Pickin’ the Big Ten: Oct. 22-24, 2015

In the first two weeks of the season, the Big Ten has struggled in nonconference play. This is how Drew Claussen and I are doing after the first two weeks.

Last week

Drew: 9-3-0 (.750)
Paula: 8-4-0 (.667)

Season

Drew: 12-4-4 (.700)
Paula: 10-6-4 (.600)

I will take the moral victory of having picked a Notre Dame-Penn State split, even though the Fighting Irish and Nittany Lions each won on the nights opposite of what I predicted.

This week

Everyone plays this week, starting with series that begins tonight between old CCHA foes, Lake Superior State and Michigan State.

Lake Superior State at Michigan State

Drew: It’s rare that we can look at a previous result for a nonconference series that’s from the same season, but with the Spartans and Lakers meeting at the IceBreaker Tournament we can do just that. MSU downed LSSU, 4-1, two weekends ago and will want a couple of similar results to help right the ship after getting swept at Denver last weekend. Sweeps are hard to get in college hockey, but I think the Spartans will get one this week.

Paula: The Lakers (1-3-0) split a series with Northern Michigan last weekend, losing 6-3 and winning 4-0; freshman goaltender Nick Kossoff made 19 saves in that shutout, his first collegiate start. The Spartans are 70-34-14 all-time against the Lakers, 37-11-6 over LSSU in Munn Ice Arena. Under Tom Anastos, the Spartans are 3-1 in home openers. MSU is still dealing with injuries. This is a Thursday-Friday series, each game begins at 7:00 p.m., and neither game is televised.

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

American International at Penn State

Drew: American International is 0-3 and is averaging more than six goals allowed per game. All three losses have come on the road so the Yellow Jackets are definitely road weary. It won’t get any easier playing at Penn State. I see the Nittany Lions sweeping.

Paula: The Nittany Lions are 1-1-0 all-time against the Yellow Jackets. PSU is averaging 5.00 goals per game; AIC is averaging 2.33 goals per game. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday’s game begins at 3:00 p.m.

Drew’s picks: Penn State 4-0, 5-2.
Paula’s picks: PSU 4-1, 4-1.

Michigan vs. Union and Rensselaer

Drew: Michigan looked okay last weekend against Mercyhurst, but I’m interested in seeing the improvement from Week One to Week Two. Scoring nine goals on the weekend was a good thing for the Wolverines; giving up six was not. I believe that Michigan is still the Big Ten’s best chance at having a team that is one of the top in the country, but if its inconsistency in net persists it will be destined to being a team ranked between 10-20 and fighting for a conference title. Even so, I think the Wolverines’ offense will be enough to carry them this weekend.

Paula: Michigan and Union have met once, Nov. 27, 2011, in Yost Ice Arena, a 6-3 win for the Dutchmen. Union is 2-0-2 after a low-scoring tie and win at home against Maine last weekend, 1-1 and 2-0. Like the Wolverines, the Dutchmen have two capable goaltenders; junior Alex Sakellaropoulos registered the tie last weekend, and freshman Jake Kupsky stopped 26 shots in the shutout, his first collegiate start. The Engineers are 1-3-0 after losses to both Alaska teams in the Gold Rush last weekend. RPI is 7-5-1 against Michigan, but the last meeting between the two squads came in the 2009 Great Lakes Invitational, a 4-3 RPI victory. Friday’s game at Union begins at 7:30 p.m. and is untelevised; Saturday’s 7:00 p.m. start at Rensselaer and will be carried by Time Warner Cable Sports in New York State.

Drew’s picks: Michigan 5-3, 4-3.
Paula’s picks: I’m with Drew. A lot depends on consistency in the Michigan net. Michigan 4-3, 4-3.

Northeastern at Minnesota

Drew: The good news for the Gophers is that they’re playing a team that is also struggling to score so far this season. The bad news is that Northeastern’s struggles have resulted in five goals in three games and Minnesota has only lit the lamp once. Both teams got swept last weekend. Minnesota fell to a highly ranked Minnesota-Duluth squad and the Huskies dropped two to Bentley. As I said in the blog last Sunday, this series will tell us a lot about the Gophers. If they get swept again there will be a sense of panic in Gopherland. I think a Minnesota sweep is more likely than a Northeastern one, but a split seems more likely.

