Big Ten Hockey Tournament Preview
ComRadio's own Bria Donnely, Bradnon Pelter and Eric Ohlson berak down all the matchups in this year's Big Ten hockey tournament.
The Big Ten men’s hockey tournament gets underway this week and with national tournament chances dwindling for some teams, a Big Ten tournament championship may be their only chance to make it in.
Thursday, March 17
No. 3 Penn State (20-12-4, 10-9-1) vs. No. 6 Wisconsin (8-18-8, 3-13-4)
First puck drop in St. Paul will be between the Nittany Lions and the Badgers. The two teams have met four times this season, with the last meeting being on March 5. Penn State took the first three meetings, but Wisconsin picked up the last contest between the two winning 4-3. Wisconsin finished the regular season on somewhat of a high note with wins over Minnesota and Penn State plus a tie with Ohio State. Penn State finished the regular season on a three-game losing streak. With Penn State struggling as of late and Wisconsin playing better hockey than they have in a while, I see Wisconsin taking this game and ending the Nittany Lions season. The Badgers have shown they can score and with the Nittany Lions seeing issues down the stretch, the Badgers will be able to break through the struggling Nittany Lion defense.
No. 4 Ohio State (13-17-4, 8-8-4) vs. No. 5 Michigan State (10-22-4, 6-12-2)
Ohio State and Michigan State finished off the regular season against each other. Ohio State took game one in overtime and game two ended in a 1-1 tie. The two split their meeting earlier in the season. Both teams have had big wins this season but the one that stands out most is the sweep Ohio State had over Michigan only a few weeks back. The Buckeyes struggled early on but finished the regular season playing at a higher level, going seven games without a loss. The Spartans could give them some trouble having beaten Minnesota 5-0 two weeks back but I still see the seeding taking precedence and Ohio State moving on.
Friday, March 18
No. 2 Michigan (22-7-5, 12-5-3) vs. Penn State/Wisconsin winner
Whether it is Penn State or Wisconsin making it out of game one, my prediction being Wisconsin, I do not see either team giving Michigan too much trouble. Michigan finished the regular season with dominating wins over Penn State and never lost a game against Wisconsin this season. During conference play, the Wolverines only lost game one of a series twice and with the tournament being win or go home, the talented top line of theirs will be ready to go and keep them moving forward.
No. 1 Minnesota (19-16-0, 14-6-0) vs. Ohio State/Michigan State winner
Minnesota finished the regular season winning their fifth straight regular season conference title with a 4-1 win over Wisconsin. Minnesota swept Ohio State this season and only dropped one game to Michigan State but I do not see either team lying down and giving Minnesota the win easily. I still think Minnesota is more talented than the two and I think their experience and coaching will give them the win and move them into the championship game.
Saturday, March 19
My prediction - No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 2 Michigan
I think this game is the one every Big Ten hockey fan has been waiting for all season. Michigan has been ranked in the top 10 all season and Minnesota spent all season fighting for the credit they felt they deserved. Each team came away with two wins apiece against each other but Michigan’s wins came more handedly. Even with the high scoring Michigan offense, I still see Minnesota raising the trophy at the end. Many already see Michigan being put into the final tournament but if Minnesota does not win the Big Ten tournament, their chances of making the final tournament are very slim and because of that I think they have more to play for.
Bria Donnelly is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Senior / Broadcast Journalism