Pickin’ the Big Ten: Jan. 9-10

Everyone plays this week, but Michigan State plays the Under-18 Team in exhibition Friday night at 7:00 p.m.

First, Drew Claussen and I have some picks numbers for you.

Last week
Drew: 1-6-1 (.188)
Paula: 3-4-1 (.438)

Drew: 47-42-5 (.527)
Paula: 35-53-6 (.404)

This week

There are two Big Ten tilts and Wisconsin hosts Boston University.

Boston University at Wisconsin

Drew: I saw a funny Tweet last weekend that suggested that Michigan Tech should be knocked out of the NCAA Tournament discussion for losing to Wisconsin. While I don’t believe the Badgers are that bad, if Boston University is a legitimate title contender, then the Terriers should easily pick up two wins this weekend. Joel Rumpel will have to do something pretty amazing for a different result to happen, and I don’t see that happening.

Paula: The Terriers began the year with a 3-3 tie against Union Jan. 3, a game in which they came from behind twice. BU and UW last met Oct. 19, 2013, a 7-3 home win for the Terriers. Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor made 40 saves in that contest. This is the first time that BU has traveled to play in Madison since 1989. Games begin at 7:00 p.m. each night and are carried by The Wisconsin Channel.

Drew’s picks: Boston University 5-0, 6-1.
Paula’s picks: BU 5-1, 2-1.

Minnesota at Michigan

Drew: I think that this is the weekend where we will really find out what the Gophers are made of. The players from the World Juniors are back and Brady Skjei should return from his injury. There’s no excuse for Minnesota not to show up this weekend. Minnesota is in a slump (by the standards that the Gophers are held to) and have gone 3-4-1 in its last eight games. The Gophers also haven’t been great on the road so far this season, going 2-3-1.

Michigan, on the other hand, got hot at the end of the first half of the season and carried that momentum to the GLI after a couple weeks off. I don’t know how anyone can honestly say they weren’t impressed with the Wolverines winning the GLI considering the amount of talent they were missing. If Michigan can find some success against Minnesota this weekend, its schedule sets up for that success to continue even though on an extended road trip. The Wolverines will play one game against Ohio State at Columbus and two at Wisconsin before playing a neutral-site series with Michigan State.

I believe that the most probable outcome here is a split. Michigan is playing really well, but it’s hard to sweep the Gophers.

Paula: I think this is the weekend we see the stuff of which the Wolverines are made, frankly. Will this be the Michigan squad that loses by four goals? That wins by five or more? That just plays good, hard, consistent hockey? And has goaltender Steve Racine won the starting job? The Wolverines enter this weekend as the Great Lakes Invitational champs, while the Golden Gophers come to Yost Ice Arena having taken third place in the Mariucci Classic. This rivalry dates back to 1923, and according to Michigan records, the Gophers are 131-118-15 all-time against the Wolverines. Michigan is 65-48-7 at home against Minnesota, but the Gophers were 3-1-0 against the Wolverines last season, having swept Michigan in Minneapolis (Feb. 14-15) and split in Ann Arbor to end the regular season, a 3-2 overtime win and 6-2 loss (March 14-15). Friday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. and is carried by the Big Ten Network; Saturday’s game begins at 4:00 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Sports Detroit and Fox Sports North Plus.

Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-1, Michigan 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 3-2, 3-2.

Ohio State at Penn State

Drew: Penn State hit a bump in the road when it lost both games at the Three Rivers Classic, but the Nittany Lions will begin the second half of the season with six games in a row that will be played on their home ice. The Buckeyes’ month off seemed to do them well last weekend against Mercyhurst and it’ll be interesting if they’ll be able to get some confidence over from that series. Ohio State seems to be a team that can play with anyone but struggles with consistency, like a lot of teams. For Penn State, this is its chance to prove that the first half of the season wasn’t a mirage. If the Nittany Lions can win four or five of their six games against Ohio State, Michigan State and Northern Michigan, they’d prove to everyone that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Paula: Ohio State leads this series 3-2-0. The teams last met March 14-15, 2014, in Pegula Arena, splitting a pair of 4-2 games with the Buckeyes winning the first and the Nittany Lions taking the second. Ohio State swept Penn State at home last season, 5-1 and 5-2, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday’s contest starts at 3:00 p.m. Both games will be carried by American Sports Network.

