Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 24

Posted by: Jashvina Shah

If you’re searching for some post-Thanksgiving hockey, look no further. Four Big Ten teams are playing this weekend – Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State. It’s the last weekend before Big Ten play, so it’s the last chance for teams to get a tune up.

The toughest challenge of the week is definitely for the Spartans, who will face North Dakota. But the young Badgers also will have a tough weekend in a road trip out to Denver. Minnestoa’s trip to Boston may also be difficult though, as the Gophers are still struggling to find their identity.

Michigan (5-4-1) vs. Lake Superior State (6-6-0): Nov. 25 at 7:35 p.m.; Nov. 26 at 7:35 p.m.

The Wolverines resume play after a 6-3 win over the NTDP. Michigan hosts Lake Superior State in its last weekend before Big Ten play. The Wolverines split their last series, earning a win and a loss against the Terriers. Michigan is an interesting team this year, since it’s built on goaltending and defense instead of offense. Hayden Lavigne and Jack LaFontaine have been getting it done in net, making it tougher to score on the Wolverines than in years past.

Hayden Lavigne and Jack LaFontaine have been getting it done in net, making it tougher to score on the Wolverines than in years past. Lavigne has a .956 save percentage and LaFontaine has  a.923 save percentage. Goaltending isn’t the only place freshmen have had an impact, as Will Lockwood leads the team with 10 points.

The Lakers are on a five-game losing streak after dropping games to Ferris State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State. Sophomore Mitch Hults’ 15 points leads Lake Superior, while Gordon Defiel has a .907 save percentage. The Lakers appear better than they’ve been recently, and it’s still tough to determine how good Michigan is.

Prediction: Michigan sweeps

Michigan State (3-6-0) at North Dakota: Nov. 25 at 7:37 p.m. CT; Nov. 26 at 7:07 p.m. CT

The Spartans will have quite a test this weekend as they travel to North Dakota. Michigan State has had a tough season, and goaltending and defense have not been up to par. Michigan State is coming off a 4-3 win over Ferris State and has won three games in their last five. Mason Appleton has 11 points while Ed Minney has a .879 save percentage.

North Dakota just snapped a string of struggles with a sweep over St. Cloud State. Prior to the 4-0 and 3-0 wins, North Dakota was winless in six games. Shane Gersich leads the team with 18 points, but Brock Boeser is right behind him with 16. Boeser was one of the best players in the country last year and is still one to watch. Cam Johnson has  a.915 save percentage.

Even if North Dakota has been struggling, they’re still a really good team – and Michigan State is not.

Prediction: North Dakota sweeps

Minnesota (5-3-2) at Northeastern: Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.; at Boston College Nov. 27 at 1 p.m.

The Gophers take another road trip, but this time to Boston where they’ll face the Huskies and Eagles. Minnesota is coming off a series split against Minnesota State and a good showing against the Fighting Hawks. There’s no question the Gophers are a very skilled team with talented players, but they’ve had trouble putting it all together. Tyler Sheehy has 12 points and Eric Schierhorn has a .900 save percentage.

Last weekend, Boston College suffered its first loss since Oct. 14. The Eagles reeled off wins over Maine, Providence, Wisconsin and Connecticut. Boston College’s strength of schedule isn’t that great, but for a team that lost a lot of key players in the offseason, the wins are still impressive. Ryan Fitzgerald has 16 points and freshman Joe Woll has a .923 save percentage.

The Huskies, meanwhile, have just one win over their last seven games. Their wins this season have been against Bentley, Arizona State and Providence. Zach Aston-Reese has 20 points and Jake Theut has gotten three starts recently and has a .935 save percentage.

Prediction: Minnesota sweeps

Wisconsin (6-4-0) at Colorado College (3-7-0): Nov. 25 at 7:37 p.m. MT; at Denver (7-2-3): 7:05 p.m. MT

The Badgers take a road trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving Weekend to face Colorado College and Denver. The Badgers split their series with Merrimack but didn’t have freshman Trent Frederic. Per Todd Milewski, Frederic is week to week while goaltender Matt Jurusik is out 3-4 weeks. Freshman Jack Berry, starting in Jurusik’s place, has a .956 save percentage. Grant Besse leads the team with 11 points, but Frederic has 11.

Four Colorado College skaters are tied for the team scoring lead with six points. Three different goalies have seen playing time, but Derek Shatzer has the best save percentage at .923 save percentage. It’s been a rough season for the Tigers, who are on a three-game losing streak.

Denver has played better since dropping its first two games of the season. The Pioneers haven’t lost in 10 games and are coming off a pair of ties against Miami. Freshman Henrik Borgstrom leads the team with 11 points, while Tanner Jaillet has posted a .935 save percentage so far.

The Badgers are fairly young and the injuries don’t help. This road test – at least against Devner – will be a pretty big test.

Prediction: Wisconson beats Colorado College, loses to Denver

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