Another light weekend in terms of conference games this weekend in the Big Ten. The two conference series both produced sweeps. Here are three things that I saw this weekend.
1. Gophers beat Buckeyes outside
Minnesota’s second time playing in the Hockey City Classic was better than its first. The Gophers defeated Ohio State 1-0 on Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium (the University of Minnesota’s football stadium).
You could really count number of solid scoring opportunities from both teams in the game on one hand. Minnesota scored the game’s lone goal when Taylor Cammarata’s shot stopped on the goal line and was knocked in by Ohio State’s goaltender.
Gophers’ head coach Don Lucia said that the game played out as he expected, even though Minnesota and Ohio State have high-scoring offenses. It was clear that the outdoor ice made playmaking difficult for both teams.
After the game, coaches and players for both teams focused on how thankful they were for the opportunity to play in the game and in front of 45,021 spectators.
“It was pretty surreal walking out there tonight,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said. “There was a full moon above the stadium with a little haze. It was pretty special to be a part of it; certainly on behalf of the Ohio State University, we’re pretty thankful to be apart of this.”
2. Minnesota completes the sweep inside
Offense was hard to come by on Friday night, Sam Warning quickly made up for it during Saturday’s game played on Mariucci Arena’s large ice sheet.
The junior recorded a natural hat trick in Minnesota’s 4-2 victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday. Warning netted his first goal 30 seconds after Ohio State took a 2-0 lead in the first period, which was key according to Minnesota captain Nate Condon.
“Anytime you get it back on your side like that and take the wind out of their sails, it’s huge,” Nate Condon said. “We did a good job responding there with that goal.”
Lucia moved warning onto a line with the speedy Condon and freshmen Justin Kloos a couple weeks ago, his natural hat trick was Minnesota’s first since 2010.
“We just tried to get behind their [defense], and get pucks low,” Warning said. “I think our speed took advantage of their [defense] this weekend.”
3. Michigan State rebounds against Penn State
After only picking up one out a possible six points last weekend against Ohio State, the Spartans picked up a much needed conference sweep against cellar dweller Penn State.
Michigan State blanked the Nittany Lions 3-0 on Friday and eked out a 3-2 win on Saturday.
Penn State tied Saturday’s game at two early in the third period, but Lee Reimer quickly scored Michigan State’s game-winning goal two minutes later.
“We talked right after they scored about taking the momentum back, and fortunately we were able to do so,” Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos.
The wins this weekend pushed Michigan State to third in the Big Ten with 10 points. The Spartans are four points ahead of Michigan and two behind Wisconsin.