Friday Four-cast: Week of INCH

Penn State at Minnesota (Fri.-Sat.): As explosive as Michigan has been this season, the Wolverines enter the weekend tied with Minnesota for first place in the Big Ten, six points ahead of third-place Penn State. For all intents and purposes, a Gophers sweep eliminates the Nittany Lions from the regular-season title chase and sets up a huge series in two weeks when Michigan visits Mariucci Arena. In Penn State’s four previous games in Minneapolis, they’ve been outscored by the Gophers by an 18-4 margin.

Bowling Green at Minnesota State (Fri.-Sat.): Two wins for the host Mavericks and Verizon Wireless Center staffers can think about scouting the arena’s rafters for a spot to hoist a second WCHA regular-season championship banner. These teams are trending in opposite directions—first-place Minnesota State is 14-5-5 after starting the season with four losses in as many games; second-place Bowling Green, meanwhile, got off to an 11-3-5 start but has a 4-5-1 mark since Dec. 30.

Dartmouth at Yale (Fri.); Harvard at Yale (Sat.): Quinnipiac has built a cushion atop the ECAC Hockey standings, but these three Ivy rivals are in the national polls and among a tightly-packed group of teams chasing top-four spots in the ECAC Hockey standings. When they played in the first week of November, Yale tied at Harvard and won at Dartmouth. This weekend, Ingalls Rink is the place to be for the biggest games in ECAC Hockey.

Beanpot Tournament (Mon.): It’s Harvard against Northeastern in the third-place game during happy hour, because it’s the second Monday of the Beanpot and that’s how things usually work. The championship game between Boston University and Boston College is the third meeting of the year between these rivals. In mid-January, BC won at home and tied at BU as Eagles defenseman Ian McCoshen had five points (2-3—5) on six BC goals that weekend.

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