By Jayson Hajdu
A pair of Big Ten series are among the most compelling matchups in all of college hockey this weekend. The action kicks off tonight in Ann Arbor with a showdown between No. 2 Minnesota and No. 3 Michigan, with the series finale slated for Friday.
Also on Friday, the top two teams in the conference standings – No. 6 Penn State and No. 17/18 Michigan State – will do battle at PSU’s Pegula Arena. The Spartans, riding their first-ever four-game Big Ten winning streak, sit one point ahead of the second place Nittany Lions, who have knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team each of the last two weeks.
Other top-20 matchups this week include:
- No. 7/8 Connecticut vs. No. 13/14 UMass Lowell
- No. 9/11 Boston University vs. No. 16/18 Northeastern
- No. 12/13 Ohio State vs. No. 20 Notre Dame
College Hockey News: Cruikshank back in familiar territory while thriving for new team
College Hockey News: Out of the hat: Polin, Broncos maintain momentum
EP Rinkside: How much do we know about the NCAA tournament field already
Lansing State Journal: Red-hot MSU hockey climbing in poll, Pairwise rankings
Michigan Daily: TJ Hughes and the anatomy of a power play
New England Hockey Journal: ‘I had to earn it’: How Matt Capponi found success for upstart Merrimack
NHL.com: Catching up with Minnesota Duluth junior forward Blake Biondi
The Rink Live: Navigating the path to NCAA hockey using free tools to help young players
USCHO: Attempting to make sense of the weekly Division I men’s poll, parity in college hockey circles
Analytics and Eyeballs: We talk polls, individual stats and a brand-new Super 16
Bulldogs Insider Podcast: Cancer free, Stejskal leads next generation of UMD goalies
CHN Insiders Podcast: Michigan State is the Team of the Week, and conference races start to heat up
College Hockey West LIVE!: Talking sweeps, splits and all the weekend happenings in NCAA hockey
Inside Atlantic Hockey: Featuring RIT graduate F Kobe Walker
The Rink Live: How injuries are affecting teams, a rare sweep in Grand Forks, splits for UM, UMD, SCSU
THN American Pipeline: Islanders prospects in the NCAA and USHL, shout out Merrimack, and more
USCHO Spotlight: Michigan State’s Adam Nightingale on the Spartans’ fast start, Big Ten hockey
USCHO Weekend Review: Penn State downs No. 1 again, lots of big sweeps
Give Them a Break:
The nation’s two hottest teams have both run into a scheduling break this week.
Unbeaten Harvard (7-0-0, 6-0-0 EAC), the last team in the country to boast a perfect record, has the week off after nabbing road wins at Union and New Hampshire last weekend. The Crimson return to action next week at Michigan.
RIT (10-2-0, 9-1-0 AH), which has matched Harvard’s current 7-game winning streak, will host the U.S. Under-18 Team in exhibition action on Saturday. The Tigers will resume their regular-season slate next weekend at home versus Princeton.
Tending Goal in Lowell:
UMass Lowell is off to a solid 7-4-0 start (4-2-0 HEA) and is ranked No. 13/14 in the latest national polls. A key ingredient for the River Hawks has been the goaltending tandem of junior Henry Welsch (Lakeville, Minn.) and graduate student Gustavs Davis Grigals (Riga, Latvia), who have combined for a nation’s-best .936 team save percentage.
Welsch ranks sixth individually with a .942 mark to go along with his 1.58 GAA and two shutouts. Grigals, who transferred from Alaska prior to the season, also owns a sub-2.00 GAA (1.99) with a .926 save percentage.
The duo will be put to the test this weekend during the River Hawks’ conference series against UConn, which ranks among the top 10 nationally in scoring offense at 3.5 goals per game.
NCAA Hockey Returns to TSN:
For a ninth consecutive year, college hockey fans in Canada will once again be able to watch NCAA hockey. TSN and College Hockey Inc. announced that TSN will showcase 25 men’s and women’s games throughout November and December, including one game on TSN2 and the remaining 24 streaming on TSN.ca and the TSN App. The rest of the 2022-23 schedule on TSN will be announced at a later date.
Last season, TSN featured more than 75 NCAA men’s and women’s hockey games throughout the year, including the entire men’s NCAA Tournament and the women’s NCAA Frozen Four.
You Can Quote Me On That:
“I was on the ice, and I was like, ‘He’s not gonna have time to do it.’ And then it was, ‘Oh my God, here we go!’
NHL Note of the Week:
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews (North Dakota, 2005-07) will enter Saturday’s game in Boston with 498 career assists. With two more helpers, he’ll become the sixth active NCAA alum to amass 500 NHL assists, joining Blake Wheeler (577), Phil Kessel (561), Ryan Suter (542), Paul Stastny (520) and Joe Pavelski (513).
Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:
Western Michigan freshman F Ryan McAllister (London, Ontario) has exploded out of the gates with 22 points (6G, 16A) in his first 13 collegiate games. He leads the NCHC scoring race by four points and has 11 more points than any other rookie in the league … St. Cloud State graduate F Grant Cruikshank (Delafield, Wis.) is the fastest Husky to 10 goals in a season (12 games) since Ryan Lasch had 10 in the first 11 games of the 2007-08 season … BU freshman F Ryan Greene (Paradise, Newfoundland) had five points (2G, 3A) in Friday’s 7-2 win over UMass, doubling his season totals in all three categories … Canisius senior G Jacob Barczewski (O’Fallon, Mo.) made 28 stops to secure a 3-2 win over AIC on Saturday and became the 35th netminder in Atlantic Hockey history to reach 2,000 career saves … Colorado College junior F Hunter McKown (San Jose, Calif.) has scored all seven of his goals this season while on the power play. Those seven power-play tallies lead the nation.
College Hockey Inc. Resources: