Wisconsin’s resilience, Penn State’s dominance, Michigan State’s Jake Hildebrand

With the first weekend of regular-season play in the books, the collective results of Big Ten teams isn’t much more encouraging than the league’s .466 nonconference win percentage record from 2014-15. The league was 1-3-3 on the weekend, with some bright spots from three teams, specifically.

1. Wisconsin’s resilience.

The Badgers came from behind twice to tie Northern Michigan in the season-opening home series. Junior Grant Besse scored in the final minute of regulation in Friday’s 2-2 game and Wisconsin overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period of Saturday’s 3-3 game with goals from sophomore Ryan Wagner, junior Jed Soleway and freshman Luke Kunin. Kunin’s goal was his first collegiate marker (obviously), but Wagner’s was just his third in 37 games. Wagner’s first goal came in his 22nd game last season.

The Badgers dropped the first eight games of the 2014-15 season. Two ties and the ability to come from behind are welcome developments.

2. Penn State’s dominance.

In their 6-1 win over the Canisius in Buffalo Saturday, five different Nittany Lions scored and junior Eamon McAdam turned away all shots but one for a .964 single-game save percentage. PSU dominated in shots (46) while keeping penalty minutes low (six). The Nittany Lions registered three power-play goals, including senior David Glen’s five-on-three marker midway through the second period, the first of his two goals in the game. PSU led 3-0 after the first and 5-0 after the second. Freshman Chase Berger netted his first collegiate goal in the first.

3. Michigan State’s Jake Hildebrand.

Before the season began, Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said that goaltender Jake Hildebrand simply needed to continue being Jake Hildebrand, which is what the goaltender who saw every game in the Spartans’ net in 2014-15 did in the IceBreaker tournament. The Spartans came from behind for a 3-3 tie in Friday’s game against Maine Friday night and beat Lake Superior State 4-1 on Saturday.

The Black Bears won Friday’s shootout to advance to the title game so MSU returns to East Lansing without hardware, but after a challenging first period against Maine Friday in which the Black Bears outshot the Spartans 13-7, Hildebrand was rock solid and finished the weekend with a .932 save percentage and 1.94 GAA.

MSU freshman defenseman Zach Osburn scored his first two collegiate goals Friday night, both on the power play; his second tally was the goal that tied the score with an extra attacker and 1:09 remaining in regulation. Four of the Spartans’ seven goals in both contests came on the power play.


  1. Clarkson also managed to go 10-0-1 in league play in the 2007-2008 campaign, and very nearly were undefeated at home overall. Their record was 15-1-1. Their lone loss being a tough one to the always dangerous St. Cloud State. That was a good year to be at ‘Tech… Man, I miss Leggio!

  2. Amazed you still have RPI so high. Feb has not been good for them. They are looking at serious trouble w/ Colgate. Then, if they happen to make it through that, down to Lynah. I don’t see RPI making it to AC and if they don’t make it to AC, PWR or not, they don’t belong in the NCAAs.

  3. GO NITS !
    1 and 0 is a good way to start. Will be in attendance Friday when PSU takes on Notre Dame at the Pegula Arena. Looking forward to it.

  4. Okay. Having trouble with the math. Jake gives up 4 goals in 2 games. That should be a gaa of 2.0. But Paula has him at 1.94 gaa. No empty netters for either Maine or LSSU. So, how come the difference?

    Despite the mats problem, good to see a no loss week-end (although loosing the shoot out to Maine feels like a loss). Now on to DU.

    • Because he didn’t play the full minutes during the game. They take into account when goalies leave for an extra-attacker or to leave the net empty during a delayed penalty.

    • Decatur, GAA is determined by minutes played, and due to overtime your tender has played 123+ minutes, or slightly more than two 60 minute games. Hence the avg slightly under 2.0

  5. Let’s talk math again. Lead-in says conference was 1-3-3. Penn State won, Michigan St. won. That’s two wins. Actually don’t see any losses from three series mentioned above, I see 2-0-3?

  6. Candace, In my opinion WMU has a decent chance to sweep Miami. They are no longer the slow, plodding, bruising team they were the last couple of years. The Broncos have excellent speed and quickness up and down their lineup. If they can get a couple of players to step up and finish their scoring chances,they will finish in the top half of our conference, and get a home series in the NCHC playoffs.

    • WMU does have a chance at a sweep, but I think Miami has played a lot better than people expected this early in the season, and you know as well as I how hard sweeps are in the NCHC.

        • Nope. And you saw them play, what, one series? They got swept against the only decent team they have played. I am sure you think that the Pios are a top 5 team, but I don’t. Once WMU beats a good team, get back to me.

          • Hey PeeWee, do you consider Miami a “good” team? If not, try naming a “good” team. Where did I every say the Pios are a top 5 team? Not only are you ignorant enough to knock a team you have never seen and know nothing about, but you also try to put words in my mouth.

          • No. Miami isnt a good team. And i didnt claim you said anything. I said “I am sure you think”. Because I havent seen them play, I know nothing about them? I know their roster. They stunk last year and lost their goalies and their best player. Until i have evidence to the contrary i am going to assume they still stink.

          • So now you are a mind reader, must be a real curse to have your skills. Please name a “good” team. Is every team they beat not going to be what you consider a “good” team? Like I stated to Candace, WMU is an entirely different team from the last couple of years. This year, they have as much team speed and quickness as any team in our league. Before you ask how I came to that conclusion, I have actually seen most of the NCHC games this year. Contrary to you, I am not “assuming” anything.

          • Yes it is.
            Don’t care what you said to Candace.
            No they don’t.
            Don’t care.

            WMU is not better than North Dakota, Duluth, St Cloud or Denver. Therefore they will not finish ahead of those teams.

  7. You were right du fan. WeStern swept them convincingly, looking for a 4th place finish in nchc as this teams power play and kill are phenomenal.


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