Before we get into this weekend, if you haven’t already, check out my piece from yesterday on Massachusetts standout sophomore Cale Makar here.
There was another Thursday Night Thriller, this team featuring No. 13 Northeastern and Boston University. With 10 goals scored in total, the game ended in a 5-5 tie thanks to a goal by Terrier defenseman Chad Krys with 7:33 remaining in the game. This will feel more like a loss than a draw for the Huskies (4-2-1), who coughed up a lead on three separate occasions in front of their home fans. They’ve had an awful start to the season, but kudos to BU for hanging in on the road to snatch a point at one of the toughest places to play in Hockey East. Hot take: This will give the Terriers confidence to go on a bit of a run as we get into the heart of conference play.
With that said, here’s how the rest of the top 20 schedule looks:
- This should be a fun weekend, starting with the battle between No. 4 Minnesota State and No. 10 Minnesota. After a disappointing showing in Vegas in a 3-1 loss to No. 14 North Dakota, the Gophers have a major chance to get back on track in a home-and-home with the Mavericks. Last weekend, MSU had no problems with Alaska, sweeping both games by a combined score of 7-1. The Mavericks continue to be led by Parker Tuomie, who is up to 11 points this season. It’ll be a special night for Minnesota senior forward Darian Romanko, who will skate in his 100th-straight game for the Gophers this weekend. Having not met since two seasons ago when a home-and-home was split, Minnesota holds a 37-15-6 all-time record versus the Mavericks, and will look to add to that win column starting on Friday night when it hosts MSU. Prediction: It’s a rough weekend for Gophers head coach Bob Motzko, as his team goes down twice to the Mavericks.
- We stay in the top 10 for this next matchup, as No. 7 Ohio State travels to South Bend for a two-game road series against No. 5 Notre Dame. Following a VERY brief stint as the No. 1 team in the nation, the Fighting Irish get another chance at knocking off a top-1 team following last weekend’s disappointing sweep at the hands of No. 1 Minnesota Duluth. Things aren’t much better for the Buckeyes, who earned one point over No. 9 Bowling Green a week go but only one night after an embarrassing 8-2 loss to the Falcons. These two teams last met on St. Patrick’s Day a year ago, with ND coming out on top with a 3-2 victory and Big Ten Tournament title. A win on either night will be a historic one for Fighting Irish head coach jeff Jackson, who currently has 299 career wins with ND. Prediction: Split. I want to say a Fighting Irish sweep, but OSU has something to prove after two consecutive falls in the polls.
- It may not be the headline series over the previously mentioned ones, but I’m looking forward to No. 16 Wisconsin heading to Grand Forks for two games with No. 14 North Dakota. It’s another rivalry matchup for the Fighting Hawks, this time going up against a former fellow WCHA member in the Badgers. Wisconsin will look to lean on its eighth-best power play unit for some offense, especially since it’ll be going up against a UND penalty kill that nears the bottom of the list at 66.67 percent. One player I’ll be keeping my eye on in this series is Badger freshman defenseman K’Andre Miller. Miller, who was selected in the first round of last year’s NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, is tied for the nations best +/- rating at +9 and ranks third among Big Ten Defenseman in scoring (7 points).
Other Games To Watch:
- No. 2 St. Cloud State @ Colorado College
- No. 6 Penn State vs. Arizona State
- No. 15 Quinnipiac @ Harvard