Pickin’ the Big Ten: Nov. 13-14, 2015

Last week was another good one for the Big Ten. How did Drew Claussen and I fare?

Last week
Drew: 4-2-1 (.643)
Paula: 4-2-1 (.643)

Season
Drew: 26-13-8 (.638)
Paula: 26-13-8 (.638)

This week

Five Big Ten teams play in nonconference action this weekend. After unseating North Dakota last weekend, Wisconsin has a bye.

Canisius at Ohio State

Drew: I’m not sure I can confidently pick this series either way, both teams have struggled and a case could be made for a split or a sweep by either squad. That being said, I’m going to say Ohio State uses some confidence from its first win of the season and turns it into a nice little three-game streak.

Paula: This is the third year in a row that the Buckeyes and Golden Griffins are meeting, with Ohio State holding a 3-0-1 record in the previous four meetings. Canisius (2-5-0) dropped a single home game to Merrimack last weekend; the Buckeyes (1-7-0) registered their first win of the season last Saturday when they redeemed a home split against Mercyhurst. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m., Saturday’s at 4:00 p.m. and neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-2, 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Canisius 3-2, Ohio State 3-2.

Michigan State at Boston College

Drew: The Spartans unleashed the offense last time out against New Hampshire, scoring a dozen goals over the weekend, but playing against Boston College in its house is a whole different animal. Jake Hildebrand gives Michigan State a chance to win every game, but I don’t see a victory for MSU here.

Paula’s picks: If this were a series, I’d give the Spartans a nod for one of them — but not in a single game, not in Boston. The Spartans (4-3-1) ride a three-game win streak into the Conte Forum to face the Eagles (8-1-0), who have a seven-game win streak of their own to defend. BC junior goaltender Thatcher Demko has insane numbers this season (.974 SV%, 0.67 GAA) and I have to wonder if the Spartans can solve him at all — or if anyone can, for that matter, as he has six shutouts this season. The Spartans and Eagles met last year in East Lansing, a 3-2 BC win (Nov. 14), after which BC coach Jerry York made a joke about the first banner he saw hanging from the rafters as he emerged from the tunnel into Munn Arena, the banner that commemorates Michigan State’s 2007 come-from-behind NCAA Championship … against Boston College. This is a Friday game that begins at 7:00 p.m. and is not televised.

Drew’s pick: Boston College 4-2.
Paula’s pick: Boston College 2-0.

Minnesota vs. Minnesota State

Drew: I’m actually going to dust off the laptop and cover my first game of the season on Saturday. Both of these teams got off to slow starts and have been coming on in recent weeks. If one team does manage a sweep, I believe it would be Minnesota State winning at home on Friday and carrying that momentum over to Saturday, but I’m going to play it safe and pick a split.

Paula: Each of these teams picked up good road splits last weekend, with the Mavericks (5-5-0) losing to Ferris State 7-4 before winning 3-2, and the Golden Gophers (3-4-0) losing to Notre Dame 4-3 before winning 4-1. Minnesota is 35-11-6 all-time against Minnesota State with a 6-4-0 edge in the last ten meetings. Minnesota State hosts Friday’s game at 7:00 p.m., and the game will be televised by Charter Cable and Comcast 999; Saturday’s game in Minneapolis begins at 7:00 p.m. and is carried by Fox Sports North and Sports Time Ohio.

Drew’s picks: Minnesota State 5-2, Minnesota 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 3-2.

Niagara at Michigan

Drew: Niagara picking up a tie against Penn State last weekend should have served as a wake-up call for the Wolverines this week, not that Michigan needed much more motivation after getting embarrassed on its home ice by Robert Morris last time out. I think Michigan will pick up the win here; its goaltending needs to improve a lot before its trip to Boston, however.

Paula: I disagree that losing to Robert Morris is an embarrassment. The Colonials are a good team and were ranked when they went into Ann Arbor last weekend — and were it not for Michigan’s resolve on Friday night, RMU would have swept UM. This week, Niagara (0-5-2) should provide some redemption for Michigan (4-1-1). This is the 10th time the Purple Eagles and Wolverines will meet. The last meeting was Nov. 22, 2013, a 6-0 home win for Michigan, who holds an 8-1-0 record against Niagara. This single game Friday night begins at 7:30 p.m. and is not televised.

Drew’s pick: Michigan 5-3.
Paula’s pick: Michigan 3-2.