Drew’s picks: Penn State 4-1, 3-3 tie.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, Penn State 3-2.


  1. Yeah last night Cornell had a goal that would have given them a 3-2 win disallowed because the light came on early… second time thats happened to us this year

  2. Dave…thanks for the kind words about UD’s pep band. I am an alumnus of UD (’79), and had the opportunity to play with the pep band this past weekend. I had a great time, and thoroughly enjoyed the games. Merrimack has great students, fans, and facilities, and I hope that I get the chance to return sometime in the near future. Go Warriors!!!

      • I was at the game, the Wisconsin goalie was wandering behind the net in OT – their player skated into their own goalie.  It was a good goal.  By the way, Wisconsin fans at the game were a bunch of idiots – getting out of their seats during play – we wait until a stoppage in play as not to interfere with other fans views.  Go Huskies! 

        • I am a badger fan and have season tickets.  it sucks they lost but i agree with Gary.  Badger fans do it at home too.  It is so annoying for them to walk through during the gameplay.  We even have signs outside the entrance to each tunnel that says “Tow wiat till stoppage”  i guess since we are the biggest drinking state, they cant read it.  

          • just watched the video too.  That could have went either way.  If it would have happened to MTU than they would have complained and the badgers would have said no penalty.  Some penalties(like this)  suck because one person is not going to like it.  It was a 50-50 call and unfortunately the ref made it 51-49 MTU.  Oh well i think the badgers are doing really well this year considering they are so young especially in the goalie area.

            Lets go bucky.

          • Gary, go back and watch the video, the MTU forwards plows Ramage into his goalie, that’s interference and the goal shouldn’t have counted. I am Badger fan by any stretch of the imagination but that was a brutal call.

        • whaa, whaa, whaa.  OMG, standing up during a hockey game…..before the whistle blows to stop play?  What has this world come to?  LOL….you can’t be serious..??  Sorry Gary, that is the weakest post I have ever seen on here…lol…but amusing.  At UND we don’t sit down unless the beer vendor needs to pass by…lol..j/k…:)  Come on, get up off your duff….this is college hockey buddy….:)

      • I saw it in person and watched the video a number of times.  Ramage collides with Pietila and falls into the goalie Peterson, who was horribly out of position!  Definitely not a check! 

  3. Gents, that trend wasn’t lost on me either — except that I saw it as victory for two CCHA teams rather than future WCHA teams.  :-D

    Interested to see what the young Gophers will do this season.


    • If two players are going for the puck and collide, is that automatically considered to be a check because one falls down.  Pietila never put a shoulder into Ramage, he didn’t step into Ramage, and he most certainly didn’t make any contact with Peterson.  Bottom line is Peterson put himself into a vulnerable position and Tech simply outplayed Wisconsin!   

  4. Let me get this straight, a future Big Ten Hockey school that has more than likely had more calls go their way though nepotism is complaining because the opposite happened once? Grow up. Good riddance.

  5. Goon, incidental contact with the goalie is fair game while he is out of the net. Despite that, the Wisconsin d-man hit his own goalie.
    The Tech forechecker was battling for the puck, engaged the Wisconsin D-man, the Wisconsin D turned and ran into his own goalie.  Not a brutal call, just a bad situation to get stuck in during the overtime for the Badgers.

  6. Drew – you predicted a 3-3 tie for the Saturday PSU – Ohio State game. I have never seen a tie predicted in these weekly columns before. If the game does end in a tie, is that a “win” for your year-to-date record against Paula?
    Also – how come you picked Penn State to win by 3 goals on Friday night but tie less than 24 hours later?

    • Another good question is that since it is a conference game, and a shoot-out ends the tie, is that a win for his record? Why predict a tie at all?

    • Assuming he picked the tie for NCAA. If there is a tie after the OT, the NCAA considers it a tie game. They do not count the Shoot Out as either a win or loss.


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