Indiana (11-14-2) will face CSCHL rival Illinois (10-12-1) this weekend in a critical conference series. The #12 Illini and Hoosiers are fifth and sixth respectively in the league, separated by only two points. And as the regular season nears its end, conference points are at a premium.
IU is coming off an up-and-down weekend against University of Michigan-Dearborn. The Hoosiers took a decisive 6-1 victory in game one before falling by the same score in game two. In both games, streaky scoring paved the way to victory.
Illinois was edged twice last weekend by conference opponent Iowa State. The Cyclones came away with a 4-2 win on Friday night and a 2-1 victory on Saturday. With the two losses, the Illini have extended their losing streak to six games and have yet to claim a win in the second semester. Overall, Illinois has lost eight of its last 10, with the lone two victories coming against Division II opponent Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The Hoosiers have gotten by more on defense this year than on offense. With only a couple of weekends left, IU does not have a player with more than 20 points. In net, the tandem of Mike Reed and Sam Sheahan have been solid, both allowing less than four goals per game.
Illinois has had similar offensive troubles. Sophomore Austin Bostock leads all scorers with 20 points on the year. Senior Andrew Cardona leads the team in goals with 10. The Illini have scored more than two goals only once during their current losing streak.
The last time
The Hoosiers and Illini met four times last season, with Illinois coming out on top in three of the contests. The lone IU win came in the form of a 3-2 shootout victory in Champaign last October. Illinois blanked the Hoosiers 3-0 in the first meeting of the year, and then took both games at IU 3-1 and 5-4.
Both games this weekend will be played at the University of Illinois Ice Arena. Both games will be 8:30pm ET start times.