Archive for the 'Big Ten' Category

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 6

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Now that it’s February we can finally start taking stock in the Pairwise. That’s good if you’re Minnesota, not good if you’re Penn State. But we’ll get to that later. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin swept this weekend, which leaves both teams tied for the lead in the Big Ten standings. Meanwhile Michigan and Ohio State split in two odd, high-scoring games, meaning nothing has changed between those two teams since last year.

The tournament is still over a month away, but those No. 1 and No. 2 sports are crucial. A team can’t win the crown without the bye day.

(After the jump: Will Penn State make the NCAA tournament, Nick Schilkey is underrated and who’s better – Wisconsin or Minnesota?) (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 3

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

The Wolverines and Buckeyes face off in another installment of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry (I’ve been told it’s a big deal, but can’t confirm yet). The Spartans are playing Wisconsin, leaving the best matchup of the weekend the series between Minnesota and Penn State.

The Badgers are close to creeping inside the Pairwise bubble while Ohio State is sliding out, so the Buckeyes really can’t afford to lose to a struggling Michigan team. The Badgers and Gophers, bitter rivals till the end, are locked in a tie for first place. Penn State is third and Ohio State is fourth, but the Buckeyes aren’t too far out.

Ohio State captain Nick Schilkey still has not played since Jan. 14. I asked Steve Rohlik if there was an update on him after Saturday’s game and Rohlik said there was none. Tanner Laczynski returned, though, and Rohlik said he’s doing better.

Hobey Baker nominees were released this week. Grant Besse, Jake Bischoff, Peyton Jones, Justin Kloos, Luke Kunin, Nick Schilkey, Tyler Sheehy and Denis Smirnov were nominated. Penn State’s David Goodwin was also named a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian award.

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 1

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Another weekend of the season passed, bringing us closer to the end. The Gophers split the last-ever North Star College Cup, falling to Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 and beating Bemidji State 4-0. Penn State lost to Princeton, while Wisconsin swept Ohio State.

The Pairwise have shifted quite a bit. Unsurprisingly Penn State has dropped to fifth, while Ohio State has fallen to 16th. The Badgers are creeping up and now sit at 18. Minnesota is seventh. In the Big Ten Wisconsin now is tied for first place with Minnesota. Penn State is two points behind, while Ohio State is back by five points. It looks like Michigan and Michigan State, while not mathematically eliminated, most likely won’t get a bye.

Over the past few years the bye day has been huge because teams needed to win the tournament to get into NCAAs, but this year it looks like at least a couple teams will be high up enough for an at-large bid.

Tanner Laczynski returned for Ohio State but Nick Schilkey is still out. The Buckeyes have still been playing well, and it’s a testament to them they’ve won without their top scorer. Speaking of the Buckeyes, Josh Healey was suspended for Friday’s game against Michigan for making a hit he wasn’t supposed to on Saturday. In that game Grant Besse was also hurt and didn’t return. After the game Tony Granato said Besse was sore so the trainers didn’t want him to come back.

(After the jump The Badgers are on fire, Who’s going to make the NCAA tournament and Penn State is going to struggle)

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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Jan. 26

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Michigan and Michigan State will be on break this week, leaving Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Minnesota in action. Penn State will play Princeton while the Gophers will compete in the last-ever North Star College Cup.

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Jan. 23

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

It was an okay weekend in the Big Ten, but it didn’t really teach us anything new. Michigan State had a good weekend against the Wolverines, posting a win and a tie. Ohio State took five of six points at Penn State in the same manner (with a shootout win) while Minnesota and Wisconsin split at the Kohl Center.

The results did have a pretty big impact on the Pairwise, which is going to fluctuate a lot between now and the end of the season. Penn State dropped from first to fourth because of its loss, while the Buckeyes jumped up to eighth because of the win. Even after losing to Wisconsin, Minnesota has nestled itself in at seventh. The Gophers also have the lead in the conference, but it’s a two-point margin over Penn State. The Buckeyes are seven points out of first place and the Badgers (which I’m not surprised about) are six points out.

The Spartans had their three goals spaced out amongst all three periods in Friday’s win. Ed Minney made all 24 stops for his shutout, while Jack Lafontaine started for Michigan. The Wolverines countered with Zach Nagelvoort on Saturday, continuing the weird rotation they have in place, and he made 23 stops.

On Friday the Gophers had the 2-0 lead going into the second. The Badgers tied it in the middle frame but the Gophers took a 3-2 lead. Freshman Trent Frederic tied it in the third period, but Justin Kloos won it in OT. Eric Schierhorn and Jack Berry started. Matt Jurusik started the next night and had 32 saves (the same as Shcieirhorn) as the Badgers won 5-3.

