Pickin’ the Big Ten: Nov. 15-16, 2013

Massachusetts-Lowell beat Penn State last night, 4-0. Drew Claussen and I had those picks yesterday, but I’ll remind you here that we both picked the River Hawks to sweep their two-game road series, which concludes tonight.

Last week
Drew: 4-3-0 (.571)
Paula: 6-1-0 (.857)

Drew: 28-14-4 (.652)
Paula: 29-14-4 (.659)

This week

There are five series involving Big Ten teams this week. As I said, the Lowell-PSU series concludes tonight. Michigan State is off this week.

Canisius at Ohio State

Drew: Ohio State has won six of its past seven games. Even with a semi-soft schedule, I didn’t foresee the Buckeyes going on this run. Going against a two-win Canisius team this weekend, OSU has a great chance to make it eight of its past nine. Ohio State has been frequently lighting the lamp during its hot streak; the Buckeyes have four or more goals in each of their six wins this season.

Paula: This is the first meeting between the Golden Griffins and the Buckeyes. Last weekend, Canisius lost 6-1 to Robert Morris before beating Mercyhurst, 4-3. The Buckeyes swept visiting Niagara, but lost starting goaltender Matt Tomkins in the 6-1 Saturday win. Walk-on goaltender Logan Davis got the win — remember that sophomore Collin Olson left the team the week before — and now the Buckeyes have added two goaltenders to their roster. Aaron Gretz is a junior catcher on the OSU baseball team; Gretz was a four-year letter winner at Apple Valley High School (Minn.). Aaron Kahn played two season for the OSU club hockey team and played for the AAA San Jose Jr. Sharks. I love this story. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-1, 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, 3-2.

Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha

Drew: Michigan’s defense has been great so far this season. The Wolverines are allowing 1.75 goals per game, which is second-lowest in the nation. Goaltender Zach Nagelvoort has also continued to play strong for Michigan, he has a 1.47 GAA. Omaha has been up and down so far this season. The Mavericks were defeated at home by Bentley and got swept by Cornell, but have rebounded to sweep Denver and split with North Dakota the past two weeks.

Paula: I love this old CCHA rivalry, and you can bet that CenturyLink Center will be rocking in Omaha for these games — rocking with pure, unadulterated hate for the Wolverines. Michigan is 26-7-3 all-time versus the Mavericks, and the teams last met March 25, 2011, a 3-2 Michigan win in NCAA West Regional semifinal action. Last weekend, the Mavericks split a pair of home games against NCHC rival North Dakota. The Wolverines last played two weekends ago, a home sweep of Michigan Tech. Friday’s game begins at 8:07 p.m. and is carried by CBS Sports. Saturday’s game starts at 7:07 p.m.

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

Minnesota State-Mankato at Minnesota

Drew: This is my favorite series of the season. I feel like I need to explain why. I went to MSU for my first two years of college and did my last two at the U of M. I have friends in both fan bases, all of whom enjoy going through anything I write with a fine-tooth comb in search of a potential bias.

After Minnesota dominated the series early, the contests between the Gophers and Mavericks have been pretty even as of late. The Mavericks have won six of the last 10 contests and the two teams have evenly split the last 10 at Mariucci Arena. The key for Mankato will be the play of whoever is in net, whether it’s sophomore Stephon Williams or freshman Cole Huggins. Williams was brilliant last season, but has struggled so far this season. Huggins is 2-0 with a 1.11 GAA this season.

Paula: I went to Fredonia State and love my Blue Devils — that’s D-III, SUNYAC, in case you’re wondering — so I have no dog in this hunt. I’m just not picking against the Gophers again until they lose. These games begin at 7:00 p.m. each night, and each is carried by Fox Sports North.

Drew’s picks: Mankato 3-1, Minnesota 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 4-2.

Wisconsin at Miami

Drew: Despite a less that stellar start to the season, I’m not ready to give up on the Badgers just yet. They will still compete for the Big Ten crown with Minnesota and Michigan and should crawl their way back into the top 10 of the polls soon. After another off weekend, its second of the young season, Wisconsin will get another tough road test at Miami. Mike Eaves told me on Wednesday that he expected to give Joel Rumpel a start this weekend, and that would be a shot in the arm for the Badgers. Landon Peterson played well in Rumpel’s absence, but Wisconsin needs Rumpel healthy to be successful. Another interesting fact that I noticed when focusing on Wisconsin for this week’s column was that senior Joe Faust has six assists in six games this season, his career point total going into this season was eight.

Paula: If I could travel this weekend, I’d be in Oxford for this series. These teams have met four times, all in Madison, with the last series resulting in a split Jan. 18-19, 2013. Each of these teams was picked in its league’s preseason polls to finish on top. Last weekend, the RedHawks saw a four-game undefeated streak come to an end when they split on the road against St. Cloud State, winning 2-0 Friday and losing 2-1 Saturday. Friday’s game begins at 6:35 p.m. and is televised on CBS Sports. Saturday’s game begins at 7:05.

Drew’s picks: Miami 5-2, Wisconsin 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Call me sentimental — and this is by no means a slight to the Badgers. These picks will probably bite me. Miami 3-2, 3-2.

The Twitters

Drew be at Mariucci this weekend, be sure to follow along on Twitter: @drewclaussen

Sadly, I will not be seeing any college hockey live this weekend. I may be lonely. Please keep me company: @paulacweston