Sacred Heart at Penn State

Drew: Penn State proved last weekend that it isn’t a team that you can automatically pick to pick up a victory over a lesser team. The Nittany Lions face a Sacred Heart team that has gotten off to a decent 5-3-1 start this season. Penn State has gone 0-1-2 the past two weekends and could use some good results to think about during its trip to Alaska next weekend. I’m going to pick a tie on Friday, which never works out for me, but I’m feeling risky.

Paula: The Pioneers are 0-7-0 all-time against Big Ten schools, including a 2-1 loss to Penn State Nov. 8, 2013. The Nittany Lions (4-2-2) look to halt a three-game winless (0-1-2) streak. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m., Saturday’s at 4:00 p.m. and neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Tie 3-3, Penn State 3-1.
Paula’s picks: Penn State 3-2, 3-2.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Union gets a big loss… Yale gets a big loss….. watch the bias and next week they won’t even move on the PWR, keeping their seeding for the regional tourney too.

    And to think, they lost to UNRANKED teams!

    • Miami is SCARY good, and I can see them winning it all. They absolutely deserved the Mason cup, and even from the WMU student section I had a blast watching them win it today.

      Two MAC teams playing for the title also speaks, like you said, about the strength of an upcoming Big Ten conference. Who knows where things will be in two years, but only Michigan is in the NCAA tourney this year, and I doubt they’ll make it very far.

      Paula, you should read this article if you haven’t already. It might change your perspective on our “cinderella” team here in Kalamazoo. Don’t be surprised if we surprise you again in the future.

      http://insidecollegehockey.com/inch/2011/03/19/ccha_semis_0924/

  2. I was at all of the tournament games this weekend. Yes, the Western Fans came out in numbers and were very vocal, but they are only funny when their team has the upper hand. Also, they weren’t very vulgar. I’ve heard worse. And they shouldn’t have insulted the Miami Band with the “Your Band Sucks” chant. After that, Miami played Cee-Lo’s “Forget You”…nice try “Lawson Lunatics”. Better luck next time.

  3. Dear Paula, I hate to beat a dead horse, but you called out Broncos captain Ian Slater for using adversity. I would like you to watch the following video, I think he recognizes adversity. This is a great story about a great bunch of guys, Fight on Broncos, Fight on Gideon!

  4. Hey David, hunwick has been one of the best goalies in the CCHA this year. He led us to the regular season title. Hes probably better than the goalie of whatever team you root for. So suck it.

    Anyone can get bounced in the first round. But a huge part of the reason Michigan is even in the tournament and a 2 seed, is because of hunwick. Pound for pound he may be the beat goalie in the nation. Reminds me of jeff lerg. If only he was 3 inches taller he would be unstoppable.

  5. Well written article, aside from the typos. I appreciate you naming a few Miami Alum, who set the stage for bigger and better things that have happened to “The Brotherhood” in that last five years.

    Having played with some of the guys you mentioned, I know that every Hockey Alum is very proud of what has been accomplished in Oxford.

    Congrats to the 4 CCHA teams who made the big dance. We as College Hockey fans, and supporters of the CCHA, should all be cheering for the teams representing the CCHA to make a statement in this tournament to regain the title of best conference in the nation.

  6. Apparently a “hockey east team in waiting” loosing gets more coverage by Dave Hendrickson than the actual Hockey East team that beat them… twice… on the road…. by a combined score of 11 – 4. Well thats unfair to Dave…. but this blog article does highlight a worrying trend. USCHO will cover less important or interesting game recaps and team trends to give print space to BC, BU, NoDak, Denver and the like. 

    If USCHO, a media source, sponsors a poll, then the articles they disseminate should have equal coverage of every story as posible (AS POSSIBLE… I know its impossible for totally equal coverage). But this week… Providence beats the #1 team in the country… TWICE, and there is barely any coverage of both games. Northeastern beats #2/3 team in the country… TWICE, and only the first game is covered (in a staff report put up a day late with barely any information that can’t be found in the box score). UML also had a nice week against UNH but again… barely any coverage. 

    I know it’s unfair to be putting this in the Hockey East blog comments… but it’s also unfair to these teams who had great wins and get group together in blogs and articles as the “hockey east teams with rookie coaches”. If there are any individuals at USCHO who should be fighting for equal coverage of at least teams within one conference… it should be the conference blog writers. I know it was BC/BU sports weekend  but after reading the feast of BC/BU hockey coverage on USCHO the last 2 days I expected to see something about NU/ND or PC/MC this morning. I did… in the bottom of Dave Hendrickson’s blog article. 

    Also as a side note; the title of this article really made me think that it would be all about NU, PC, and UML (I thought “road warriors” was a reference to 3 wins in a row against ranked CCHA opponents on the road and “reshuffling” was a reference to PC beats the #1 team, NU beats #2/3 team.

