Pickin’ the Big Ten: Nov. 24-26

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends! Let’s talk hockey. First, let’s talk picks.

Last week

Drew: 7-2-1 (.750)
Paula: 6-3-1 (.650)

This season

Drew: 39-28-7 (.574)
Paula: 47-20-7 (.682)

Another great week for Drew Claussen!

This week

There are three B1G and one nonconference series. All times are local.

Michigan State at Penn State

Drew: With a 7-5-0 record, Michigan State has been quite the surprise in its first season under Danton Cole. The Spartans are, however, 1-3-0 in the Big Ten and 1-4-0 on the road this season so they’ll need to find a fix for those woes this weekend if they want to find success at Penn State. Goaltender John Lethemon has been on a roll picking up three wins in a row and he’ll be tested again this weekend. I don’t like the Spartans if these games turn into high-scoring affairs, but if Michigan State can hold the Nittany Lions to three goals or less I like its chances of getting a split.

Paula: The Nittany Lions are 9-6-3 all-time against the Spartans, including four wins last season through which Penn State outscored Michigan State 18-8. I really like the way the Spartans have been playing as well, and if they’re going to take a game on the road, I think it’ll be Friday night too. Friday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m., Saturday’s starts at 8:05 p.m., and neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Michigan State 4-2, Penn State 6-2.
Paula’s picks: Michigan State 3-2, Penn State 4-2.

No. 6 Minnesota at No. 4 Notre Dame

Drew: It will be a very impressive feat if the Irish can sweep and keep their winning streak alive this weekend, but I think this one looks destined to end in a split. A split with the Irish winning the first game and Minnesota coming back to win the second is the result that occurred the last two times these two faced off for a two-game set at Notre Dame, so who am I to mess with tradition?

Paula: These two teams last faced off in the 2017 Northeast Regional, a game that Notre Dame won 5-3. The Gophers lead this all-time series 27-16-3, and the teams have met in each of the last six seasons. Minnesota took two games at home last weekend from Harvard; Notre Dame lengthened its win streak to seven with road wins over Rensselaer. I see a split, too, but I see it the other way. Friday’s game begins at 7:35 p.m. and is carried by the NBC Sports Network. Saturday’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. and is televised by NBC Sports Chicago Plus.

Drew’s picks: Notre Dame 4-1, Minnesota 5-3.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, Notre Dame 3-2.

No. 15 Ohio State at No. 17 Michigan

Drew: Here’s a random media-guide find that doesn’t have anything to do with this weekend’s series but I thought was interesting and it was the first time I noticed it; Michigan won the first ever meeting between these two schools 21-0 in 1964. Happy Thanksgiving, Ohio State fans, and I’m truly sorry for bringing that up. My pick, which I am fairly confident in, is that a game like that won’t happen this weekend. Ohio State is 5-1-1 on the road this season and Michigan is 4-1-1 at home, so I’m going to pick a split.

Paula: These schools really don’t like each other, and that has resulted in some of the most memorable hockey moments I’ve ever witnessed, like the time Michigan hockey fans traveled to Columbus for a game and carried roses into the rink at the state fairgrounds because the Wolverines were headed to the Rose Bowl that year. While I don’t care much about college football, I know these teams do and the timing of these games intensifies the rivalry. Michigan practically owns this all-time series with a record of 81-38-13 against Ohio State. These teams split their four games last season, each team winning one at home and one on the road. That is likely to happen again this weekend. The Big Ten Network will carry Friday’s game, which begins at 6:35 p.m. Saturday’s 7:35 p.m. rematch is not televised.

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

Mercyhurst at No. 9 Wisconsin

Drew: With the 50th-ranked defense in the nation, Mercyhurst is capable of giving up some goals, but it also had the 11th-ranked offense in the nation and third-ranked power play. If the Badgers can stay out of the box I think they’ll be able to use the home-ice advantage to get a sweep.

Paula: The Lakers are 2-2-0 in their last four games after splitting with Canisius last weekend and Penn State, on the road, the weekend before that. I think that Mercyhurst will give Wisconsin all the Badgers can handle, but I also like a UW sweep this weekend. Wisconsin swept Mercyhurst the last time they met, six years ago this weekend, in the Kohl Center. Friday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. and is not televised. The second game is Sunday at 5:05 p.m. and — miraculously! — the Big Ten Network will carry that game.

Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 5-3, 4-3.
Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 3-2, 4-2.

Tweet the women of USCHO

My dear friend Candace Horgan, USCHO’s NCHC columnist and USCHO Women’s Editor, has the recapping duties Friday night while I’m at the Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday. You should tweet both of us this weekend: @CandaceHorgan and @paulacweston. You know we’ll @ back.