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Patrick Donnelly | | October 28, 2022

No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 11 Ohio State headlines the top men's college hockey games of the week

The top college hockey storylines for 2022-23

This week's men's hockey slate features conference matchups in the Big Ten and Hockey East, ranked teams beginning their seasons and more.

Here are previews, schedules and how to watch this weekend's top games.

Big Ten battle: No. 1 Minnesota faces No. 11 Ohio State

The nation's top team is coming off a raucous split with No. 6 North Dakota, while the Buckeyes are fresh off a get-right sweep over Bentley after going winless at UConn two weekends ago.

The Gophers' (4-2-0) split with the Fighting Hawks saw both games go to overtime, with Minnesota taking Friday's game 3-2 and UND winning 5-4 on Saturday. The Gophers recovered admirably both nights, coming back from a 2-1 hole in their win, and fighting back from a 4-2 deficit after jumping out to a 2-0 lead.

Matthew Knies (2g, 1a), Jackson LaCombe (1g, 2a), Jimmy Snuggerud (1g, 1a) and Brock Faber (2a) each had solid weekends for Minnesota against the Fighting Hawks. LaCombe leads the team in scoring with seven points (1g, 6a), while Knies (4g, 2a), Snuggerud (5g, 1a) and Logan Cooley (2g, 4a) each have six points. Starting goaltender Justen Close has had a good start with a .924 save percentage and 1.58 goals- against average. 

LATEST RANKINGS: Click or tap here for the latest USCHO Division I men's hockey poll

Meanwhile, Ohio State  (6-1-1, 2-0-0 Big Ten) dominated the Falcons, outscoring them 12-3 in the two-game set. Jake Wise (2g, 2a), Kamil Sadlocha (3g, 2a), and Stephen Haliday (1g, 3a) were the biggest producers for the Buckeyes. Haliday paces the team in scoring with nine points (2g, 7a), and Wise (4g, 4a) and Sadlocha (5g, 3a) each have eight points. Sophomore netminder Jakub Dobes is having a nice second season so far with a .931 save percentage and 1.80 GAA.

Minnesota struggled mightily on the penalty kill last weekend, surrendering four power play goals to North Dakota in the series, and that unit is just 70 percent on the season. Meanwhile, OSU hung four man-advantage goals on Bentley. 

The top of the pack Gophers will look to string wins together against the Buckeyes, who have historically struggled against Minnesota as the Gophers have a 38-9-5 all-time record, including 13-5-2 in Columbus. 

No. 4 Michigan takes on No. 17 Western Michigan

Much was made of last year's cancellation of the matchup between Western Michigan and the Wolverines in the Great Lakes Invitational, and now the Broncos will get their rubber match. 

Western Michigan (5-2-0) split with Notre Dame last weekend, shutting out the Irish 4-0 after being shut out 2-0 themselves. The Broncos average 3.9 goals per game and 1.9 against. Freshman forward Ryan McAllister has burst onto the scene in Kalamazoo, totaling eight points (3g, 5a) in his first seven collegiate games. Senior blue-liner Zak Galambos (5g, 2a) and junior forward Luke Grainger (1g, 6a) have been getting it done as well with seven points apiece. Junior goaltender Cameron Rowe has answered the call between the pipes with a .928 save percentage and 1.66 GAA.

The Wolverines (5-1-0) swept Lake Superior State last weekend,  hanging 10 on the Lakers in the two games. Forwards Adam Fantilli (4g, 2a) and Mackie Samoskevich (1g, 3a), among others, had huge weekends for Michigan. Fantilli, a freshman and projected top-five pick in the NHL Draft, has taken the college scene by storm with 15 points (5g, 10a) to start his career. Samoskevich has also been red hot with five goals and five assists. Junior netminder Erik Portillo has been good enough for the Wolverines with a .914 save percentage and 2.18 GAA.

HOBEY BAKER: Click or tap here for a way-too-early watchlist for the Hobey Baker Award

Michigan and the Broncos split their season series last year with each team taking a game on the road before December's highly anticipated rematch was called off. This weekend's rematch should be highly competitive as the newcomers look to keep making their mark. 

Hockey East showdown: No. 9 Boston University battles No. 18 UMass Lowell

The Terriers and River Hawks have matched up pretty evenly in recent years, and never fail to deliver tight contests as the last 10 games have gone 4-3-3 in favor of UML. Although, Lowell holds a three-game winning streak on BU. 

