters are Mike “Doc” Emrick of NBC Sports and Joe Beninati of NBC Sports Washington. Jacob is looking to expand his love for hockey and use it across all sports.
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