This weekend features four Big Ten teams in play. For some, this is the last weekend of non-conference action before Big Ten play begins. Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all have easier slates than Minnesota, which faces Minnesota State in a home-and-home series. Michigan is playing the NTDP while the Spartans have a bye week.
Minnesota (4-2-2) vs. Minnesota State (7-4-1): Nov. 18 at 7:07 p.m. CT; Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. CT
The Gophers are on a four-game unbeaten streak and will face Minnesota State in a home-and-home series. Minnesota was off last weekend but faced North Dakota the weekend before, earning a win and tie. The Gophers have struggled at times this season but have the talent and proved against North Dakota that they can be lethal. Minnesota also has a penchant for comebacks.
The Mavericks have not had a great November, earning just one win in four tries. One of those losses was against Lake Superior and the other in an overtime decision against Bemidji State. Since sweeping Michigan Tech and St. Cloud State, the Mavericks are 3-4-1 in their last eight games.
Prediction: Series split
Ohio State (6-1-4) at RPI (2-8-1): Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.; Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
The Buckeyes become the latest Big Ten trip to take a New York road trip as the buckeyes travel to RPI for a two-game set. The Buckeyes have just one loss on the season but have struggled in November. Christian Frey is healthy again, which means the Buckeyes may go back to a goaltending rotation.
The Engineers are on a three-game losing streak and have only won twice this season. Chase Perry has seen the most playing time in net. RPI has gotten some scoring, with Jared Wilson’s six goals leading the team. Most of RPI’s schedule has been ECAC teams, but they did play North Dakota and Maine – all losses. The Engineers tied Niagara.
Prediction: Ohio State sweeps
Penn State (9-1-1) vs. Arizona State (2-9-0): Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.; Nov. 19 at 3 p.m.
The Nittany Lions conclude their non-conference and incredibly easy schedule with a two game set against Arizona State. Penn State is tied with BC for the nation’s longest unbeaten streak and hasn’t lost since the second game of the season. The Nittany Lions score a lot, but they also take a lot of shots. Chances are they’ll be able to put a lot up on Arizona State this weekend.
The Sun Devils just picked up their second win last weekend, defeating New Hampshire on the road 5-4 in overtime. Things are looking up for Arizona State, which might have a new facility coming soon. Arizona State is still a long way off from putting together a winning season, and Penn State’s shoot-first offense will probably be too much to handle.
Prediction: Penn State sweeps
Wisconsin (5-3-0) vs. Merrimack (4-5-3): Nov. 18 at 7:07 p.m. CT; Nov. 19 at 7:07 p.m. CT
The Badgers resume action after a week off to face Merrimack. Wisconsin has just one loss in its last five games and has proven it’s much different than last year’s team. The Badgers are still pretty young and are trying to be creative offensively, which results in some defensive mistakes. Per the Wisconsin State Journal, freshman Jack Berry will get the start over Matt Jurusik. Berry has not yet allowed a goal.
The Warriors are winless in their last three, but that includes a tie against Providence and New Hampshire. Merrimack also skated to a 2-2 tie against Boston College in October. Senior Hampus Gustafsson has seven goals while Drew Vogler has a .907 save percentage.
Prediction: Wisconsin sweeps