Three things from the split-filled weekend in the B1G

Greetings from the frozen tundra of Southern Minnesota. It was a perfect weekend to stay inside and watch some college hockey. All six Big Ten teams were in action against each other and the weekend produced some competitive games.

Here’s how things panned out:

  • Minnesota and Penn Split a series in Happy Valley
  • Michigan State and Wisconsin split a series at the Kohl Center
  • Michigan and Ohio State split a home-and-home, Friday/Sunday series
  • Note: None of the games went to a shootout, so each team picked up three conference points this weekend

Without further ado, here are my three thoughts from the weekend:

1. Right back where we started

With Minnesota being the only team near the top of the standings to pick up a win on Friday night, this weekend started out with the potential for the Gophers to pull away from the rest of the pack. However, the Gophers losing the Penn State in overtime on Saturday and Michigan and Michigan State rebounding to get series splits means we still have a tie for first and second in the conference standings.

The Gophers picked up a 2-1 victory at Penn State on Friday, but the Gophers struggled during Saturday’s game, despite controlling for a large portion of it. Penn State was very opportunistic on Saturday. Scott Conway scored two highlight-reel goals (both included in this video), which were the second and third scores of the game for the Nittany Lions. Eric Scheid also deserves a lot of credit for helping to set up Conway’s second goal.

Luke Juha ended up ending the game when he snuck a wrist shot from the point past Adam Wilcox a little more than two minutes into overtime. Wilcox had 29 saves in the game, including a couple late in the third that kept the game within striking distance for Sam Warning to tie it in the final minute.

All in all, Saturday’s loss was obviously a disappointing one for the Gophers. It’s hard not to ponder what could have been. Sweeping a team that started the weekend two points behind you while the other two teams near the top of the standings dropped points to the league’s bottom feeders would have provided Minnesota with a small cushion for the final couple weeks.

2. No easy games 

Speaking of the bottom feeders, Ohio State and Wisconsin proved that they’ll still have a say in who wins the regular-season title, even if neither have a chance of capturing the crown for themselves.

The Buckeyes and Badgers made things tough for Michigan and Michigan State on Friday. Wisconsin beat the Spartans 2-1 and Ohio State beat the Wolverines 5-3.

It was another chapter in the roller-coaster season for Michigan. Even though they responded with a win on Sunday, the Wolverines have struggled the past couple weekends.

Minnesota has two games left with Ohio State and Michigan has two with Wisconsin, so it’ll be interesting to watch and see if the Buckeyes and Badgers are able to play spoiler again down the stretch.

3. Quick rule refresher

As I documented earlier, we have ties for first and second place in the Big Ten. Just in case the season ends with a tie, here’s a quick look at how the Big Ten handles tiebreakers.

“Seeding for the Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament shall be determined by points accumulated in conference games. Points in the regular season Big Ten standings will be awarded as follows: three points for a regulation or overtime win, two points for a shootout win, one point for a shootout loss and no points for a regulation or overtime loss.

a) Seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by the greater number of Big Ten regular-season wins;

b) If not determined by (a), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by the team with the best regular-season winning percentage against the other co-champion(s);

c) If not determined by (a) or (b), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by comparison of total goals for and against each team in contests between (among) co-champion(s) in conference games. For sake of clarity, a team’s goals-against shall be subtracted from its goals-for in order to compare;

d) If not determined by (a) or (b) or (c), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by comparison of the winning percentages of the co-champions against the remaining highest ranked Big Ten teams in conference games, successively, until the determination is accomplished or all Big Ten regular-season contests have been considered;

e) If not determined by (a) or (b) or (c) or (d), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by the flip of a coin.

In the case of ties among three or more schools, the criteria will be used in order until a team, or teams, is separated from the pack. At that point, the process will begin anew to break the “new” tie. In other words, when a four-way tie becomes a three-way tie, the three-way tie is treated as a “new” tie and the process begins with the first tie-breaking criterion.

Note: Shootout wins shall not count as regular-season wins for the purpose of breaking ties in the standings for tournament seeding.  Games that go to shootout will be considered a tie game and treated as such in calculating winning percentages.”

Source — bigten.com

Here’s to hoping that it never comes down to a coin flip.

18 COMMENTS

  1. That zebra in Saturdays MN Penn state game should be slapped if you are going to call a weak penalty like the one in ot you should call the 25 missed penalties before that one. Just glad to see a zebra stay consistent and help decide the outcome of what was a dam good game.

    • That was absolutely the most embarassing call I have seen in a game in a long long time. Elbowing? You don’t call that in regulation let alone in OT! That was one of the better games this weekend and to see it end like that after gophers came back was absolutely disgusting.

    • I think a majority of people would/should have an issue with the call for one of two reasons. Personally, I didn’t like it because the refs had swallowed the whistled for most of the 3rd period (one penalty called on an obvious trip that negated a scoring chance). If the officials are going to let basically everything go in the 3rd, you shouldn’t be making a call like that because it didn’t impact a scoring chance and it was not an obvious, heinous infraction.

      The 2nd reason would be that you think the call was just simply weak. In my opinion, it was a call that could be made, but should not have been made based on how the rest of the game had been officiated.

  2. I’m not sure I share Drew’s doom and gloom position on the Gophers this weekend. Yes, it certainly was a somewhat disappointing loss on Saturday, but given where this team was six weeks ago I will consider going from thirteenth in the PWR to a tie for tenth a successful weekend. I guess at this point I’m not concerned so much with winning the conference title as I am with getting the NCAA bid without having to win the big ten tourney. Winning the big ten title is not the ultimate goal.

    • I agree Jay. On the whole, Minnesota played pretty well throughout the weekend. They struggled quite a bit defensively in the 1st period on Saturday, at least some of which was due to Penn St. playing well no doubt. However, the disappointment for me came in the number of times the Gophers created good to great scoring chances only to miss the net. Penn St. blocked a ton of shots too, which only adds to the unfortunate irony that they won in OT on a seeing eye shot that seemingly no Gopher tried to block…Oh well, the Gophers went on the road to a tough place to play and didn’t lose any ground in the B1G standings. Most importantly, as you said, they moved up in the PWR.

  3. Decatur, barely a word on MSU Ice Hockey; under the radar and that is where we need to be. Two plus years ago Anastos puts a freshman goalie in during a 10-1 loss to Minney. We get three…

    • Morning Noke. Under the radar, that’s fine. Very disappointment in Fridays game. Hildebrand got left to twist in the wind on those goals against. And the 2-3 posts or crossbars the boys hit. Had to listen via internet stream Saturday. Sounded strong. I’d like 6 this week. Settle for three though. Jake for B10 POY!

  4. Not happy with State’s split in WI but this team has almost no room for error at any time in any game.

    Since M split against OSU I am expecting them to be ranked higher this week in the polls. /sarcasm

      • Maybe spoil the weekend but I doubt they spoil anyone’s season. The B1G has been so disappointing this year that it should hardly come as a shock to any team to lose on any given night in any given arena.

        • Well, if they spoil MSU’s week-end, they spoil the season because without a B10 tourney title, MSU isn’t getting anywhere near the Tournament.

  5. If it weren’t for the Gophers solid month in February, I probably wouldn’t have anything good to say on this forum, last weekend proved there is no dominant program in the B1G THIS YEAR.
    I’m not a Minnesota fan, but I sure hope they win the conference and the tournament because no other team here deserves an at large bid at this point.
    Also, Minnesota is probably the only team capable of making any kind of postseason run with their lineup.

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