Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 19Posted by: Jashvina Shah
This weekend features five teams in action, with a little Big Ten break as the Wolverines face Ferris State. The Gophers are the lone team off this weekend, taking time off before battling Michigan for first place next weekend. Ohio State travels to Penn State while Wisconsin and Michigan State will battle to stay out of last place.
Since neither Michigan or Minnesota is playing in conference this weekend, the two won’t move in the conference standings. But Penn Sate, which is six points out of second, could reach Michigan in the standings with two regulation wins over Ohio State.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State: Feb. 19 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. CT
This a battle between the bottom two teams in the Big Ten, separated by three points. This is the second meeting between two teams. Earlier this season was a split, with Michigan State winning 4-3 and Wisconsin winning 3-0.
Wisconsin is still an inconsistent enigma while the Spartans seem to be getting consistently better. The Badgers just tied Michigan 4-4, snapping a string of Big Ten losses. The Spartans earned an OT win over the Wolverines but haven’t won since then.
The Badgers are way too inconsistent to pick them winning against anyone, even if they have the talent to do that. And with an improved defense and Jake Hildebrand in net, the Spartans are always a tough team to beat.
Prediction: Michigan State sweeps
Penn State vs. Ohio State: Feb. 19 at 6:37 p.m.; Feb. 20 at 3:07 p.m.
The Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State last weekend before settling for a 2-2 tie. Penn State has righted itself slightly after four-straight losses to Big Ten teams. Penn State’s offense hasn’t slowed down that much either.
Ohio State was just swept by Minnesota, but the losses were both by one goal. The Buckeyes have played well, especially in conference, and have just struggled to earn the wins. But Ohio State has a trend of being more consistent in the second half, and they’re a difficult team to beat.
The teams split their last series, with Penn State earning a 3-2 overtime win and then Ohio State winning 5-1. Both teams bring successful offenses, although each are successful for different reasons. There’s a chance these games could be offensive shootouts, but I doubt we’ll see that.
Prediction: Series split
Michigan vs. Ferris State: Feb. 19 at 7:35 p.m.
The Wolverines and Bulldogs meet for one game this weekend. The Wolverines haven’t played a non-conference opponent since winning the Great Lakes Invitational. This is the first meeting this season between the two teams.
Ferris State just lost to Northern Michigan, a game that snapped a eight-game unbeaten streak. The Bulldogs are currently fourth in the WCHA.
Prediction: Michigan wins