Four Big Ten teams will return to action this weekend after the conference collected a 2-7-1 record last weekend. Michigan and Michigan State were the only two teams who won, defeating UNH and Massachusetts, respectively.
Both Wisconsin and Ohio State were swept last week, and both teams will sit off for a bye this weekend. The Badgers dropped two games to Northern Michigan, falling to 0-4-0 on the season, while Ohio State lost to Miami.
The Spartans and the Wolverines continue the Big Ten-Hockey East challenge with a trip to Massachusetts. Both teams will face Boston University and UMass Lowell.
Both Penn State and Minnesota will host matchups this weekend. The Nittany Lions return home after the Brice Alaska Goal Rush. The Gophers will host in-state rival Bemidji State.
Minnesota (2-0-0) vs. Bemidji State (1-1-0): Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.; Oct. 25 at 8 p.m.
The Gophers started the season 2-0-0 after defeating Minnesota-Duluth and RPI for the Icebreaker title. After playing a close game against Minnesota-Duluth, the Gophers shut out RPI 3-0 and proved why they were the preseason favorite. This is the first time this season the Gophers will play at home.
Bemidji State opened the season with a win and a loss to North Dakota, and like Minnesota were idle last weekend. Kyle Rau is Minnesota’s leading scorer against the Beavers with eight points in eight games.
Rau is one of the driving forces on the team, but the Gophers are known for having a strong team with good defense and great goalkeeping. Hudson Fasching is right behind Rau in scoring, with two goals and three points.
Prediction: Minnesota sweeps
Michigan (1-2-0) at UMass Lowell (2-0-1), Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.; at Boston University (1-0-0), Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
The Wolverines have had a tough start to the season. After a season-opening loss to Ferris State, Michigan dropped a 5-1 decision to UNH. Thankfully for Michigan, the team rebounded with a 2-1 win. Still, there were high expectations for this Michigan team, and this weekend will test them.
First the Wolverines will face the River Hawks. Despite losing a good portion of their roster and goalkeeper Connor Connor Hellebuyck, the River Hawks have started the season well. They’re 2-0-1, with wins over Boston College and Quinnipiac.
The Terriers have played one regular season game, an 8-1 win over UMass. It’s a small sample size, but the Terriers seem like a much different team than the one that dropped a 2-1 contest at Yost last season. Freshman Jack Eichel leads the league with four points per game.
Prediction: Michigan beat UMass Lowell, loses to Boston University
Penn State (1-1-2) vs. Holy Cross (1-2-1): Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.; Oct. 26 at 12 p.m.
The Nittany Lions return home from Alaska, where they tied and lost to Alaska Anchorage and Alaska, respectively. It was a strong showing from Penn State, who dropped a lead late to the Nanooks. Penn State encountered a scary moment when David Thompson was cut by a skate, but Guy Gadowsky told media that Thompson will be fine.
Holy Cross dropped its first two games against Merrimack before trying AIC. The Crusaders earned their first win of the season on Oct. 18, a 3-2 win over AIC. Matt Vidal and Logan Smith lead Holy Cross in scoring with four points each.
Taylor Holstrom has six points through three games, but he’s day-to-day with an injury. David Goodwin and Casey Bailey have four points each, while Matthew Skoff has started all four games.
Prediction: Penn State sweeps
Michigan State (1-1-0) at Boston University (1-0-0), Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.; at UMass Lowell (2-0-1), Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.
It’s a young season for the Spartans, who’ve played two games so far. The Spartans haven’t been known as an offensive team in quite a while, but they scored a combined nine goals in the first two games. Matt Berry’s six points (4g, 2a) lead the Spartan offense. Berry is playing with Michael Ferrantino and Mackenzie MacEachern, and the trio combined for a 6-8-14 line in both games.
The Terriers have only played one game, but it was an 8-1 route of UMass. Future first rounder Jack Eichel had four points (2g, 2a) in the win. Including Eichel, the Terriers have 10 freshmen on the team, and some have already started having an impact.
The River Hawks started their season and Hockey East title defense with a 5-2 win over Boston College. UMass Lowell followed with a 6-3 win over Quinnipiac before tying the Bobcats. It was a strong start to the season for UMass Lowell, which lost a valuable portion of its team, including goalkeeper Connor Hellebuyck.
Prediction: Michigan State gets swept