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Face Off Tackle Empire // Weekend Preview and Open Thread February 19th & 20th

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The bottom four are back in action in B1G play with Penn State hosting Ohio State and Wisconsin hosting Michigan State. The Wolverines welcome old conference mate Ferris State to Yost on Friday while UNO hosts St. Cloud State.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ohio State Buckeyes at (15) Penn State Nittany Lions

Pegula Ice Arena; State College, PA
Friday @ 6:30 et/5:30 ct on BTN/BTN2Go
Saturday @ 3 et/2 ct on ESPNU/WatchESPN/BTN2Go

Penn State closes out it's home B1G slate this weekend against Ohio State with the opportunity to secure its most points ever in a B1G season.  If the Nittany Lions sweep, they will have 32 points, 1 more than they earned all of last year.  The Nittany Lions need at least a win and a tie if they want to stay in the At-Large conversation.  The Buckeyes are trying to avoid dropping in the standings as the two teams behind them wil split 6 points this weekend.  The Buckeyes have been playing very well since the holiday break but dropped two one-goal games against the Gophers last weekend. I think OSU's luck turns this weekend and they steal a game at Pegula.

My Pick: OSU 3 - 3 PSU
KRACH: OSU 1.65 - 4.35 PSU

Michigan State Spartans at Wisconsin Badgers

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

The Spartans and the Badgers each came away with a point last weekend against Penn State and Michigan, respectively.  Jake Hildebrand is starting to return to the form that won him B1G Player of the Year last year, while Wisconsin outplayed Michigan in a shootout loss.  This is the Spartans final road series of the year.  They have only taken 3 of 21 road points, but Wisconsin has not won at home in B1G play (0-4-2-1).  This series looks like a split to me.

My Pick: MSU 3 - 3 WI
KRACH: MSU 2.59 - 3.41 WI

Ferris State Bulldogs at (6) Michigan Wolverines

Yost Ice Arena; Ann Arbor, MI
Friday @ 7 et/6 ct on MGoBlueTV

Michigan has a week off from B1G play and will take on former CCHA foe Ferris State.  The Wolverines offense has slowed down the last two weeks, scoring 14 goals in 4 games against the 5th and 6th place teams in the conference.  While 3.5 gpg is right in line with the B1G average, it is 2 goals less than their average in conference play.  Ferris Stae is in 4th in the WCHA but only a point behind 2nd and 3rd place.  The Bulldogs will likely need to win the WCHA tournament to make the NCAAs while Michigan needs a total meltdown to miss it.  I think Michigan wins.

My Pick: MI
KRACH: FS 0.24 - 0.76 MI

(3) St. Cloud State Huskies at (12) Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks

Baxter Arena; Omaha, NE
Friday @ 8 et/7 ct on NCHC Stream
Saturday @ 8 et/7 ct on NCHC Stream

UNO is coming off a home sweep of Western Michigan.  Friday's game was close, but Saturday was a blowout.  The competition jumps as No. 3  (2 in KRACH and PW) St. Cloud State comes to Baxter Arena.  St. Cloud is tied with north dakota (who UNO hosts next weekend) for first in the NCHC.  UNO is above the bubble but a tough closing schedule could have them on the outside if they can't defend home ice.  St. Cloud was off last weekend but look to be a Championship contender.  That said, I think UNO will ride the home crowd to a split.

My Pick: JBSU 3 - 3 UNO
KRACH: JBSU 4.16 - 1.84 UNO