All six Big Ten teams were in action in some form or another this weekend. This was the last weekend of non-conference play for Big Ten Teams, after this it is a six way battle to the X in March.
#6 Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State still remains mired in the basement. However, this week showed that they may not be locked downstairs for long. The Nittany Lions seem to like to play the top teams in the country tough as the Gophers found out a few weeks ago. This weekend, #2 ranked Boston College went to Pegula Ice arena and had to fight to win 3-2. Penn State had a chance to tie it with their goalie pulled in the last minute of the game, but could not get the puck past BC goalie Thatcher Demko. Poor PSU.
This weekend: they get to go to scenic Columbus, Ohio for a series against the fifth place Buckeyes. PSU might actually win their first Big Ten game.
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes went into Madison this weekend looking to see if they could gain some ground on Big Ten idle Penn State. With the Badgers ranked #9 in the country and one of the best home teams in the country, any win would be a positive. The Buckeyes did get that as they split with the Badgers losing 5-3 on Friday and winning 3-1 on Saturday. Thanks OSU! It's always nice to see someone else doing the dirty work of humiliating the Badgers!
This weekend:The above aforementioned basement battle at home vs Penn State.
The only team to drop in this week's recap. Its mostly a football reference, but if you don't want to be considered "Little Brother" to the Wolverines, its generally best not to get swept by them. In one of the Big Ten's "special" Thursday/Friday series, the Spartans gave up a late goal with less than 2:30 in the game to lose 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday, and in the Friday night game back in East Lansing, MSU gave up three unanswered third period goals to lose 5-2. Not great when trying to show you have improved as a team.
This weekend: Hopefully hearing the Battle Hymn Saturday night after another disappointing weekend against the Gophers.
As you read above, the Wolverines swept the Spartans 2-1 on Thursday and 5-2 on Friday. Michigan now climbs into the #3 hole in the Big Ten standings only three points behind second place Wisconsin with two games in hand. The Wolverines had lost four games in a row including getting swept by the Badgers in Madison prior to this weekend.
This weekend: A home series against the Badgers looking for revenge. As a Gopher fan what outcome do we prefer? This one.
Bucky really doesn't want people to come to the Kohl Center (a.k.a. the worst set up arena for hockey in the country). The Badgers had their best crowd of the season, and best since 2010 in the Kohl Center for Saturday night's tilt versus the Buckeyes. And what do they do? Play "Wisconsin Hockey" and lose 3-1 in a godawful boring game with the Buckeyes third goal coming on an empty-netter. Congrats Mike Eaves and Barry Alvarez for scaring away hockey fans for life!
This weekend: The Badgers leave Madison for the first time since they were in Minnesota on November 30. Have fun with those road games in Ann Arbor Bucky...I'm sure they don't remember two weeks ago at all.
#1 Pride On Ice-
North Star College Cup Champions defeating #5 St Cloud State, UMD and two referees and two linesmen.
This weekend:Back to Big Ten play with a revenge series against Michigan State. Win THE HONEYCRISP TROPHY!!! Attempt to keep their nation leading twelve-game unbeaten streak alive.
Here's what I want to see this weekend. Beat the Spartans. Handily. MSU goalie Jake Hildebrandt stole the only Big Ten points the Gophers have given up this season, and the Gophers do have an innate ability to make a decent goalie superhuman. I'd like to see them come out and not laze into games like this past weekend, but take control, dominate early, get an early lead and have the band wear out their instruments playing the Rouser and the Battle Hymn on Saturday. AND WIN THE DAMN HONEYCRISP TROPHY!!!!
Dishonorable Mention- Union Head Coach Rick Bennett
Union and RPI play for the Mayor's Cup in Albany, New York. Their rivalry is quite strong. They DO NOT like one another. At the end of RPI's 2-1 win Saturday night, thier first win in ten games against Union, you can see Union's Mat Bodie, #22 give a high cross-check to one of the RPI players. The RPI players coming onto the ice to celebrate their win did not take that kindly. From there it was on like Donkey Kong. Players squared off, and things seemed to be calming down. That is until Union Head Coach Rick Bennett decided to up the ante. As you can see in the video about 45 seconds in, Bennett goes from his bench in a rage and tries to go after RPI coach Seth Appert. Appert is held back by two of his players, and Bennett is finally corralled by a few of his players. Bennett was suspended two games by Union for his actions.
Ferris State and Mankato one weekend, Union and RPI the next. Who's next? Here's hoping Michigan and Wisconsin have some "disagreements" this weekend.