Happy November! The results from last weekend make minimal sense. I know it’s already November, but teams are still finding out who they are. Now if it’s still going on in December, I guess we’re just back to the usual weird inconsistency we’ve seen from the Big Ten in years past. Most likely though this will all settle down soon.
Ohio State and Notre Dame will still be the best
The Buckeyes and Fighting Irish met for the first time since their thrilling Big Ten final last year. The games went how you’d expect, ending in a couple of low-scoring, one-goal games. I know the Buckeyes were rocked by Bowling Green last weekend, and Notre Dame hasn’t exactly been stellar either so far, but these two are still some of the best and this past weekend proved that.
Some people asked me why I picked Notre Dame over Ohio State when I made my conference picks, and the reason lies with goaltending. Cale Morris is still better than Sean Romeo, and I’ll take that over the stifling defense Ohio State *usually* has. (I have to say usually because of that game against Bowling Green. Yikes). Both teams are going to have games where they stumble (like Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin in Chicago last year), which is why I always take the goaltenders.
Outdoor games are still overrated
People can say I hate fun, which may sometimes be fair. Mostly I love fun, but I don’t think any amount of fun is worth outdoor games. It’s not even because I think they’re overdone, or boring or just a money-making gimmick (although I do think those things). Ultimately I don’t like teams playing in them because they put players at much higher risk for injuries. I was there three years ago when Denna Laing was hurt skating on outdoor ice with sub-par conditions. And last year Will Lockwood got hurt because he was also skating on questionable ice.
I get that it’s a fun event. I’ve gone as a fan once, and while I wouldn’t go again, I do think it’s something people should experience once. But it makes injuries way more likely to happen because there are factors that either can’t be controlled or won’t be controlled when it comes to ice conditions.
Anyway, the point of this rambling, angry-man-yells-at-cloud post is that the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish will be playing in an outdoor game in South Bend.
Michigan State is on fire
I mean in a good way. The Spartans are quietly winning. Actually, almost everyone in the conference is winning, or sort of winning, because every team except for Minnesota has t least four victories. The Spartans just suffered a loss at Ferris State but had won three in a row, before the loss. Two of those wins came at Cornell, and that’s pretty impressive.
I don’t think Michigan State’s success is a fluke, and I think they can do some damage in the Big Ten this year. That top line of Taro Hirose, Mitchell Lewnadowski and Patrick Khodorenko has to be one of the most underrated lines in college hockey and they’ve already amassed 28 points so far. Khondorenko already has five goals and Hirose’s 12 points are tied for the Big Ten lead.
But the kicker — and what will define how far Michigan State’s success goes — is John Lethemon. Before the season, Danton Cole spoke a little bit about how Lethemon grew and what the team was expecting from him. So far he’s done well, posting a .919 save percentage.