Series of the Week: Ohio State vs. Minnesota
With Notre Dame already clinching the Big Ten regular season championship, the race is now heating up for conference tournament seeding as Ohio State will be squaring off against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
The Buckeyes enter this pivotal weekend bout ranked No. 6 in both the USCHO polls and PairWise rankings.
The Golden Gophers on the other hand enter this series ranked No. 10 in the USCHO polls and remain in a three-way tie for No. 9 with Minnesota Duluth and Omaha in the PairWise rankings.
Ohio State split their most recent series against No. 1 Notre Dame and have been playing rather well over the past few weeks.
The Buckeyes average just over three goals per game and give up an average of just over two goals per game.
Tanner Laczynski is easily the Scarlet and Grey’s most versatile, lethal, and all-around best player.
The sixth round Philadelphia Flyers draft pick has accumulated 37 points this season by hitting the back of the net 12 times alongside 25 assists.
Matthew Weis and Mason Jobst are also players with a lot of promise. The two have combined for 23 goals and 40 assists while Dakota Joshua remains an imposing figure on defense.
Sean Romeo has been fairly consistent this season in net for Ohio State.
The redshirt junior net-minder has started 27 of the team’s 30 games, allowing 56 goals, averaging 2.1 goals given up per game, racking up 687 saves, holding a save percentage of .925, alongside a record of
For Minnesota, they are coming off of a convincing sweep of Wisconsin in Madison last weekend where they scored 11 goals in only two games.
The maroon and gold enter the two-game series with a record of 18-13-1 and have won five of their last six games.
Minnesota averages just under three goals per game while surrendering just over two goals per game.
Nashville Predators draft pick Rem Pitlick is leading the team in points scored with 11 goals and 14 assists.
Alongside Pitlick, Tyler Sheehy has scored 12 goals and players like Casey Mittlestadt and Tommy Novak are extremely gifted passers.
Mittlestadt and Novak have a combined 11 goals and 35 assists on the season and have the ability to change the outcome of a game at any time.
In net. Minnesota relies heavily on Eric Schierhorn. He has started 23 of the team’s 32 games this season and has held his own.
In 24 appearances this season, Schierhorn has given up 60 goals, allowing an average of 2.52 goals per contest, making 581 saves, holding a save percentage of .906 and having a record of 12-11-1.
Both of these games will be extremely important because the Big Ten Tournament is just a few short weeks away and there is still a lot to play for.
Both games will be televised with Friday night’s contest being broadcasted on the Big Ten Network and Saturday afternoon’s battle being shown on ESPNU.
Ohio State swept Minnesota in Columbus back in early December by the scores of 2-1 I overtime and 4-1 respectively.
Minnesota desperately wants to show that they are a team that can hang around with the nation’s best while also making a claim that they can win at a high level.
This series should present two quality games with two college hockey bluebloods. Buckle up!
Christopher Hess is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in history. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org