Paula: The Gophers are 8-6-0 all-time against the Huskies, 7-2-0 in Minneapolis. Most recently, Northeastern beat Minnesota, 3-2, at home Nov. 29, 2014. I’m banking completely on freshman UMN goaltender Eric Schierhorn, and I will call a Minnesota sweep. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and is carried by Fox Sports North Plus; Saturday’s game starts at 8:00 p.m. and is televised by Fox Sports North.

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

Ohio State at Providence

Drew: I have had a soft spot for Ohio State since I started covering this conference and Steve Rohlik has always been one of the nicest coaches to talk to, so it’s tough to see the Buckeyes have a start that is this rough. The law of averages says that OSU will pick up a win sooner or later; it’s rare to see a team start 0-6, but it’s hard to pick anything but a Providence sweep this weekend. Ohio State hasn’t shown anything that points towards it being able to go on the road, play the No. 3 team in the nation, and win.

Paula: These teams opened the 2014-15 season against each other in Columbus, each coming away with overtime wins: OSU 5-4 (Oct. 10), Providence 2-1 (Oct. 11). Once again, there’s little more to add to what Drew has said. The Buckeyes are 0-4 — all four losses coming against their former Ohio foes, Bowling Green and Miami — and the 2-0-1 Friars defeated and tied Miami on the road Oct. 9-10 to open the current season. The games begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night, and each is televised by Ocean State Networks.

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

Wisconsin at Ferris State

Drew: It’s not the same as going over to Boston and playing at Boston College and Boston University, but going to Ferris State and winning is still a tall task. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Wisconsin was able to pick up a win this weekend, however. Matt Jurusik put in a strong goaltending performance against the Terriers, even though he did give up four goals, and I think he’ll carry the over to Friday and help the Badgers knock off the Bulldogs.

Paula: The Bulldogs are 1-2-1 after splitting at home last weekend against Michigan Tech. This is the first trip to Ewigleben Arena for the Badgers, but Wisconsin is 3-2-1 all-time versus Ferris State. The teams met last year in Madison, resulting in a 1-1 tie Nov. 28 and a 5-3 Wisconsin win Nov. 29 — the first two non-losses of the season for the Badgers in 2014-15. Games begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night, and neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 2-1, Ferris State 3-0.
Paula’s picks: FSU 3-1, 3-2.

52 COMMENTS

  1. If the Gophers sweep it’s because they played a weak St. Cloud team.. If they split it’s because the Gophers are overrated. Nonetheless, the Gophers will sweep.

      • Not paranoid, it’s reality. Read all the comments after a Gophers win on Star Tribune.com every Gopher hater says the Gophers only won because the team they played is down this year. It’s comical to listen to nation wide. Merrimack hasn’t won anything ever, and people are saying how great they are. It’s just reality when you’re a Gopher fan. You know what the comments will be before the outcome of the games.

        • So true. However, it seems to be that way in nearly every sport when rivals go at each other. I actually witnessed 2 men (and I use the term “men” loosely) get into an actual fight, in a sports bar, over the 2009 NCAA Nat’l Championship football game in which Alabama beat Texas. One of them was insisting that Texas would have won had Colt McCoy not gotten hurt. Of course, the Bama fan would have none of that. The sad part was that the Texas guy had one of his children with him, and of all places for this to happen, it was at a Buffalo Wild Wings in the Twin Cities. Also, at the 2002 Frozen Four in St. Paul, during the Championship game (which I was blessed to have tickets for), watched a guy in a North Dakota jersey get so upset when the Gophers won, that he actually started crying. However, with a bit over 2 minutes left, the Sioux fan was relentless in his taunting of nearby Gopher fans. I guess he got what he deserved.

          • Two years ago I went to a Gopher game in St. Cloud after the Huskies won and I was leaving fans were all over me. I mean they were in my ear saying the Huskies kicked your arse. I let it go 10 minutes, then I said stop yelling for a second. They asked why? I said i’ve been trying to count SCSU’s National Championship banners, but I keep losing my count at zero. Then it was silent.

