Around the Big Ten: Week 8
Matt McClure, Chris Hess, Jeremy Ganes and Andre Magaro break down this weekend's Big Ten hockey games:
As the month of November comes to a close, the Big Ten continues to stand out as one of the elite conferences in college hockey. Four of the seven teams continue to be represented in the USCHO rankings with three of them still holding their spot in the top ten. Let us recap everything that happened this past weekend and take a look forward at the upcoming matchups.
The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-3-1, 3-1) split their two-game series with the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2, 1-1) this past weekend in Columbus. It was a battle between Penn State’s prolific offense and Ohio State’s impressive defense.
The Nittany Lions took the first game of the series 4-3 on Friday thanks to a flurry of offensive chances in the second period. Four different skaters found the back of the net for the Lions, while Peyton Jones finished the night with 41 saves.
It was a different story on Saturday night as the Buckeyes outlasted the Lions in the final period of play. Going into the third period both teams had found the net twice and despite turnover issues, Ohio State found a way to come out on top.
Dakota Joshua would score the game-winning goal for the Buckeyes with only two minutes remaining. Sasha Larocque and Brendon Kearney both scored empty-net goals in the closing minutes to seal Ohio State’s 5-2 victory over Penn State.
Ohio State moves to (9-4-1, 4-2) on the season, keeping its No. 5 ranking in the USCHO poll. Penn State moves to (10-3, 2-2) and holds onto its No. 6 ranking in the poll. Both teams have pivotal Big Ten conference games coming up this weekend. Ohio State will be traveling to Minnesota to take on the 4-6-1 (2-2) Golden Gophers and Penn State will take a trip up north to face off against the 5-7-2 (1-3-2) Wisconsin Badgers.
The No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-4-1, 4-2) returned to the Compton Family Ice Arena this past Tuesday for a single non-conference matchup against Northern Michigan (6-8, 5-3). The Fighting Irish barely escaped with a 2-1 win in this overtime thriller.
Alex Stevens scored the first goal for Notre Dame at the tail end of an evenly matched first period. The Fighting Irish held their lead until midway through the second period when Darien Craighead notched a power play goal for Northern Michigan to tie the game at one.
Despite outshooting Northern Michigan 15-3 in the final frame of regulation, Notre Dame could not find the back of the net and the game would be determined in overtime. The Fighting Irish did not take long to finish off Northern Michigan thanks to an early power play goal just one minute into the extra period.
Notre Dame moves to 8-4-1 (4-2) on the season and continues to hold their spot at No. 8 in the USCHO rankings. The Fighting Irish will continue their home front in South Bend as they host non-conference foe RPI (4-7, 3-3) this upcoming Friday and Saturday.
The No. 14 Michigan Wolverines (6-5, 2-2) hosted the Wisconsin Badgers (5-7, 1-3) this past weekend in Ann Arbor. This was perhaps the most interesting series over the weekend, as both games needed extra time to determine a winner.
In the first game of the series, Wisconsin was first to get on the board after a goal from Mick Messner early in the second period. Jack Berry’s 37 saves would not be enough to stop Adam Winborg from tying the game halfway through the third and sending the game to overtime.
After a scoreless 5-on-5 overtime, the Wolverines sealed their overtime victory just 33 seconds into the 3-on-3 overtime. Josh Norris was credited with the game-winning goal.
The second game of the series did not disappoint either. Wisconsin jumped out of the gate with an early 2-0 lead halfway through the second period. Michigan would respond minutes later with a goal of their own and eventually tie the game halfway through the third with a goal from Luke Morgan.
Both overtime periods went scoreless and it came down to a shootout for the extra standings point. Wisconsin emerged victorious with Max Zimmer netting the winning shootout goal.
Michigan moves to 6-5-2 (2-2-2) on the season and remains No. 14 in the USCHO rankings. The Wolverines will be traveling to East Lansing on Friday to take on the Michigan State Spartans in the first game of the rival series before coming back to Ann Arbor on Saturday to host the second game. Wisconsin moves to 5-7-2 (1-3-2) on the season and is currently in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin will be hosting No. 6 Penn State (10-3, 2-2) this coming weekend in the Kohl Center.
The Michigan State Spartans (4-6, 0-2) traveled to 3M Arena this past weekend to face off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-5-1, 1-1). The first game did not go the Spartans way.
The Golden Gophers started out strong, scoring three straight goals to open up the first period. The Spartans never came close to catching Minnesota after that. Tyler Sheehy and Brannon McManus each scored two for the Golden Gopher as they rolled over Michigan State 7-2.
Saturday’s game was much more exciting. Minnesota got things going in the second period with two power play goals from Tyler Sheehy and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Michigan State would answer both of those goals with two of their own before the second period could end.
The Spartans channeled their momentum going into the third period, scoring another two unanswered goals from Taro Hirose and Tommy Apap. Michigan State would go on to win and make the series an even split.
Michigan State moves to 5-7 (1-3) on the season and remains the lone team at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Minnesota moves to 4-6-1 (2-2) on the season and is tied for fourth in the Big Ten standings with Penn State and Wisconsin. Michigan State takes on the Michigan Wolverines (6-5-2, 2-2-2) this coming weekend and Minnesota hosts the Ohio State Buckeyes (9-4-1, 4-2).
Paul Toth is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.