Around the Big Ten: Hockey - Week 5
Kyle Cannillo speaks with Jordan Mansberger and Logan Bourandas about anything and everything Big Ten hockey. They preview all the critical games this weekend in the latest edition of the Around the Big Ten: Hockey podcast:
Last week, we finally saw some shake-ups in the Big Ten rankings with conference play kicking off last weekend. With some series featuring multiple ranked teams, we got to see a glimpse of what the rest of the season might look like. Thanks to multiple strong performances last week, there are now three Big Ten teams ranked inside the top 10.
One of these teams is the Penn State Nittany Lions, which moved up six spots to No. 6 after a very convincing sweep over the Wisconsin Badgers. Penn State’s offense, which went missing in its Game 2 loss against Alaska Fairbanks, returned this past weekend, scoring 10 goals in the two games. The Nittany Lions also did a great job in slowing down the potent Badgers attack, as team points leader Cole Caufield only scored one goal in the series. Penn State will continue conference play this weekend against Michigan State.
Another team that many didn’t think would be on par with last season’s team is the Ohio State Buckeyes. The team also recorded a sweep last weekend over Michigan. While the games weren’t blowouts like Penn State’s, Ohio State did what it had to do, winning each game by one goal. The sweep propelled the Buckeyes from No. 13 to No. 9, becoming the third-highest-ranked Big Ten team and moving past Wisconsin in the process. Ohio State will face another tough Big Ten test on the road against Notre Dame.
The highest-ranked team in the Big Ten is still the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame came into last weekend unbeaten but finally suffered its first tie against Minnesota. The 2-2 game was then followed by an impressive 5-3 win in which Nick Leivermann scored his first two goals of the year. Notre Dame kept its spot in the rankings at No. 5, with Penn State only one spot behind. Notre Dame will return home for what will be the biggest series of the week against Ohio State.
After a sweep over Minnesota Duluth, the Wisconsin Badgers have lost two of their last three contests, which includes getting by Penn State last weekend. The Badgers have gone from looking like the best Big Ten team in the country to now being the fourth-best team in the conference. Wisconsin’s offense went completely missing in the series with Cole Caufield being the only real offensive factor. The Badgers will now have a nonconference matchup against Nebraska Omaha before welcoming in Notre Dame.
Minnesota received a couple top-20 votes to join the after putting up a decent fight against Notre Dame, but remember, the Golden Gophers didn’t get a win in that series. Minnesota tied Game 1, 2-2, before losing Game 2, 5-3. The Golden Gophers will play at Michigan this coming weekend. The Wolverines, meanwhile, were swept over the weekend by Ohio State and will look to rebound against Minnesota.
Finally, the only team yet to play a conference game is the Michigan State Spartans, which were embarrassed over the weekend by No. 4 Cornell, a team that hadn’t played a game all season before taking on the Spartans. Michigan State will travel to State College to take on the Nittany Lions.
With another slate of Big Ten matchups coming up, all eyes will be on Notre Dame-Ohio State for what will be a telling series for which team is the top dog in the Big Ten so far this season.
Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.