Around the Big Ten: Week 6
Nathan Pullen, Jordan Mansberger and Matt McClure preview this weekend's Big Ten hockey action:
As Big Ten play continued for some teams this weekend, the conference has certainly had some surprises early on this season. Five of the seven teams are ranked in the USCHO rankings after last weekend. Let’s see how the Big Ten faired this past weekend, and look ahead to upcoming matchups.
No. 8 Notre Dame faced off with No. 16 Michigan in a huge conference series in Ann Arbor this past weekend. In game one, the Wolverines held on to beat the Fighting Irish 2-1, behind junior forward Nick Pastujov’s goal on the power play in the second period.
Goalie Strauss Mann played great with 26 saves on 27 shots. Fighting Irish goalie Cale Morris kept Notre Dame close making 36 saves on 38 shots, but the Fighting Irish offense was shut down by the Wolverines defense.
In game two, Notre Dame finally got going on offense. The Fighting Irish put up a four-spot in the second period and won 6-2. Five Notre Dame players had at least two points with forward Cal Burke leading the way with three.
Sophomore goalie Dylan St. Cyr got the nod for the Fighting Irish and had a strong game with 29 saves on 31 shots. Notre Dame is currently 5-4-1 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten while Michigan is 5-4, 1-1. This weekend, Notre Dame travels to East Lansing and will play Michigan State while Michigan hits the road to Happy Valley for a matchup with Penn State.
No. 6 Ohio State faced off in a non-conference battle with at Colgate this past weekend and continued its stellar defensive play. The Buckeyes swept Colgate with back-to-back shutouts. In game one, junior forward Tanner Laczynski came through with two goals in a 3-0 win.
Ohio State Goalie Sean Romeo recorded his second straight shutout, stopping all 19 Raider shots. In game two, senior forward Dakota Joshua scored the only goal of the game midway through the third period as the Buckeyes won 1-0. Tommy Nappier got the shutout in this one for the Buckeyes stopping all 24 shots.
Ohio State has given up only three goals in its last five games after allowing eight to Bowling Green on Oct. 26. Currently, the Buckeyes are 6-3-1, 1-1 and the preseason No. 1 team seems to be hitting its stride as it prepares to host Wisconsin this weekend.
New head coach Bob Motzko and No. 19 Minnesota needed its offense to wake up at Wisconsin this weekend as the Golden Gophers had scored only three goals in three straight losses to North Dakota and Minnesota State.
In game one, the Golden Gophers got off to a slow start as the Badgers got up 2-0 early in the second period. However, they scored three unanswered goals and held on for a 3-2 win. Senior forward Ryan Norman got the game-winner in the third period.
In the second game, the Gophers offensive problems returned. Brannon McManus got the Golden Gophers up early 1-0 with a power-play goal in the first period, but this time it was the Badgers that scored three unanswered goals and ended their three-game losing streak in a 3-1 win.
Sophomore defenseman Josh Ess got the game-winner midway through the third period and freshman forward Jack Gorniak added an empty net goal to seal the win. Minnesota is currently 2-4-1, 1-1 but should get well against 1-8 St. Lawrence this weekend. Wisconsin is 5-5, 1-1 and has a tough trip to Columbus on deck this weekend.
After a solid 4-1 start to the season, the Michigan State Spartans have been struggling lately, dropping three straight games. Last weekend, the Spartans faced off with Arizona State on the road and they kept high scoring Sun Devil forward Johnny Walker off the scoresheet. However, they also got swept losing 5-4 and 2-0.
In game one, the Spartans rallied from 2-0 behind to take a 3-2 lead in the second period on a goal by Taro Hirose. The Sun Devils got the next three and held on to win 5-4. In game two the Spartans could generate only 20 shots on goal in the shutout loss. The Spartans return home this weekend to open their Big Ten season against No. 8 Notre Dame.
Finally, No. 5 Penn State played a home-and-home series vs. Robert Morris last weekend, and the number one goal scoring team in college hockey continued to roll winning both games by a combined score of 18-8. The Nittany Lions continue to get offensive contributions from many players.
Six forwards have double figures in points led by Alex Limoges and Nikita Pavlychev with 16 points each. This duo combined for five goals and seven assists in the two games against Robert Morris.
This upcoming weekend, Penn State will have a much tougher test when No. 16 Michigan visits Happy Valley in conference play opening weekend for the Nittany Lions. The Wolverines have beaten Penn State the last three times the two teams have played, but Penn State has won three of the last four meetings at Pegula Ice Arena.
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.