Around the Big Ten Hockey: Week 2
With Big Ten hockey into its second week, Josh Starr, Jordan Mansberger, Matt McClure and Jeremy Schooler take a look around the conference.
College hockey season is finally back, and the first week didn’t disappoint. The Big Ten conference showed exactly why it is arguably the best in college hockey. Currently, six of the seven teams in the conference are ranked in the latest USCHO rankings: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 6 Minnesota, No. 10 Penn State, No. 11 Michigan and No. 15 Wisconsin.
Top ranked Ohio State received 38 first-place votes. Last weekend, the Buckeyes traveled to Arizona State to take on the Sun Devils and took both games of the series 3-2 and 3-0, respectively. This weekend the Buckeyes stay home in Columbus and welcome University of Massachusetts for a series of non-conference action. Last year, Ohio State traveled to Amherst and won both games 3-1 and 3-0, respectively.
Next is the No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish made a big splash in their inaugural season, winning the Big Ten championship and reaching the national title game. Last weekend, the Fighting Irish participated in a tournament at Mercyhurst where they defeated Providence 3-0 and tied Mercyhurst 6-6. This weekend, they travel to Omaha, Nebraska to take on Nebraska-Omaha. The teams split the series in last year's pair of games.
The No. 6 Minnesota Golden Gophers come into this weekend 1-0-1 after their opening series against the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Gophers tied 6-6 in game one but came away with a 7-4 victory in the following game. Minnesota last Saturday also faced the USA Under-18 team in Plymouth, Michigan where it won 7-1. However, that exhibition game did not count towards Minnesota's record. This weekend Minnesota will play another single game against the Trinity Western University Spartans at Mariucci in Minnesota.
No. 10 Penn State made an early statement last weekend by sweeping then seventeenth-ranked Clarkson, who was not ranked in this week's USCHO poll. The Nittany Lions won each game 4-3 and 5-1. This weekend Penn State welcomes Niagara to Pegula Ice Arena for a Friday night and Saturday afternoon tilt.
No. 11 Michigan comes into this young season 0-1. The Wolverines have faced three different teams thus far in Vermont, which they lost 5-2. They also played two exhibition games against Waterloo and U.S. NTDP. All three games thus far have been played in Ann Arbor. This coming weekend the Wolverines will play a home-and-home series against No. 19 Western Michigan.
The Michigan State Spartans are the only team in the Big Ten currently unranked. Last weekend, they faced Northern Michigan, winning game one 4-2 and losing the latter game 4-3. This weekend the Spartans are off before they hit the road next weekend to take on No .8 Cornell.
Tom Johnston is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.