Three things from the weekend in the B1G

The second-to-last weekend of Big Ten play is in the books and the only thing we know for certain is that the last weekend is going to be drama-filled. Michigan State swept Wisconsin and now occupies the top spot in the conference standings. The distance between the first-place Spartans and fourth-place Penn State is three points.

Here’s how things played out this weekend:

  • Michigan State swept Wisconsin at home with two 3-0 victories
  • Minnesota and Ohio State split a series in Columbus. The Gophers won 4-2 on Friday and the Buckeyes won 5-2 on Saturday
  • Penn State swept Michigan by winning Friday’s game 6-4 and Saturday’s contest 4-3

Here are three things I saw this weekend:

1. Michigan State did what it was supposed to 

Two shutout victories against Wisconsin may not be something to brag about but with the parity in this conference the two victories are a feather in the Spartans’ cap heading into the final weekend.

It was a very workman-like performance for the Spartans, who scored three power-play goals this weekend. Jake Hildebrand had a relatively-easy-21 saves on Friday but was stellar in Saturday’s game and stopped 38 shots. His performance will more than likely net him the first-star award this week, unless it goes to his teammate Matt Berry and his three goal and one assist weekend.

This wins against Wisconsin this weekend also remind me of the missed opportunity that Michigan State had a couple weeks ago when it dropped Friday’s game against the Badgers at the Kohl Center 2-1. Had the Spartans found a way to pick up three points in that game they’d be in a very comfortable spot heading into the final weekend.

2. The curious case of Michigan

At this point I feel like picking Michigan games with a coin flip might yield better results than actually trying to figure out what kind of effort you will get from the team.

Now I’m not trying to take anything away from Penn State, the Nittany Lions are an extremely tough team to play especially when they’re at home, but Michigan not being able to at least put together one complete effort this weekend is kind of ridiculous. We saw the defense that struggled to stop anything on Friday night and an offense that, outside of one player, couldn’t get anything going on Saturday.

The losses dropped Michigan’s road record to 4-10.  The Wolverines and Spartans will play a home-and-home series next weekend.

3. The standings 

Here’s what the standings currently look like with two games remaining:

1. Michigan State — 34 points
2. Michigan — 33
2. Minnesota — 33
4. Penn State — 31
5. Oho State — 21
6. Wisconsin — 10

Minnesota will host Penn State at home to close out the regular season. Like I mentioned before, Michigan and Michigan State will play a home-and-home series and Wisconsin hosts Ohio State.

I picked Minnesota to win the league during the preseason and expected the Gophers to have things wrapped up by the last weekend. Paula and I will, of course, reveal our revised predictions in Friday’s picks blog.

Spoiler: Mine hasn’t changed.


  1. Let me know when UMO finally defeats a .500 team or above on the road, which hasn’t been the case since 2009-10.  Next up is top ranked BC.  You do the math ;)

    • Wow – considering UME (not UMO- that’s the University of Missouri) has only played 2 games on the road so far this season (North Dakota) – it sure seems like you have the bar set a bit high for them – especially during the first week of November.  Let’s allow them to play more than 2 games on the road before we make any assumptions about their season.  Sounds to me like somewhere in the past, Maine has beaten your team in a game that counted, and you can’t let go of the pain.

    • I guess that North Dakota team that beat BC 6-2 and were everything but outscored two nights in a row by Maine isn’t very good. 

      • Hey Bruce, it was actually Boston College that beat the North Dakota Fighting Sioux by the score of 6 to 2 at the Ice Breaker Tournament  played in Grand Forks. But, most hockey folks know to fear the Black Bears. Friday’s game should be a good test for both teams.

  2. No, I was referring to all those times they beat teams like BC, and basically everyone else on their schedule.  That is part of the reason they are ranked 7th without having beaten “anyone good yet” this season.

