Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 11
Ben Jenkins, Ben Ferree, and Tom Johnston preview what's happening around the Big Ten in college hockey this week:
We have officially approached the heart of Big Ten conference play as the grind for playoff seeding is at full speed. With every team in the Big Ten having played more than 14 conference games the rankings are starting to take shape.
No. 1 overall ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish continue to surprise the entire hockey world with their dominance in the Big Ten conference. The Fighting Irish stand atop the conference standings currently with a 13-1-0 record in Big Ten conference play and a 19-4-1 overall record thus far. Last weekend, the Fighting Irish played currently No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers, where the teams split the series 4-2 and 5-0. The Badgers handed the Irish their first loss in Big Ten play.
This weekend, the Fighting Irish travel to current No. 13 Minnesota for a weekend series with the Golden Gophers. The Fighting Irish will bring an offense that scores 3.1 goals per game while facing a Minnesota defense that allows 2.5 goals per game. The Golden Gophers are riding a two-game winning streak into town as they swept Michigan State 5-4 and 2-1 last weekend.
No. 6 Ohio State sits under the Fighting Irish in the Big Ten standings currently with an 8-5-1 record in conference play and a 15-5-4 overall record. Last weekend, the Buckeyes had the weekend off from Big Ten play. The previous weekend they had a huge series against Penn State that was split 5-2 and 5-1 with Ohio State winning the latter game.
This weekend, the Buckeyes will welcome to Columbus the team that sits directly below them in the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines. Ohio State is 5-3-3 at home this season meanwhile, the Wolverines are 4-5-1 away from Ann Harbor. However, the Wolverines are riding a four-game winning streak into Columbus this weekend. Ohio State will be looking to keep their offense red-hot which scores an average of three goals a game. The Wolverines defense allows an average of three goals a game.
No. 14 Penn State is 13-10-3 and 6-7-3 in Big Ten play and will look to rebound after a tough weekend. Last weekend, the Nittany Lions fell victim to a series sweep at the hands of the Wolverines who won both games 4-0 and 3-2 in Ann Arbor last weekend which put the Nittany Lions in somewhat of a tough spot.
This weekend, The Nittany Lions will continue their road trip away from Pegula Ice Arena as they will travel to No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers for a weekend series matchup. Both teams met earlier in the year at Penn State where the Nittany Lions took the first game by a score of 5-1 and then went to a shootout the next night where Penn State won the shootout but the score ended up being 3-3. Penn State will look to rely on it offense that averages nearly four goals a game. On the contrary, the Badgers offense averages 3.2 goals per game but Penn State will try to break through a defense that averages almost three goals per game.
Michigan State who is at the bottom of the conference will have the weekend off but when they return next weekend to play Ohio State. They have an overall record of 9-15-1 and 3-11-1 in conference play.
Tom Johnston is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Tom Johnston is currently a Senior from Pittsburgh, PA. majoring in Broadcast journalism and minoring in media studies. He has the aspiration of one day becoming a Play-by-play broadcaster in baseball, hockey or football or a sports anchor back home in Pittsburgh. He is currently involved with Comm Radio as a broadcaster and is the host of Talk Time with Tom. Tom is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He is also involved with PSN-TV show sports night.