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Face Off Tackle Empire // Weekend Preview and Open Thread January 22nd-23rd

Four games this weekend, Michigan and Michigan State will each play an exhibition against the US National Development Under-18 team. Michigan will host them on Thursday, State on Saturday. Penn State travels to Columbus while Minnesota heads to Madison. UNO hosts Miami OH.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

(14) Penn State at Ohio State

Value City Arena; Columbus, OH
Friday @ 7 et/6 ct on BTN Plus
Saturday @ 7 et/6 ct on BTN Plus

Penn State hits the road for the first time in conference play and leaves the state of Pennsylvania for the first time since Nov. 20-21.  These will be the Nittany Lions 5th and 6th true road games of the season.  This will be OSU's second and third home conference games and their 3rd and 4th since Nov. 13th and 14th.  This is a litmus test series for both teams.  Can Penn State win consistently on the road in B1G play?  The Lions have 4 conference road wins in two years: 2 in Madison last year and 1 in Ann Arbor each season.  If Penn State wants to challenge for the B1G Crown, a tournament bye, and an NCAA berth, they will need to win on the road.  Ohio State is 3-1-2 in its last six and looks to be playing solid hockey.  Can they continue that play at home?  OSU went 6-4 at home last year including a sweep of Penn State.  OSU's Dakota Joshua and Brendan Kearney will sit out Friday night as a result of their role in the post game fights against Michigan last weekend.  Goaltender Christian Frey sat out last weekend against Michigan, I haven't seen if he is expected to suit up for the Buckeyes this weekend. I think these teams battle to a hard fought split.

My Pick: PSU 3 - 3 OSU
KRACH: PSU 4.61-1.39 OSU

Minnesota at Wisconsin

Kohl Center; Madison, WI
Friday @ 9 et/8 ct on BTN/BTN2Go
Saturday @ 8 et/7 ct on ASN/BTN2Go

The Gophers and Badgers will meet up for the first time this year in both teams final series of the first half.  The Badgers are improved over last year, but not by much. Luckily for them the Gophers are worse than last year.  Wisconsin took 4 of 12 points from the Gophs last season, winning a shootout at home and on the road.  Minnesota has gone 7-3-0 in it's last 10 and needs a win and a tie at minimum to stay in the NCAA at large race.  Wisconsin is 0-3-1 in its last three with one of those losses coming in OT.  The other two losses were by two and three goals.  Minnesota's offense and defense are starting to gel which is bad new for the Badgers.  This will likely be the largest crowd at the Kohl Center all year and I look for Wisconsin to come out flying both games.  If the Gophers can stay calm, they should win both games.

My Pick: MN 6 - 0 WI
KRACH: MN 4.56 - 1.44 WI

Miami OH at (7) Nebraska Omaha

Baxter Arena, Omaha; Nebraska
Friday @ 8:30 et/7:30 ct on CBSSN/NCHC Streaming
Saturday @ 8 et/7 ct on NET (Nebraska Public TV)/NCHC Streaming

UNO is coming off a big sweep of the former number one team in the country and hosts a disappointing Miami team. The Redhawks are 2-5-1 in their last 8 but did beat Bowling Green in their only game last weekend.  UNO is 8-2-0 at home, only losing to Denver, while Miami is 2-7-0 on the road.  I think UNO defends home ice and earns a much needed home sweep over Miami Hydroxide.

My Pick: MI(OH) 0 - 6 UNO
KRACH: MI(OH) 1.53 - 4.47 UNO