The first full weekend of Big Ten play isn’t quite yet over — Minnesota and Penn State have a game tonight — but let’s look at what we’ve learned from the last three days.
1. The WCHA still owns the CCHA.
I know that’s a personal filter, but I can’t help but think of Wisconsin’s sweep of Michigan this way. In reality, Wisconsin has found its collective feet after a rocky start to the 2013-14 season and the Wolverines apparently have forgotten how to score. The Badgers are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, averaging just over four goals per game in that span. Michigan has now lost four in a row with an average of 1.25 goals per game in those four, and the Wolverines haven’t scored more than two goals in Division I play since a 5-4 win over Ohio State Dec. 2. Wisconsin’s offense is now sixth in the country.
2. Don’t bet against the Spartans in the shootout.
For the second time this season, Michigan State earned the extra shootout point against a league opponent. After allowing three third-period goals in a 5-3 loss to Ohio State Friday night, the Spartans and Buckeyes tied, 1-1, Saturday and Michigan State prevailed in the sixth round of the subsequent shootout. In spite of OSU’s third-period outburst Friday, these two teams looked very evenly matched on the weekend.
Also, my partner-in-writing, Drew Claussen, looks like a genius. He called OSU to win and then called for the Saturday tie. He was feeling Ohio State. I’ll never doubt him again.
3. Perhaps Don Lucia is correct in stating that Minnesota is not so dominant.
I mean, they look pretty good to me, but the coach knows better than I do — and after seeing a two-goal lead against Penn State evaporate last night, I’m a bit of a believer. Minnesota outshot Penn State 45-30 and managed to win 3-2, with the Nittany Lions scoring late in the second and early-ish in the third period. Tonight’s game should be very interesting, indeed.