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Big Ten Hockey Weekend Preview: Border Battle commences

Things are just beginning to heat up on the ice, as Big Ten hockey takes front and center stage with two major series this weekend. However, there is just one series that everyone is going to be paying attention to — Wisconsin at Minnesota.

Let’s face facts, there isn’t a bigger series in the Big Ten than that one. Too bad it just so happens to be between two teams really struggling despite a ton of individual talent.

With that, let’s take stock of where things stand in Big Ten hockey heading in to this weekend.

Big Ten Standings:

 

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Weekend Schedule:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16
No. 19 MICHIGAN at OHIO STATE – 7 p.m., FSD+/STO
MICHIGAN STATE at PENN STATE – 7 p.m.
WISCONSIN at No. 16 MINNESOTA – 9 p.m., BTN

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17
MICHIGAN STATE at PENN STATE – 5 p.m., ESPNU
WISCONSIN at No. 16 MINNESOTA – 6 p.m., FSN/FS Wisconsin

 

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Series to Watch: Wisconsin at Minnesota

Anytime the Badgers and Gophers get together in any sport it is worth watching, but outside of football the hockey series between the two is easily the most must-see TV moments of the season for both schools. However, usually these two are battling it out at the top of the standings and that certainly isn’t the case in the 2014-15 season.

Instead, this is a weekend series that will see the two teams battle to stay out of the cellar of the conference. Too be fair, Wisconsin has played just two games and both were losses to 1st place Penn State. Still, it’s hard to get over the fact that Wisconsin has won just two games all season long.

After last weekend this will be a vital series for the Badgers, as they took one on the chin in a 3-3 tie that should never have been and then got blasted 6-1 by No. 2 Boston University in the series finale.

Minnesota isn’t coming in too happy either, as they have just four points from four games played and spent last weekend losing 4-3 in overtime and 7-5 in the finale against Michigan.

Something will have to give, and the odds are that the host Gophers are going to be in for a good weekend ahead. They’ve at least hit double digits in wins and have been able to score with the best of them. Minnesota’s issue is that it hasn’t been able to stop anyone, and couple that with the fact that the Badgers offense finally outshot an opponent for both nights of a series last weekend it could spell trouble on the defensive end of the ice.

Expect a lot of scoring one way or the other in this bitter border battle.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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