The last weekend of Big Ten play in February will see a showdown for first pace. The Gophers host Michigan, a rematch of a series split in Ann Arbor back in December. But this is also a battle to remain in a bye spot, because Penn State state isn’t far behind.
The Nittany Lions, along with the Spartans, are actually off this weekend while Ohio State and Wisconsin face play.
Minnesota vs. Michigan: Feb. 25 at 7:35 p.m. CT; Feb. 26 at 8:05 p.m. CT
The battle of the top two teams in the Big Ten comes down to this – can Minnesota stop Michigan’s top line? And can Michigan’s defense prevent leaks?
Both teams talked about the transition games this week, and neither can afford any turnovers. Probably the most interesting thing is the Wolverines have now settled on Steve Racine as their goaltender, but he wasn’t in net the last time these teams played.
Eric Schierhorn has been good for Minnesota, and rebounded well after a pretty poor performance in the loss at Ann Arbor in December.
Minnesota has stopped Michigan’s offense before and they might be able to do it again. It’s hard to gauge which team is better since they both met so long ago.
Prediction: Series split
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: 6:35 p.m.; 7:05 p.m.
The Buckeyes host the Badgers this weekend. The last series between the two teams ended in a 2-0 win for Ohio State and a 4-4 tie. The Buckeyes are stuck in a spot where they can play well but can’t seem to win consistently. A win over Penn State just snapped a string of losses, but some of Ohio State’s losses were close.
The Badgers are the worst team in the Big Ten. They’ve actually also played in some close games recently, but with Wisconsin this year it’s hard to tell if it’s sustainable.
Prediction: Ohio State sweeps