Week 3: Games To Watch Around College Hockey
The third weekend of NCAA hockey has arrived, bringing with it several key match-ups to keep an eye on. This week features two series between ranked teams and some other compelling games sprinkled in.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth vs. Notre Dame:
After a split at Penn State last weekend, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking to climb back into the Top 20 picture with a strong performance in their home opening weekend series against the fifth-ranked Bulldogs of Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs are coming off a strong performance last week, sweeping perennial power and No. 15 Minnesota on the road in Minneapolis. Freshman Dylan Malmquist for the Fighting Irish is one of only six players to play Division I Hockey this year after playing at a public high school last year. He has already had a strong showing in his first two games against Penn State, tallying a goal in a 5-3 losing effort last Saturday.
No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 18 Union:
The 2-0-0 Michigan Wolverines hit the road for a tough test against the Union College Dutchmen (2-0-2) this weekend after a sweep of overwhelmed Mercyhurst. Due to Minnesota’s recent slump, the Wolverines are now the highest-ranked Big Ten team and they look to pad that cushion this weekend. To do that, they are going to have to win in a tough environment in Schenectady, New York. Last time they met in 2011, the Dutchmen swept the maize and blue in Ann Arbor. Look for another star freshman; Michigan forward Kyle Connor needs to play a big role in this series. Connor was given Big Ten First Star of the Week honors last weekend after three goals, including a game-winner in the third period on Saturday, carried his team to a sweep. Senior Justin Selman also had three assists in that series and was given Third Star of the Week honors.
No. 9 St. Cloud State vs. No. 14 Quinnipiac:
Two 4-0-0 teams square off on the campus of Quinnipiac University this weekend as the Bobcats host the Huskies of St. Cloud State. Quinnipiac has shut out its last two opponents, including a dominant 4-0 win over Maine on Tuesday in which four different Bobcats scored a goal. St. Cloud State has pitched an even more impressive three shutouts thus far, including two last weekend against Minnesota State Mankato. Look for this to be a matchup of dominant goaltenders. For the Huskies, Charlie Lindgarten is a perfect 3-0-0 with a 1.000 save percentage. Michael Gertig is coming off a 20-save performance for Quinnipiac against Maine and he has a .932 save percentage going through his first four games. Whichever team scores first in these games may walk out with a couple of victories as goals will be coming at a premium for sure.
Tom Shively is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.