Four out of the five Big Ten teams in action last weekend enjoyed playing another round of non conference games at home — all five enjoyed some success, going a combined 7-1-1 .
Here are three things I saw.
1. Wisconsin rebounds against Lake Superior State
The Badgers’ losses to Boston College and Boston University kind of got a lot of press, and it didn’t help that Wisconsin had to wait two weeks before taking the ice again. A solid win and tie against a Lake Superior State squad that was undefeated heading into the weekend was a great way to respond.
The Badgers’ 3-3 tie against the Lakers on Friday night may have been more impressive than their 8-1 win on Saturday night. Wisconsin fell behind 3-0 in the first period on Friday, but fought back with a goal late in the first and two goals by Tyler Barnes in the third period.
“Well we were hoping for a different start. As a matter of fact, it felt like we were in Boston again,” Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said. “It felt like holy-smokes we still haven’t got the demons from Boston out of our system yet.”
Barnes’ game-tying goal came late in the third with Wisconsin’s net vacant, albeit for only eight seconds.
“This is exactly what we needed for our guys,” Eaves said. “This is the kind of game to get some sound feedback that says we are a pretty good team that overcame some adversity.”
Wisconsin picked up right where it left off on Saturday. The Badgers had a 4-1 lead after two periods on Saturday night, and then netted four more goals in the third. Wisconsin got 44 shots on goal Saturday night, compared to the Lakers’ 22.
Landon Peterson started both games for Wisconsin, he gave up four goals on 47 shots.
2. Penn State gets five goals from five players
Penn State picked up its second win of the season against Robert Morris Friday, and it was a team effort.
The Nittany Lions got goals from Eric Scheid, Luke Juha, Tommy Olczyk, Casey Bailey and Mike Williamson in Friday night’s 5-4 win over the Colonials. Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said that the team moved the puck well during the game, just not necessarily on its scoring plays.
“We moved it around well in the first period and didn’t have anything to show for it,” Gadowsky said. “We got a couple power play goals in the off of a face off, and that’s part of it for sure, but it wasn’t the movement that got us the goals. Maybe it’s appropriate, because we did move the puck pretty well.”
Though he gave up four goals, goaltender Matthew Skoff was huge for Penn State with 48 saves.
“He’s a battler,” Gadowsky said. “And I think the team feels pretty confident with him back there, even when things are getting a little hairy.”
3. Ohio State splits with Minnesota-Duluth, continues hot streak
After starting the season 0-3, the Buckeyes have won four of their last five contests. Ohio State rebounded from a 3-1 loss with an impressive 4-2 win against Minnesota-Duluth at home on Saturday night.
“We played in spurts [Saturday night], but all in all I thought it was our best weekend of hockey this season,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. ”We can be a pretty good hockey team when we play a full 60 minutes.”
OSU was vastly outshot on Saturday, but freshman Matt Tomkins made 39 saves. Tomkins has a 4-3 record this season with a 3.04 GAA.
The Buckeyes have an opportunity to stretch their hot streak into something substantial. Their next two series are at home against Niagara (1-4-1) and Canisius (1-4).
Paula has the column this week, it’ll be posted Thursday morning.