Men’s Hockey: Around The Big Ten Week 15
Brian McLaughlin, Anthony Spada and Mitch Stewart break down this week's matchups around the Big Ten.
Last week was a very interesting week for Big Ten hockey. Penn State went to East Lansing and came out with a sweep against Michigan State. Penn state ended up winning those games 4-2 and 4-1. Minnesota hosted Wisconsin in a series of the No. 1 team in the Big Ten up against the No. 2 team. Minnesota lost the first game 3-2, but came back on Saturday to even the series, winning the game 3-2.
Ohio State hosted Michigan where Ohio State came out on top 4-2 in the first game. Michigan rallied for the second game, winning by a score of 1-0 and tying the series at a game apiece. As for the standings in the Big Ten, Minnesota is still on top, Wisconsin is in second, Penn State in third, followed by Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State.
Now onto this week’s preview around the Big Ten.
Penn State is going to be hosting Wisconsin in perhaps what will be the most important series of the season. Penn State is coming off a series where Nate Sucese and Andrew Sturtz really showed off their talent. Penn State looked fresh on the ice and especially in the third period, when they have recently struggled to keep up with the likes of Minnesota and the other Big Ten teams.
Wisconsin is coming a tough series against Minnesota, which showed that the Badgers can hang with some of the best teams in the nation. Luke Kunin is a very dangerous player this year and one of the best in the Big Ten.
The scenario is clear for Penn State: win both games and they jump over Wisconsin for second place. If they end up splitting the series, they will most likely stay in third, but if Ohio State wins out, then they drop to fourth. The defense for Penn State will be key for this series, as they have to shut down Luke Kunin, Seamus Malone, and Trent Frederic if they want to come out with two wins.
Minnesota will be travelling to Ann Arbor in what should a non-stressful weekend for the Gophers. Minnesota has some special players on their team, Tyler Sheehy and Justin Kloos. Tyler Sheehy will most likely win the Big Ten player of the Year, as he has an outstanding 48 points throughout the season. On the other hand, Justin Kloos is one of the fastest players to touch the ice in college hockey and has 39 points on the season with 17 goals and 22 assists.
The Gophers won’t go uncontested as the Wolverines are sure to put up a fight. Michigan has one of the best goalies in the Big Ten, Hayden Lavigne, who has a save percentage of .908. Lavigne will be the star for Michigan, as their forwards cannot seem to produce on the other end of the ice. Minnesota comes out with two easy wins, sweeping Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The final series of the week will be Ohio State facing off against Michigan State. Ohio State has, with no doubt, the best goalie in the Big Ten, Christian Frey. The senior for Ohio State has a save percentage this year of .914, which is incredible. Ohio State also has one of the best forwards in Mason Jobst. Jobst has 42 points on the season with 14 goals and 28 assists. Ohio State could possibly jump up to third in Big Ten if they win out this weekend.
Michigan State has struggled this year and they could struggle against Ohio State. They really struggle in the goalie area, with Ed Minney having a save percentage of just .884. The upperclassmen who have stepped up for Ohio State like Nick Schilkey, who has 24 goals on the season, can cause trouble for Minney and the Spartans. The Buckeyes come out with winning on and losing one this weekend.
With two weeks left in the season, this will be a very exciting week in Big Ten hockey. Many of these teams could be in many different places in the Big Ten standings. There will be plenty of close games this weekend and maybe a few upsets.
Anthony Spada is a freshman majoring in security and risk analysis. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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