Well, that was an interesting weekend.
Both Big Ten conference matchups ended in splits, except Michigan rebounded from a 3-2 loss with an 8-1 win. Yes, they scored eight goals against Penn State, and five of those goals came in the third period. After rewatching Michigan’s 8-1 win, the final minutes of the game was a disaster for Penn State. The Wolverines were aggressive in their loss, and continued that play in the victory on Saturday.
The weekend confirmed my suspicion about Big Ten play: I will never know which team is going to win on a given night. Except for Minnesota.
The more the season progresses, the less I know what to expect from any team — except Wisconsin. Even though the Badgers are winless and lost to Colorado College, they still have a legitimate chance to finish high in the Big Ten conference. That’s how inconsistent and questionable the conference is right now.
As far as Ohio State and Michigan State goes, I still don’t know which team is better. The Spartans won 3-1 the first night, but fell to Ohio State 3-0 the second night. From the first game, I learned why Michigan State can win without possessing the puck. They generate quality scoring chances and Jake Hildebrand is good. And so is And Mackenzie MacEachern.
Hildebrand wasn’t the only Big Ten goalkeeper to start both games over the weekend, as Penn State’s Eamon McAdam, Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort and Ohio State’s Matt T0mkins also played in both games. Joel Rumpel was the only netminder who didn’t, as he only played in the 3-2 loss to Denver.
McAdam has appeared in net for Penn State after replacing a pulled Matthew Skoff on Nov. 14. McAdam has started in three straight games, and his save percentage dropped from .952 to .906 after Saturday’s eight-goal game. Nagelvoort didn’t look too shaky for Michigan, and has started four straight games. Tomkins earned his first shutout of the season in Ohio State’s 3-0 win on Friday.
The only guarantee in the Big Ten is that Minnesota will finish first. But anyone could finish from second to sixth. The scary part is there’s a chance Wisconsin, the worst team in the country, could finish higher than last place.
Also, KRACH is out — the best way to rank reams. Minnesota is fifth, and the next highest team is Penn State at 20. Ohio State is 27, Michigan 31, Michigan State 40 and Wisconsin dead last. Yes, just after winning the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers are dead last. Given the confusing nature of the Big Ten, that order sounds right.
(After the jump: I will never understand Michigan, why Michigan State can win without the puck and Corsi things)