Men’s Hockey: Around the Big Ten Week 13
Zach Kaplan, Joe Esquivel-Murphy and Eric Ohlson break down the week 13 hockey games around the Big Ten.
The hockey season is nearing the conclusion of the regular season and teams are trying to figure out where they will land in their conference tournament. This is especially true for the Big Ten as two teams are tied for the first.
A perennial hockey powerhouse, the University of Minnesota has had a consistent season, winning 17 games this season compared to the only seven losses that they had suffered this season. Their conference record is even better, currently at 8-2.
Since splitting their opening series against Ohio State, the Golden Gophers have been red-hot as they have won seven of the past eight games including dominating Penn State this past weekend. Minnesota have a tough task ahead of them as they head to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes.
The Wisconsin Badgers entered the season with concerns as a new head coach was put in place, but Tony Granato has guided the program to 15 wins this season, eight of which are in conference play. Their conference record ties them with Minnesota for the best record in the conference and are the only other team to split a series with them outside of Ohio State.
Since losing in overtime to Minnesota, Wisconsin has been on a roll as they have won their last five games and scored at least three goals in each contest. The Badgers look to continue their winning ways against a Penn State team that is trending in the wrong direction.
The Nittany Lions started the season hotter than any other team in the Big Ten as they lost only one game and tied another in 2016. Unfortunately, 2017 has not fared so well for Penn State as they have only won three games so far and are currently on a five game winning streak.
Goaltending for the Nittany Lions have been a problem as they have allowed at least three goals in every game during the losing streak. If Penn State wants an opportunity to win the Big Ten, sweeping Wisconsin is a step in the right direction.
Ohio State has had an up and down run in Big Ten play as they are one of only two teams to beat Minnesota this season. Their play against Penn State is also incredible as they have beat them twice and have a shootout victory against them as well.
The Buckeyes, though, struggled against Wisconsin as they lost both games this season. Ohio State still has a slight chance of winning the Big Ten, but need to sweep Minnesota for that to happen.
The Michigan schools have struggled this year as both teams have yet to reach 10 wins this season. Michigan is almost there with nine wins, but only two wins have come in conference.
Michigan State has struggled throughout the year as they have only won five games this season and only one in conference. Both teams are playing for pride as neither team has a chance of making the tournament and a win against the other would help give them confidence for the rest of the season.
The end of the conference season is always intriguing and the Big Ten is no exception.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.