  3. UMO is not a good team – just look at the goals they gave up to Providence, at home:  a short-handed goal, rebound goal, a 2 on 1 breakaway.  Their goals, on the other hand, are not goals that better teams like BC, BU and UNH are going to give up.  This weekend will put Maine right where they belong –

  4. Looking at the Lowell River Hawks on Friday night, I was impressed. With a rookie coach and all those Freshmen, they played with passion and a sense of purpose. I think they will have some surprising wins this season. One of the goalies will emerge.

  5. The title of ther article should be 4 Things….. number 4 is “Wisconsin still sucks!” No further explanation needed.

  6. How can you win game when two goals, which both times goalies did not hold position, were disqualified without any hockey reasoning? Penn st is not playing a hockey that we know of, period. two players waiting for offside formation that officials overlook. shooting 60 shots per game, which I don’t have to mention as to why they do. Michigan simply did not adjust to the game that they should have to win, which is good for the players who will go to NHL. Nothing to take away from Penn st? They were unnecessarily physical which BIG usually calls foul. Some unintelligent analysts call them blue collar. I see them recklessly aggressive hockey team that does not have a future in next level, with refs who are worse then midget hockey refs. I don’t know where is penn st’s obsession with Michigan is comming from but this chant of penn st being good should be stopped. It is annoying as a hockey fan.
    As for NCAA tournament, only Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin deserves to represent BIG, with their OOC strength of schedule, Wisconsin better win tournament, which is unlikely. Only good game that Minnesota played and win were at their oversized rink. Michigan…. well… good luck with that goaltenders.

  7. Michigan is done. I doubt they have an at-large chance left other than maybe sweeping MSU and making the B1G title game. Likely going to be B1G tournament title or bust for them

  8. Well, credit where credit is due. Six, four even two weeks ago I would not have thought MSU being in first place was even remotely possible. But, when you have a tender that keeps throwing shutouts, good things can happen. Hildebrand for player of the week. I will say that the Badgers put up a good fight Saturday night. Friday not so much. Saturday was a tough game. I was just looking at old CCHA records: Last MSU regular season championship was 2001. Last CCHA tournament championship was 2006. I think to make the dance, MSU needs to win out. Including the tourney.
    So lets take it to the Weasels this week-end.
    Go Green!
    P.S. I still do not care for Anastos.

    • MSU has come a long way from their slow start this season. Your rants against them have tamed considerably, despite your feelings about Anastos. It helps that this a down year for the B1G, but being in first place with a week to go is something I’m sure you never saw coming earlier in the year. Good luck against MI as I’ll be rooting for a Gopher’s sweep and possible second straight conference championship.

      • Rants? I don’t rant. nope, never, never, never rant about how much I don’t care for Tommy (can you hear me) Anastos…… Rant, me? never………. Fiddle sticks. Me rant……..

        Here’s a question for the group: What constitutes a down year? Poor non-conference records coupled with average conference records? Could we have a season, where all B10 teams do very, very well in Non-con. play and then be just a game or two above/below .500 and call that a down season. I’m not convinced this is really a ‘Down Season’. Given the histories of MSU, Minny, Wisco and um, it is possible that we could have a champion with just above .500 conference record on a regular basis.

        • I would tend to agree with this point Decatur. With a 6 team league and 4 traditional hockey schools with rich histories, I think we will see a lot more close conference races right around/above .500 then we would with say the old WCHA/CCHA there aren’t enough poor teams to bank points on. I like the parity in the league but wish there was more of a variety in scheduling. Basically all the SOS and Power Rankings are gonna be won in the Non Conference in the B1G until Penn can truly establish themselves, (made a good stride this year) and OSU figures out how to consistently play.

          • Good point on the SOS and Pairwise. Need to spread out the B10 season thru the entire season. Wouldn’t hurt to have some tough non-con games in January and February to help the Pairwise. The B10 though, has always done it this way. Whether it is FB, BB, Volleyball etc. Time to change up the B10.

  9. The B1G is really going to have to try to find a couple more teams to add to the league (Miami of Ohio, and North Dakota) and they should try and get a couple of the B1G schools to add hockey, The University of Illinois had a good club team this past year . They are just beating each other up every weekend. Plus there going to have to really look at there Non-Conference games, and play more of them on the road to earn extra points.


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