Five Big Ten teams play this weekend, starting with tonight’s game between Bentley and Penn State in Pegula Arena. This two-game set concludes Friday night; both games begin at 7:00 p.m. and neither is televised. These are the last home games for the Nittany Lions until Jan. 9.
We’ll have the rest of the picks for the other four nonconference series tomorrow, along with our updated picks record.
Bentley at Penn State
Drew: The two teams in the Big Ten with the most momentum right now are Minnesota and Penn State. I like the way Matthew Skoff is playing and the Nittany Lions are scoring on the other end of the ice. Yes, their competition has been lacking so far this season, but this weekend I have no doubts about picking them to sweep again.
Paula: I have to respectfully disagree about the lack of competition that Penn State has faced. Alaska is a ranked team and Alaska-Anchorage is no slouch; Connecticut and Holy Cross each had more productive offenses than Penn State in 2013-2014, and each team’s defense was far more solid as well. If anything, the Huskies and the Crusaders are established Division I programs against which the newcomer Penn State can accurately and usefully measure its progress.
I think Bentley is a good barometer as well. The Falcons are 3-2 this season, most recently having swept Rensselaer on the road last weekend, 5-2 and 4-0. And like Penn State, Bentley’s offense is productive in the early going, averaging 3.8 goals per game in five contests. While it’s early, the Falcons’ combined special teams are fourth-best in the country. The Falcons have the ability to get themselves into penalty trouble, while the Nittany Lions like to play passionate hockey.
Drew’s picks: Penn State sweep 4-1, 5-1.
Paula’s picks: Bentley 3-2, Penn State 3-2.