So as it stands now, here’s the Pairwise:

4. Penn State
7. Minnesota
8. Ohio State

And here’s the conference standings:

1. Minnesota
2. Penn State
3. Wisconsin
4. Ohio State
5. Michigan
6. Michigan State

(After the jump: Why Penn State lost, Wisconsin will contend and is Michigan State really progressing)

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Weekend Preview: Big Ten: Jan. 20

Friday, January 20th, 2017

All six teams are in action this weekend. It’s the first edition of this year’s border battle and an early rematch of Penn State-Ohio State. In the other series Michigan and Michigan State face off again for the first time since the Great Lakes Invitational.

In the Pairwise there are three teams currently sitting inside the bubble – Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State. The Nittany Lions are almost a lock for the tournament, Minnesota is kind of towards the middle but the Buckeyes are in danger of dropping out.

Thwo teams are tied for first in the conference – Penn State and Minnesota. The Gophers are six points behind, while Ohio State is fourth and nine points out of first.

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Jan. 16

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

The weekend of Big Ten/non-conference play featured two and a half sweeps. The only half sweep came in non-conference competition as Ohio State defeated and then tied Arizona State. It was not the best game for the Buckeyes, who did lose in the meaningless shootout. The Gophers swept Michigan while Penn State swept Michigan State..

Penn State is still No. 1 in the Pairwise and it would probably take a lot (maybe losing every remaining game) to knock them out of the tournament. The Buckeyes, however, are on the bubble and they’ve dropped down to No. 13. The Gophers and Nittany Lions are tied for the Big Ten lead with 15 points each. Wisconsin is third with nine.

Per Scarlet & Grey Radio’s Miles McQuinn, OSU’s leading scorer Nick Schilkey is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He was hurt in Saturday’s tie against Arizona State. The Gophers announced that Tommy Novak is out for the rest of the season.

(After the jump: The inconsistency returns, a Pairwise update/NCAA tournament outlook and a national scoring update)

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Weekend Preview: Big Ten Dec. 12

Friday, January 13th, 2017

This weekend again there are two Big Ten series with Michigan State traveling to Penn State and the Gophers hosting the Wolverines. Wisconsin has a bye week while Ohio State will host Arizona State.

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Jan. 9

Monday, January 9th, 2017

The second half of the season officially began and the four games this weekend were not very surprising. Wisconsin swept Michigan State while Penn State and Ohio State split. a bunch of NCAA players, including a few from the Big Ten, secured gold at the World Juniors on Thursday and then returned home – although they did not play on Friday (understandably). The Wolverines, who were off, held their alumni game against Red Wings alumni to benefit Scott Matzka, who has ALS.

The Gophers, who were also off, are tied for first with Penn State and Wisconsin, who all have nine points. Ohio State is fourth with six points (remember, regulation and overtime wins count for three points) and Michigan is fifth with three. The Spartans still have no conference points, and each team has played four Big Ten contests.

Luke Kunin, after captaining America to gold, was back in Wisconsin to watch the Badgers win 5-1 over the Spartans. On Saturday Kunin helped the Badgers win 5-1 after potting two goals. Matt Jurusik returned from his injury on the same day and stopped 20 shots. Michigan State’s Ed Minney made 61 saves over the weekend.

Tanner Laczynski was another World Junior gold medalist, although he didn’t play for the Buckeyes over the weekend. Ohio State won 3-0 on Friday and then fell 4-2 with a last-minute comeback attempt failing. Without one of their leading scorers, Ohio State got five goals from three different players while Christian Frey made 46 saves in the win and 39 saves in the loss. Peyton Jones stopped 24 in the win and 18 in the loss. While freshman Denis Smirnov was kept from scoring, his assist on Saturday gave him 28 points – a new program record for points in a single season by a freshman.

Michigan’s Joe Cecconi and Minnesota’s Ryan Lindgren also came home with gold, although both their teams were off.

(After the jump: What this means for Penn State, the problem for Ed Minney and what Wisconsin’s offense should be)

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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Jan. 6

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Conference play, and the official second half of the season, starts this year. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State are in action, while Michigan and Minnesota are off and will resume next weekend when they face each other. Currently

Luke Kunin, Joe Cecconi, Ryan Lindgren and Tanner Laczynski all spent the last week-plus at World Juniors. They should be back in time for the weekend, but some players are still question marks for this weekend.

This seems to be, again, the year of scoring for the Big Ten. Four Big Ten teams are in the to 15 in scoring – Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. I think this year, like last year, the offensive production is a mix of talent and of poor defense and goaltending.

Last year’s theme was how weak and inconsistent the conference was, and so far it looks like more inconsistency as the second half of the season begins. But we’ll see. Before I go, though, here’s my “revised” Big Ten prediction:

1. Ohio State
2. Minnesota
3. Wisconsin
4. Penn State
5. Michigan
6. Michigan State

(more…)