          • No silence, it’s smarts. That’s the old joke North Dakota fans ask Wisconsin and Minnesota fans that question all the time and it gets passed down the line. Same as when Michigan asks North Dakota who has more Championships.

          • Dear Guest,

            You are a moron. Gopher football has more banners then Wisconsin and Penn St combined.. That means the Gophers are better right?

          • Dear Guest,

            Football has nothing to do with Hockey.. It’s called an analogy. Did you attend the prestigious educational institution known as the University of North Dakota? I thought they taught this. Oh well. Your degree in Underwater Basket Weaving will take you far in life when your living on your farm harvesting crops and bathing your best friend. A pig named “Suey”.

          • Really, because ya I graduated there and now live in Minneapolis and going to graduate  school so I dont think Ill be farming anytime soon.  Looks like my degree in psychology is doing me a little better than your degree in recreation and tourism..   still, your football analogys have no place here bud!  Keep to the subject

          • gopher fans are so gullible!!! lol   a reply of wins ( which UND will eventually take, even though it will take years because of the new conferences) but really wow. go sioux go north dakota!!!

          • Classic. As much as I love going to the games, I’ve never myself been one to taunt opposing fans. I’ll trash talk in fun, but I’ll never take it to a level where I feel the need to scream directly in someones face, or get into an altercation. Frankly, I’ve never understood that mentality. What really gets me are those who actually believe that the success of a team, be it college, pro or whatever,  somehow determines how great an academic institution the respective college is, or how wonderful the city and/or state is that they represent. I’ve never been able to figure out why people actually believe that to be the case. As if LSU is a better school than Stanford, or Oakland is a better place to live than Minneapolis, Denver or San Diego. To each his own I guess.

          • when the gophers barely swept the sioux a few weeks ago i was sad….but then i realized who had more championships and who had a more reliable fan base as well as the better hockey venue. In conclusion  every time i witness gophers enjoying themselves i don’t get angry, i simply congratulate them. maybe one day their program could stand in the same great spotlight as the great fighting sioux hockey program. 

        • word choice should be “paranoia” and the gophers are good just not great. if you want to win consistently in hockey now, you need out of state players  the potulny’s  and vanek  are why the gophers have been winners in the last 10 years.  from Europe and North Dakota   enough said. 

  2. It is the writers of these dumb articles that will give the goophs all the credit for everything. If they split, it will be because they gave one away, not that they sucked or something. And if they sweep, they will write that they are the greatest team ever. Im hoping, like everyone else, that the goophs actually play a caliber team and show their true colors. Its a long season, and eventually they will start to fall apart. There are much better teams around college hockey

    • It’s the writers? You just stated you hope the Gophers play a caliber team. What about Duluth who the Gophers swept in Duluth?  They haven’t lost since being swept by the Gophers and the only other team to beat UMD is Notre Dame. This is what us Gopher fans are talking about.

    • First off, given that the schedule is predetermined, how can you say they have not played a “caliber” team?? UMD and North Dakota are not “caliber” teams??
      It isn’t up to the U of Minnesota when they schedule them, or when a team gets hot. What are they supposed to do, wait until UMD or No. Dak is playing their best hockey and somehow alter the schedule to accommodate the naysayers??
      Besides, when Minnesota plays the likes of North Dakota, Wisconsin or UMD, it doesn’t really matter what the teams records are, they are RIVALS and will play each other accordingly.
      So, just WHO are the better teams around college hockey…in your opinion of course?? gigg

      • Its not up to the U of M when/where they schedule teams?   That might be the dumbest thing Ive heard from a goofer thus far this season!  So who makes the schedule then?  the NCAA no,   hmmm   could be the athletic director from the U and dont think for a second that the coach has no input on when and where to schedule these games.

        • You’re really showing how little you know. The schedules are made 3 years in advance. The point is, 3 years ago Sacred Heart and Vermont had good teams, the Gophers scheduled them as opponents. Now 3 years later Sacred Heart and Vermont don’t,what are you suppose to do cancel the games? Here’s a tip no what you’re talking about before you posts, especially when it’s national.