    Please don’t take offense to this comment Dave (if you read this comment), but somebody needs to fight for the “smaller” programs when they do big things.

    • nothing notable about beating UNH twice this weekend.  they haven’t won on the road yet and pretty much stink on all sides of the puck, but especially between the pipes.

      • The offense is fine and has been since after the first 3 games of the season.  Defensively, very weak.  Goaltending, just a disaster!  I know Umile likes to stick with his Senior goalie, but with 4 goalies on the roster, I have no idea why Wyer or deSmith haven’t gotten more of a chance.  At the very least, it would shake things up a bit for a game or two and maybe one of them would step up and take the job.  I never thought I’d be saying this after the way Digi played last year, but maybe goaltending coaches are that important.  Coach Lassonde, we need you back!

      • Ur right… UML beating UNH is not very noteworthy like the toppling of the #1 and #2 teams. But still… a sweep within the most powerful and now seemingly most balanced conference is still noteworthy.

        UNH is not that bad either. It just seams like ur always getting out-worked. In 3 of the 4 UNH games I saw this year, the wildcats were simply outworked. You got the talent… there’s either something wrong with the system or ur players discipline.

        • So Hockey East is now the most powerful conference in college hockey? When did that happen? If you look at the poll the top TWO teams are in the WCHA. How many teams did HE send to the tourney last year? Wasn’t as many as the WCHA and your all powerful conference didn’t get one single team to the Frozen Four. St. Paul was all about the WCHA and CCHA last year.

          Not sure how you guys get the stones to say that you have the best conference when you have NOTHING to back it up with.

          • I refer you to the championship run of 2008, 2009, 2010. The current rankings or the general opinion of most people who follow college hockey. My stones are shown “Guest”, where are yours… oh wait; they’re now personal property of the Big 10.

          • You may have a had a team win it all but the truth of the matter is the WCHA is by far the better conference from top to bottom. Are you forgetting the early 2000’s? how about 2004 when all four teams in the Frozen Four were from the WCHA? After that year the NCAA made it a point to have WCHA teams play each other in the playoffs just for that wouldn’t happen again. Sounds like enough proof to me.

        • UML beating UNH is newsworthy because UML only won I think 2 league games last year.  So their resurgence is probably the story, not UNH

  7. Didnt Dave say that ND sweeping was a sure thing? Why would he write anything the week after that highlights how wrong he was? The picks are a a joke, both guys pick the same teams every week. Why have 2 people picking? And what was their record last week? I get that there were many upsets, but if he is supposed to be covering Hockey East as a whole he’d know that NU played the #1 team in the country 5 times coming into this weekend and their record did not indicate their talent.

  8. “Adding to that statistical oddity is that on Friday, BC outshot BU by a 23-1 margin, but was outscored, 1-0.  ”

    So now uscho’s writers don’t just regurgitate box scores, they can’t even manage to interpret the box scores correctly? 

    • Learn how to read. BC shot 23 times in the PERIOD but didn’t get a goal but BU shot 1 time in the PERIOD and got 1 goal. therefore 23-1 shots but 0-1 goals.

    • NO. NO. NO., and NO!!!! Merrimack has had an amazingly soft schedule. quality opponents are few and far between. At this point Merrimack doesn’t belong in the top 5. 

      Every year we get this darling team we feel obligated to make number one. Yale last year and Miami the year before. Both these teams had good years don’t get me wrong, but did not deserve the top spot.

      Just like Yale it’s time to Merrimack to fade away…..

  9. Yeah, there is better commentary in these posts than from JIm or Dave.  Who are these guys anyways.  And Jessica Scardina is even worse.  She was picked to cover Maine, probably because she’s nearby.  But, her “recaps” are terrible.

    • I remember reading some of Scardina’s recaps last season.  She’s not very polished. The awkward word choices and descriptions she used on some of her recaps were almost like she’d never seen a hockey game before, or even read a recap by an experienced sportswriter. Maybe experience will make her better.

  10. Have to agree with HuskyHockey1986.  Just seems like you’d have to go out of your way to NOT give some coverage to NU-ND this weekend.  It makes no sense!  I grew  up in the Boston area, and I get the BU-BC thing, but those games were not nearly as significant as NU’s sweep of the Irish.  They deserved at least real coverage and a detailed write-up.  And it would have been nice if Dave had made up for it with some pithy commentary or trenchant anlaysis.  He gave us some of that for BU-BC, and if those are the only games he saw, I guess that would make sense.  But it sure would have made some sense to get the scoop on the NU-ND game as well.

