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Tale of the Tape: Evansville

Indiana officially has its first Big Ten win under its belt after traveling to Wisconsin on Sunday, where the Hoosiers came away with a 3-1 win. This week’s opponent is a bit of a different breed, though.

IU will hit the road once again this Friday to take on the Evansville Aces at 7 p.m.

The Aces are currently 1-3-3 with a lone win at home against Grand Canyon, but Evansville has struggled for the majority of the season thus far.

On paper, the history between the two sides isn’t a pretty one. Evansville still has yet to beat the Hoosiers according to stats dating back to 1999, and the last time the Aces scored against IU was back in 2013.

With the next chapter of the in-state rivalry on tap, let’s dive in to this week’s edition of Tale of the Tape.

Tripping Out of the Gates

Evansville is off to a 1-3-3 start to its 2018 season with a lone win at home against then-No. 24 Grand Canyon. Outside of its only win of the year, Evansville has struggled against all types of opponents. In the first two games of their season, the Aces traveled to Utah to take on Utah Valley and UNLV — it was a three-day road trip in which Evansville was outscored 1-8.

The Aces returned to the state of Indiana with two losses in hand, and it took 12 more days to find their first win of the season. After knocking off Grand Canyon, the Aces were blanked 0-3 against Northern Kentucky before drawing with Mercer 1-1.

Woes In Front of Net

Junior forward Ben Weber currently has two goals to his name, and he currently leads the team. Finding a consistent attacking presence has been one of Evansville’s weaknesses so far this season. Although there are four other players who have scored, none have been a constant threat to opposing defenses.

The Aces haven’t been able to score multiple goals in a game outside of Evansville’s 2-2 draw with IUPUI. If Evansville is going to earn a positive result against Indiana, it will have to find a way to put the ball into the back of the net more than once.

Key Matchup

Justin Rennicks vs. Frederik Reimer — I could have put Andrew Gutman here instead of Rennicks for obvious reasons (Gutman leads the team with five goals scored), but I chose Rennicks because this could be a game in which he breaks out for one or more goals.

Rennicks has been able to find the back of the net on a more consistent basis the past few games outside of Wisconsin, and being able to score one early would be a huge confidence boost. Reimer doesn’t have a save percentage (62.5%) that stands out, but with the possibility of many shots coming his way Friday, he could line up for a big game.

One to Watch

Ben Weber — It’s hard to pick one specific player from this squad to watch, but the recent form of Weber is intriguing. He’s scored twice in the last three games and has the potential to play the hero for Evansville on Friday. Players like Weber have to step up against a national powerhouse like Indiana, and if anyone is going to rise to the occasion, it might as well be him.

Overall Assessment

I hate the cliché, but this is basically a David vs. Goliath matchup, and David will have the home crowd behind him Friday night. The last time these two met was last season when IU Head Coach Todd Yeagley earned his 100th career win in what was a dominating 4-0 performance by the Hoosiers. I would expect a similar score line this time around, but this could be a trap game with Northwestern on deck and Penn State in the hole.

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