The Terriers (5-2-0, 1-1-0 HEA) have fought to two straight splits, first with Michigan and then with UConn last weekend. Both series saw BU bounce back from dropping the first game. Senior forward Matt Brown has had the hot hand for the Terriers with nine points in five games, coming off a four-point night (2g, 2a) in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Huskies. Freshman defenseman Lane Hutson has also been productive with six points (1g, 5a) in five games. 

Between the pipes, BU has been getting it done without starting goaltender Drew Commesso, who went down with injury following the loss at Michigan. He resumed practice this week, and could be available in Saturday's rematch, head coach Jay Pandolfo said this week. In Commesso's absence, junior Vinny Duplessis has stepped up as he usually has, putting up a 2-1-0 marker.

LATEST SCORES: Click or tap here for the full scoreboard around Division I men's ice hockey

Lowell (4-2-0, 1-0-0 HEA) has strung two wins together, most recently defeating then-No. 12 Northeastern 3-2 last Saturday. Norm Bazin's squad has gotten solid production out of a pair of seniors in forward Carl Berglund (4g, 4a) and defenseman Ben Meehan (2g, 5a). Goaltenders Henry Welsch (.928, 2.34) and Gustavs Davis Grigals (.921, 2.02) have split the load evenly this season, each holding a 2-1-0 record. 

The River Hawks have had BU's number the last two seasons or so, but both teams have been fighting for consistent results early on this year. They may just have to wait another weekend. 

No. 16 Penn State visits Wisconsin

After opening their season with four straight losses, thanks to back-to-back sweeps against ranked opponents in Ohio State and St. Cloud State, the Badgers stormed back with a sweep of their own last time out, dominating a reeling then-No. 10 Minnesota Duluth team. 

Jack Gorniak (2g, 2a), Corson Ceulemans (4a) and Cruz (2g, 1a) had big weekends for the Badgers (2-4-0, 0-2-0 Big Ten) against Duluth. Thanks to the recent performance, Ceulmans' five points this season are tied with Mathieu De St. Phalle (1g, 4a) for Wisconsin's scoring lead. Senior goaltender Jared Moe has been decent in five appearances with a .923 save percentage and 2.86 GAA.  

Special teams are where Wisconsin has particularly struggled this season as the power play has converted just 15 percent of its chances, while the penalty kill has a measly 70.8 percent success rate.

HISTORY: Click or tap here for every Division I men's ice hockey champion since 1948

Meanwhile, Penn State is riding a six-game winning streak to open their year, sweeping Canisius, Mercyhursrt and St. Thomas, and averaging 5.2 goals per game. 

Six skaters are producing at a point per game or better with senior forward Ture Linden (3g, 7a) and sophomore forward Ben Schoen (2g, 6a) leading the way. In net, junior Liam Souliere has gotten most of the workload, putting up a .920 save percentage and 2.00 GAA in four starts. 

Similar to the Badgers, the Nittany Lions have struggled on the penalty kill with just a 68.4 percent success rate. 

Can Wisconsin keep the momentum rolling? Or was their upset sweep a fluke?

No. 19 Minnesota Duluth clashes with No. 20 Cornell

Duluth is in a free fall right now, simply put.

After opening the season with a sweep of Arizona State, the Bulldogs (2-4-0) have been swept twice, first by then-No. 5 Minnesota State before getting outclassed by unranked Wisconsin. With the four straight losses, UMD has slipped from fourth to 10th to now 19th in the USCHO poll. This week, they face the one team cushioning them in the rankings in the Big Red, who are beginning their season.

The Bulldogs have gotten inconsistent production. They have been shut out twice in this four game skid, and scored just two goals in each of the other two losses. At the same time, they've given up four goals against per game during the losing streak, including two losses with at least five goals allowed. 

STATE OF HOCKEY: How Minnesota State swept Minnesota Duluth

The power play has been solid, scoring at 26.1 percent, but the penalty kill has been of serious concern, killing off just 66.7 percent of opposing man-advantages.

Cornell was an interesting case last season. At one point a top-10 team, they went 9-9-3 after the new year, including a six-game winless streak (0-3-3, with all three ties ending in shootout losses for the extra point).  

Fortunately for the Big Red, they return an experienced team with 15 juniors and seniors, including each of their top-five scorers back. Forwards Matt Stienburg (12g, 16a), Max Andreev (9g, 14a) and Ben Berard (14g, 8a) headline the returners. Sophomore goaltender Ian Shane will look to build on a decent freshman season that saw him take hold of the starting job with a .933 save percentage and 1.72 GAA.

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