The season is fully underway now and all Big Ten teams have taken the ice. Weirdly, every Big Ten team has earned a win so far this season. Penn State, Notre Dame and Minnesota are the only “undefeated teams,” while Ohio State and Wisconsin each have three wins.
To clarify, Minnesota may be undefeated, but the Gophers have only played in two games. But the win and tie came against defending champion Minnesota-Duluth. The Wolverines and Spartans also have a win apiece.
Even though there hasn’t been much action yet there’s still been some action, so here are my thoughts so far:
Chill. Nothing that happens now matters
OL it does actually, and some of these results will most likely play a part at season’s end when the final PairWise is being calculated. But these results don’t tell us much about how good or how bad any team actually is.
I seldom use the term “upset” in college hockey, but I never use it in October. Teams are still finding out who they are on the ice and some teams are only playing their first or second game. So it’s not really unusual for a top seed or a so-called favorite to drop a game or two. That team could still end up winning the national championship.
The same thing goes for teams that are winning right now. Taking home a few in the first few weeks of the season could be legitimate or it could just be a fluke. We really don’t know until later on in the year.
Motzko is just what Minnesota needed
I know, I know, just as I wrote above that winning early on in the season doesn’t necessarily mean that a team is good. But I still count Minnesota’s effort against the Bulldogs as a positive sign, especially given how Minnesota has struggled early on against non-conference opposition in the previous few seasons. The Gophers have always had talent, and it seems so far like Motzko can take that talent and translate that to wins.
But, like I said earlier, we’ll know more later.
Liam Folkes is really good
Liam Folkes is one of the most underrated players in a really talented conference. He scored one of the most important goals in Penn State history a year and half ago and continued that success into his sophomore year. It’s only been four games into the season and it looks like he’ll surpass his career totals yet again. Folkes broke out for four points — two goals and two assists – in last weekend’s game against Niagara.
So far he has five points in four games. Last year he had 23 in 38.
He’s the subject of my latest feature, so I asked Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky what has made him so good and why he’s improved instead of suffering from a sophomore slump. Stay tuned for that…