          • Love all the Gopher haters. Especially the ones who probably have trouble even tying their own shoes. GO GOPHERS !

          • Sorry dont have to time to be on here twenty five times a day like you to clarify things but here is what I was commenting on you dink.  Sandman says “It isn’t up to the U of Minnesota when they schedule them.  I begged to differ saying that he was a moron for saying that when in fact prestigious schools usually do have the upper hand in when and where they schedule games.  Your not just going to get the Sioux to go play on the road at some little school like Bentley or something…   I know they schedule far in advance too!  For instance,  Maine and the Sioux exchanged home and road games from last year to this year.  So ya I think I do have a pretty good idea of how/who teams schedule.    Another, dont you have a life or do you just troll this site all day and nite looking to pick an arguement.   Get a life!  Im just as knowledgeable if not more but cannot troll around looking for fights like you.  Here’s to hopeing that st.cloud stomps them goofs tonight!!!!!!!!!

            Cheers

          • I am absolutely loving it right now and I dont even like st. cloud!  I just like anybody that puts the goofs in their place…

          • St Cloud played a nice game last night. They took advantage of their opportunities. The Gophers outshot them but shots don’t matter goals do. Not going to sit an argue about who is a better team all day. I’m heading to Mariucci to watch tonights game. St. Cloud scored more goals and won, they didn’t out play the Gophers if you watched the game. Love or hate the Gophers anybody who watched the game saw the Gophers are the better team just didn’t win. But hockey is the won sport where talent doesn’t matter, anybody can win any game. That was the case last night. Respond if you like, I’m heading to Mpls so I won’t be responding back. Catch you tomorrow.

          • I can sympathize with you in that the Sioux are usually the better team but somehow end up on the short end of the stick.  st. cloud freshman goaltener Farhaha or whatever comes in to our building and saves 44 and shuts us out!  Sucks doesnt it

        • Usually the respective conference determines the schedules of teams within the conference well in advance. As to teams outside the conference, that has to be determined by BOTH schools, not just one.
          So, you honestly believe that the U of Minnesota holds a gun to everyone else’s head and says, you play us on this date, etc, etc.??? IT’S A TWO WAY STREET!!!!
          So, according to your logic, the U of Minnesota is somehow able to determine who they will play, when and where they will play precisely to their benefit?? And the opposing school has NO say, what so ever?? That is simply AMAZING!!! Not to mention that they somehow know in advance when an opposing team will become hot and somehow avoid scheduling them at that time??? Even more AMAZING!!!

    • There are much better teams around college hockey? What?? Do you even watch college hockey? The Gophers swept Duluth and North Dakota and split with Wisconsin. They are in first place in the best conference in College Hockey and number 1 in the rankings in both major polls. 

      • the WCHA isnt the premier college hockey conference anymore. If they ever played some non conference games against teams other than sacred heart and vermont, they may face a challenge. SCSU seems to be kicking their a$$ right now. Duluth, overrated. ND, overrated. I can see why they want this big ridiculous 10 conference, so the goophs possible have a chance to make the tournament. Shouldnt be tough with 6 teams. Especially when one of them is penn state

    • “There are much better teams around college hockey”

      OK,care to elaborate? Judging from everything I can find online,that’s an unsupportable argument,so I am assuming you are privy to information not available to us common folk. I am anxiously awaiting your erudition.

    • Oh my gosh… What the heck are you doing on this forum you clown. I could write a whole Library of Editions on how The Gophers are superior to BC.

  3. The press in this division should open their eyes — comments like vvet behind the ears or playing out of his mind — no Gentleman, that is hovv he plays – get used to it because he is going to beat you until the NHL takes him — the league has just obtained a league changer — Ryan Faragher.

  4. the bull dogs are weak this year. vermont blows. the sioux are rebuilding.  wisconsin is youn and unpredictable.  the gophers always start the year playing weak teams.   I WIN

  5. Denver never had a 2-0 lead on Saturday, UND scored the first goal about 30 seconds in. If I’m not mistaken, no one ever had more than a 1 goal lead all night.

    • Fixed. Didn’t realize I’d missed it somewhere. Also, I could swear I saw conflicting spellings somewhere. Ah well. Won’t make that mistake again.

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