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Michigan hockey still in the mix for Big Ten Championship

The Wolverines started Big Ten play a bit slow, though could still clinch a title.




The Michigan hockey team (20-9-1, 12-8-0 Big Ten) just weeks ago sat below .500 in conference play and seemed far behind the top-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. After being blown out by the Ohio State Buckeyes in game one of their first series, the Wolverines bounced back with a massive win of their own on the following night and have seemingly turned a corner ever since.

With just two weekends remaining in the season, Michigan hockey has somehow climbed back into the Big Ten title picture.

Michigan hockey sits just three games back

With just four games remaining in the season, Michigan hockey sits three games behind the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Big Ten standings. The Wolverines and Gophers will not face off again this season, though the schedule appears to favor Michigan more than Minnesota right now.

This weekend, Michigan hockey will travel to Ohio to face the Buckeyes in a two-game series; so far this year, the two are 1-1 head-to-head. Still, over the past few weekends, we have seen the Wolverines turn a corner and play at an elite level.

Over the last three weeks, Michigan has swept No. 6 Penn State, Wisconsin, and No. 15 Michigan State. Since losing to Ohio State last month, the Wolverines are 8-1 overall — their only loss was a narrow road overtime loss to the nation’s No. 1 team (Minnesota).

Michigan’s final four games are a two-game series against No. 10 Ohio State, which feels very winnable for the Wolverines, and a two-game series against the struggling Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish are usually a threat, though right now, they sit at 14-14-4 overall and 9-10-3 in Big Ten play. On the other hand, Minnesota’s final four games are a two-game road series at No. 7 Penn State and a two-game home series against No. 10 Ohio State.

How can the Wolverines take home a title?

Michigan hockey has two paths to a Big Ten Championship this season, though if the Wolverines expect to compete for the regular-season title, they’ll need some help from two conference teams.

First off, to claim a share of the Big Ten title, Michigan hockey will need Minnesota to lose out; which may seem unlikely, though the Golden Gophers have lost two of their last five, including a 3-1 loss at the hands of a struggling Wisconsin team. Minnesota ends the season with two top-10 matchups, so it’s not out of the question. Additionally, Michigan hockey MUST win out and improve to 16-8-0 in Big Ten play.

The more likely route, the Wolverines’ second path to a Big Ten Championship, is to do what it did a season ago and win the Big Ten tournament. Right now, the Wolverines are gaining all kinds of momentum, and just as we saw a year ago, they could be peaking at the perfect time.

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