Pickin’ the Big Ten, Oct. 25-27, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I am jonesing for some college hockey.

Last week
Drew: 4-5-1 (.450)
Paula: 6-3-1 (.650)

Drew: 12-6-1 (.658)
Paula: 13-6-1 (.675)

This week

Everyone but Wisconsin plays this week. It’s all nonconference play as league games don’t begin for another month.

Boston College at Minnesota

Drew: The Hockey East/Big Ten challenge has been very interesting to watch this season, and I hope they keep it around in the future. Boston College started the season by losing to Michigan at Yost Ice Arena, but rebounded by embarrassing the Badgers last weekend. Speaking of lopsided games, the last two contests between the Gophers and Eagles have been exactly that. Boston College took down Minnesota 6-1 in the 2012 Frozen Four and Minnesota returned the favor last season at the Mariucci Classic 8-1. The Gophers are 9-1 all time against Boston College when they play on the Minnesota’s home ice. It’ll be interesting how see how the two teams handle playing a two-game series against each other, after only playing once the past two seasons.

Paula: Through three games this season, the Eagles are averaging 5.67 goals per game; through four games, the Gophers are averaging 5.00 goals per game. Yes, it’s early, but it’s still interesting that each of these teams has 13 different players with at least one goal through the first two weeks of the season. This is a Friday-Sunday series, with Friday’s game beginning at 7:00 p.m. local time and Sunday’s at 1:00 p.m.

Drew’s picks: If the curse of being No. 1 this season doesn’t get to the Gophers this week, the curse of me picking them might. Minnesota 5-3, 2-1
Paula’s picks: I’m just not picking against the Gophers until they lose. Minnesota 3-2, 3-2

Boston University and Massachusetts-Lowell at Michigan

Drew: After a strong opening weekend, Michigan had another strong second week and picked up a win and tie at New Hampshire. The Wolverines get another ranked opponent (and a second that went from being No. 1 to unranked in two weeks) this weekend. BU has faced two ranked teams this season; the Terriers are 1-1 with the win over Wisconsin and a home-loss to RPI. The Terriers have won the last two meetings against Michigan. UMass-Lowell’s season went from bad to worse last weekend when Quinnipiac swept the River Hawks in a home-and-home series.

Paula: The Wolverines were seriously tested by New Hampshire last weekend, especially after sophomore starter Steve Racine left the Friday night game in the third period with a groin injury. Racine will sit out the game against BU but may be ready for Saturday. Replacing Racine in net Friday will be freshman Zach Nagelvoort, who earned his first collegiate win last Saturday. It would be extraordinary if the Wolverines had two capable goalies this season. Extraordinary. I’m not picking against them, either, until they lose. These games are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m.

Drew’s picks: Michigan 3-2, 3-1
Paula’s picks: Michigan 4-2, 3-1

Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University at Michigan State

Drew: The two teams from Massachusetts will face both Michigan and Michigan State this weekend, but I don’t think they’ll get the two squads confused at all. The Spartans opened up their season by getting swept by Massachusetts. MSU returns home for its home opener this weekend, but the going does not get easier. UMass-Lowell’s only win of the season was a 5-2 home win over Massachusetts.

Paula: Last weekend on the road, the Spartans were outscored 8-3 by the Minutemen. Against this weekend’s opponents, Michigan State is 13-11-0. The Spartans last met Lowell in East Lansing in October 2008, a series the teams split. That’s the same season in which Boston University last played Michigan State, a 2-1 win for the Terriers in the 2008 Ice Breaker. The Spartans are young and struggling. These games are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m.

Drew’s picks: UMass-Lowell 3-1, Boston University 5-0
Paula’s picks: Lowell 3-2, BU 3-2

RIT at Penn State, Vermont vs. Penn State

Drew: After traveling to Colorado last weekend, Penn State will get to entertain a guest in its shiny new arena again this weekend. RIT showed that it could score some goals against a quality opponent when it played Michigan, but at the same time the Tigers (0-3-1) showed off their suspect defense in the 7-4 loss to the Wolverines. After facing RIT on Friday, the Nittany Lions will head to Philadelphia to face Vermont in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. The Catamounts are 1-1 this season with a tie and loss against North Dakota.

Paula: The Nittany Lions were outscored 8-3 by Air Force on the road last weekend, but coach Guy Gadowsky was encouraged by the effort and PSU did generate 62 shots on goal. The only player with more than one goal for the Nittany Lions through three games this season is sophomore Eric Scheid. The Nittany Lions defeated each of these opponents last season; PSU beat RIT by a goal Oct. 20, 2012, in Rochester and the Nittany Lions beat Vermont on the road, 4-2, Jan. 19. Friday’s game against RIT begins at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday’s game in Philadelphia against Vermont begins at 5:00 p.m.

Drew’s picks: Penn State 4-1 over RIT, Penn State and Vermont 2-2 tie
Paula’s picks: RIT 4-3, PSU 3-2

Robert Morris vs. Ohio State

Drew: After taking a weekend off, hopefully to figure some things out, the Buckeyes will get a chance to nab their first win of the season against another winless team, Robert Morris (0-2-1). OSU is in the middle of a very busy early-season period in its schedule (seven games in nine days), and the sledding does not get easier next weekend when OSU welcomes Minnesota-Duluth to town.

Paula: There is good history between these programs with the overall series tied 3-3-2. Last season, RMU beat OSU 3-2 in Columbus Dec. 7, 2012, and the teams tied 2-2 the next night in Pittsburgh. I know better than to pick against the Colonials in Columbus, where RMU has all three of its wins against the Buckeyes. If picking Robert Morris jinxes the Colonials, I will hear it pronto from RMU coach Derek Schooley. This is a home-and-home, Friday-Saturday series, with Ohio State hosting Friday. Games begin each night at 7:00 p.m.

Drew’s picks: OSU 2-0, 4-2
Paula’s picks: RMU 4-3, 3-2

The tweets and such

I’ll be in Ann Arbor Friday and East Lansing Saturday. Say hello if you get the chance.

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