  11. Hockey East had got to do something about the officiating.  It’s time to enter into a contract with the AHL or equivilant.  New faces are needed and the good old boys network needs to go.  The boys from BU are no angels but the crap BC pulls on a game to game basis is awful and it has to be coached.  They constantly run the goalie and are better divers then Greg Luganis.  I don’t blame Coach Parker for being upset.  On the other hand it’s time for him to sit a few of his guys down until they start playing hockey and start staying out of the box.  Gravallesse and Bennedetto especially need to retire.  They are ruining the game and they take the excitement out of the game by constantly calling penalties that are marginal at best and not even there most of the time.  I’m done ranting. 

  12. Lowell tied for second in the PWR, the best winning percentage in the NCAA, and the best record again TUCs and you have them 8th? Why are you allowed to vote again?

  13. Did you leave Saturday half-way through the 3rd? The final was 4-2.

    And for the column this week, how about a look at the remaining schedules, with maybe some commentary on how a weak eastern team like UConn is going to benefit from the unbalanced schedule, while some deserving western team is again going to have to play in the first round? Here’s a hint: RIT and Niagara play 4 of their last six at home while Air Force and Mercyhurst play four of their last six on the road.

    • Maybe AF should have won more of their games earlier in the season? They knew what their schedule was going to be a long time ago. I guess they should have planned more appropriately.

      • AF won plenty early in the season–that’s why they’re in first place and RIT is not. My suggestion was a look at who should do well (the teams with more home games) and who has more challenging games left. Which will make it that much more impressive when Air Force wins the conference championship again. Then on to our home-away-from-home: the BCA! We LOVE Rochester!

        • Considering the standings are so close this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see the regular teams showing up to the BCA.

          Back on topic, I don’t realy buy into the fact that because you have more away games now your schedule is harder. The away/home game ratio should be equal throughout the season (though I remember last season there was a difference between east and west pods). So being crunched for points now doesn’t mean your schedule is harder overall.

          • Seven conference teams have winning records at home. Two teams have winning records on the road. Statistically speaking, it is easier to win at home. But the 27-game unbalanced schedule, in addition to meaning that the eastern teams get five extra games against the league creampuffs while the western teams get five extra games against the top of the league, also means that some teams play 14 games at home and 13 on the road, while others play only 13 at home and 14 on the road. The league needs to go to either a straight schedule (22 games) or divide into 3 pods of 4 teams (28 games–12 in pod home & home and 16 home or away against the other 8 teams) that would give each team an equal number of home and away games and eliminate the ridiculous trips for only one game.
            But this is the AHA we’re talking about so it will never happen. 

  14. When is the hockey world going to wake up and give BC 110% credit for a ridiculous run the past 14 years (9 FF’s, 8 Finals, and likely 4 NC’s).  When BC lost to Mich. in ’98’, they virtually gave that title away (never mind hitting the post and crossbar in OT).  When they lost to UND in 2000, they lost to a better team.  Of course, BC avenged both losses by beating both Mich and UND on their way to the NC in 2001.  In fact, the only time BC went to the Frozen Four and didn’t make the Final was in 2004, vs. Maine.  From 2006 until now, BC has been in every Final, except for 2009 (not making the NCAA’s) and and of course last year’s 1st round blunder vs. CC (many that BC’s team was better than this year’s team).   This is what is know as DOMINATION, people!   Least you forget, BC put a complete spanking on WI in the 2010 final, and we obviously know that they’ve taken apart the WCHA again this year.  UND who?  Fighting Sioux jerseys are BC’s favorite brand of toilette tissue…College Hockey is now known as Boston College Hockey.  Until this trend stops, get down on one knee and show respect.  Long live the King!!Read more: http://www.uscho.com/2012/04/05/minnesota-it-just-got-away-from-us/#ixzz1rGEgJrS1

  15. Paula and Drew, no Sparty love, and even worse, barely a word about them in your picks. Locking down BC’s transition game and getting to the net – Demko is prone to giving up rebounds – will be the key. Sparty finds a way to win this one in Chestnut Hill…

  16. MN-2 players born ’92 or earlier. (One of the Riley twins doesn’t play much.)
    MSU-12 players born ’92 or earlier.

    MN- 7 players born after ’95.
    MSU-zero players born after ’95 (i think Jake Jeremko signed with MSU but he is not rostered, he was born in ’96).

    Leave Cammarata on the bus. Dress 7 defensemen. Good weekend to see your youngsters against an experienced team.

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