Around the Big Ten: Hockey - Week 3

Audio/Story posted October 22, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

Host Kyle Cannillo is joined by analysts Jordan Mansberger and Logan Bourandas as they break down Wisconsin's and Notre Dame's strong starts as well as Penn State's struggles in the latest edition of the Around the Big Ten Hockey podcast:

With the new season of college men’s hockey in full swing, arguably the league’s top conference in the Big Ten has failed to disappoint. None of the seven teams have a record below .500, with the worst team being Michigan State at 1-1. Three top contenders have emerged early on as favorites for the Big Ten championship, as well as a run in the NCAA Tournament.

After a surprising sweep over the reigning back-to-back champions in Minnesota Duluth, the Wisconsin Badgers have looked completely revitalized this season and have already moved up from No. 17 to No. 6 in the rankings over the past week. Wisconsin looked completely unstoppable against Minnesota Duluth, winning by scores of 6-2 and 3-1 in the two-game sweep. The Badgers will stay at home to take on Clarkson before starting Big Ten play against the Nittany Lions. Wisconsin is currently the second-highest-ranked team in the Big Ten, one spot behind No. 5 Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish are the only undefeated team remaining in the Big Ten, sitting at 2-0 on the young season. Notre Dame swept Air Force in a two-game set, winning 4-3 and 6-1. In the first game on Friday, the Irish were powered by a two-goal third period to secure the victory. Notre Dame will stay at home to play Lake Superior on Friday. Both Notre Dame and Wisconsin were projected to finish second and third, respectively, in the Big Ten conference behind Penn State.

Despite a hot start from the Nittany Lions, a surprising loss last Friday to Alaska Fairbanks has hindered the hopes of what seemed like a possible Big Ten championship run. Before the loss, the Penn State offense looked once again like the best in the league, scoring 20 goals in the first four games. That explosive offense disappeared on Friday, as Penn State put up a goose egg in the 4-0 loss. The Nittany Lions will have to figure out a way to recover quickly, as they have a short one-game series against Robert Morris before a crucial two-game series against the up-and-coming Wisconsin Badgers. That series could end up deciding the fate of the Big Ten for the rest of the season.

Elsewhere around the Big Ten, Michigan swept Lake Superior in a two-game series, winning by scores of 4-0 and 4-3, rebounding after a tough 0-1-1 start to the season. Minnesota also swept its latest series, winning against Niagara by scores of 3-2  in overtime and 4-2 in regulation. Those wins boosted Minnesota to 3-1 on the season as well as the No. 20 ranking in the latest poll. Ohio State split its series against Nebraska-Omaha, winning Game 1, 3-2, but dropping Game 2, 2-1. Finally, Michigan State split its series against Northern Michigan, winning Game 1, 5-3, but losing Game 2, 2-0.

College hockey in 2019-20 is only getting started, but we are already just days away from seeing conference-deciding matchups. With how competitive the Big Ten is, every win counts.

 

Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.