Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Jan. 27

Posted by: Jashvina Shah

Wisconsin finally returned to the ice, as the Badgers took on Ohio State at home. This season, the Badgers have been phenomenal at the Kohl Center, and they’re now 13-2-1 at home.

Only two teams had Big Ten series last weekend, and Michigan and Michigan State were the other two conference teams that tangled. The Wolverines swept the Spartans, snapping a six-game winless streak. Michigan’s J.T. Compher led the conference in scoring over the weekend with five points (3g, 2a).

The Gophers went outside the league and competed for the North Star College Cup. Minnesota won the inaugural tournament but also reminded us that no tournament can be taken seriously when it ends in a shootout. Yes, Minnesota won the championship game in a shootout.

Speaking of the Gophers, Adam Wilcox is really good. And the Gophers are one of the best teams in the country, but we already knew that.

The Nittany Lions also played out of conference, hosting Boston College. Penn State lost once again, but the team played the Eagles closely and limited them to three goals in the game.

Boston College averages 4.48 goals per game and has the nation’s top-two leading scorers.

That’s not bad for Penn State, especially since they faced Thatcher Demko in net.

I still haven’t figured out how I feel about Wisconsin, and I probably won’t until they can consistently win away from home. Right now the Badgers are 1-5-1 on the road, and all five of its Big Ten wins have come at home.  

(After the jump: Why David Glen is doing a great thing, Michigan’s struggles and the Buckeyes becoming elite)

David Glen is missing hockey for a really good reason

The assistant captain missed his second game of the season on Saturday night when Penn State played Boston College.

On Friday, Penn State revealed Glen would miss that game because he was going to start donating bone marrow.

According to the team, Glen had registered to be a donor through Be The Match last November. The organization contacted Glen recently, and he received notice he was a match for someone.

He’ll also miss the next week’s game against Ohio State, as it will take Glen seven-to-10 days to recover from the procedure.

Glen has five points in 18 games this season. Last year he was Penn State’s second-leading scorer with 25 points.

Even without Glen in the lineup, the Nittany Lions limited BC to three goals in the loss. The Eagles put up eight goals the last time they faced Penn State.

Michigan isn’t that good

Zach Nagelvoort’s presence in net has given the Wolverines a good last line of defense. His .935 save percentage is fourth in the country and his 1.98 goals-against average ranks eighth. Over the weekend he was the only Big Ten goalkeeper who won both games, posting a .954 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against average.

With the wins over Michigan State, Michigan ranks third in the conference.

But forget the statistics.

The Wolverines beat a Spartan team that has struggled this season. And on Thursday, the Wolverines struggled to pull out a 2-1 win over the Spartans. I didn’t see anything from Michigan’s play to make me believe they’re a good team this season.

Ohio State could be Big Ten-Elite

The Buckeyes split a series with Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, handing the Badgers their second home loss of the year and their first since Jan. 3. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Buckeyes — losses that came against the Badgers and the Gophers.

After the weekend, Ryan Dzingel still leads the conference in scoring with 30 points, 14 goals and 1.36 points per game. He also has four game-winning goals and a hat trick this season.

One of the biggest issues for Ohio State was the goalkeeping situation, which saw a plyer leave, one get injured and some join the program. Now Christian Frey and Matt Tomkins have been splitting starts. Frey made 36 saves in the win over Wisconsin, recording a .973 save percentage over the weekend.

Behind the goalkeeping rotation, the Buckeye defense allows 2.82 goals per game. It’s not anywhere near the best in the country, but it’s not bad for a team that has had four different goalkeepers start this season.

Statistics aside, I’ve been really impressed with Ohio State when I’ve seen them play, especially against Minnesota a couple weekends ago.

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