After a full slate of Big Ten conference series a week ago, the cupboard is bare as we enter Finals and the holiday season.
This weekend is one big bye for all except the Michigan schools and (unofficially) Wisconsin (1-10-1, 0-2-0-0 Big Ten). Michigan (8-6-0, 2-1-0-0 Big Ten) travels to Boston to face Boston College in a single game. Michigan State (5-9-1, 1-2-1-1 Big Ten) hosts Clarkson Sunday. The Badgers, coming off being swept by Penn State at home, host the US National Development Program tonight at Kohl Center in an exhibition.
Penn State (9-4-2, 3-1-0 Big Ten), Minnesota (9-4-1, 1-0-1-0 Big Ten) and Ohio State (5-9-1, 1-2-0-0 Big Ten) are idle.
Speaking of Penn State, the third-year Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten. Our own Chris Dilks wrote about that and PSU's NCAA chances yesterday, which paint the bad picture Penn State (and to a lesser extent Minnesota) are in thanks to poor non-conference play outside Atlantic Hockey (and to a lesser extent Hockey East). Like the shootout which technically counts as a tie, it's easier for perception to change when there's a small sample. That's the case with the Big Ten - and will be, as long as there are six teams - but poor play in non-conference games makes winning conference games that much more important.
Outside the conference, ten players were named to 2015 World Junior Championships rosters.
Eight are Americans - JT Compher, Michael Downing, Dylan Larkin, Tyler Motte and Zach Werenski (Michigan); Ryan Collins and Hudson Fasching (Minnesota); and Jack Dougherty (Wisconsin). One, Minnesota's Leon Bristedt, was named to Sweden's preliminary roster. One, Penn State freshman defenseman Erik Autio, was named to Finland's preliminary roster.
Next week everyone is idle before holiday tournaments and the
return beginning of conference play in January.
Friday December 12
US Under-18 Team @ Wisconsin - 7:00 p.m. CT
Radio: WIBA 1310 AM/Badger Radio Network
Stream: BTN+ ($$$)
Saturday December 13
Michigan @ Boston College - 7:00 p.m. ET
Radio: IMG Sports Network (Al Randall play-by-play & Bill Trainor color)
Stream: BCEagles.com ($$$)
Sunday December 14
Clarkson @ Michigan State - 5:00 p.m. ET
Game times local to school