There are nine nationally televised college hockey games this weekend, and five of them will feature the Big Ten conference. Meanwhile, the NCHC will take the week off from the national TV circuit as they get bumped by CBS Sports Network for a 'fan-focused Super Bowl preview' and a basketball game between Murray State and Austin Peay, which I'm told are two schools, but could also just be somebody's two uncles. Tune in to find out which it is, I guess.
Also notable this week is that college hockey makes its' in-no-way-anticipated return to the ESPN family of networks when Penn State and Ohio State face-off on ESPNews on Saturday. Last time that was tried, it was an absolute disaster. This time around, Sportscenter anchor John Buccigross will be calling the games along with Sean Ritchlin on color, so hopefully it will go a bit better this time.
Here's your full schedule:
Big Ten Doubleheader: Wisconsin at Michigan 6:30/Michigan State at Minnesota 9pm Big Ten Network
If there's any sort drama in the Big Ten standings race, which....ehhhhhh, it's in the race between Wisconsin and Michigan for second place in the league, which would give the winner a bye into the semifinals of the Big Ten conference tournament. Wisconsin had the upper hand on the Wolverines after sweeping them in Madison earlier this month, but Wisconsin dropped serve against one of the league's bottom three last week when they lost to Ohio State.
Michigan State actually gave Minnesota all they could handle earlier this year at Munn Arena. They'll face a much tougher task this time at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers are pretty beat up coming into the weekend, but it would still a surprise to see MSU pull off an upset here.
Notre Dame at New Hampshire 7:00pm Fox College Sports
Notre Dame is currently 8th in Hockey East, yet 12th in the Pairwise rankings, which would be a neat trick to pull off if they somehow got into the NCAA tournament with such a poor conference performance. Also, if the Hockey East standings stayed the same through the end of the year, Notre Dame would host a mid-week one-game playoff against Massachusetts, which sounds delightful.
New Hampshire, meanwhile feels like they should be a pretty good team, but just hasn't been able to get over the hump and get very far above .500. If they can get past Notre Dame this weekend, the schedule lightens up a bit with games against Vermont, BU, and Merrmiack to close out the regular season.
Boston University at Massachusetts 7:30 NBCSN
Jack Eichel! Jake Wahlin! Clayton Keller! All those guys might play for these schools one day! Until then, this is a pretty ugly match-up with little more at stake than who can less sub-.500est.
Penn State at Ohio State 2pm ESPNews
There's not much to talk about with these two teams, so expect to hear to hear about David Glen approximately 3000 times. And he'll deserve every mention.
Notre Dame at New Hampshire 4pm NESN
Game two of this series moves over to NESN, just in case you weren't getting enough Notre Dame on every other TV network.
Wisconsin at Michigan 6:30 NBC Sports Network
Oh yeah, I forgot to add above that Nic Kerdiles' situation has been upgraded to questionable for this weekend, after missing the past couple weeks with a shoulder injury. Michigan's defense on the other hand, is always listed as questionable.
UMass-Lowell at Merrimack 7pm Fox College Sports
The RiverHawks haven't been quite as good as they were last season, but goalie Connor Hellebuyck is still one of the best goalies in the nation. Lowell is currently 5th in Hockey East, but if anyone is going to make a run at Boston College, it might be them. They trail Boston College by ten points, but have two games in hand, play the Eagles twice, and have an otherwise easier schedule. Their defense, led by Hellebuyck, is the only one I can see finding a way to shut down the Eagles' dynamic offense.
Michigan State at Minnesota 8pm Fox Sports North+/Fox Sports Detroit+
Did you know that we here at SB Nation created a fake trophy for series between these two schools called The Honeycrisp Trophy?