Conference splits galore in week two

Five B1G teams were in action this weekend with four playing each other and Penn State playing one game against a nonconference foe. Ohio State took the weekend off. Here’s how things ended up:

  • Michigan and Minnesota split a pair of games at Yost Ice Arena
  • Michigan State and Wisconsin split two games at Munn Ice Arena
  • Penn State knocked off Princeton at home on Friday

Here are three things I saw this weekend:

1. Minnesota battles back for the split

Minnesota’s head coach Don Lucia inferred that he would be happy with a split against Michigan when I talked to him last Tuesday. It wasn’t very pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but he got his wish.

After dropping Friday’s game (more on that later) the Gophers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period of Saturday’s game. Michigan battled back to tie the game early in the third period, but the Vinni Lettieri responded with a goal of his own seconds after the Wolverines tied it and Minnesota held on for the victory.

Lettieri, along with fellow juniors Hudson Fashing, who also scored in Saturday’s game, and Justin Kloos, are three players that the Gophers would like to see get going and be a little more productive in the season’s second half.

2. Michigan wins a typical Michigan game on Friday

Michigan and Minnesota were doing their best to put any stories about the lack of scoring in college hockey to rest on Friday night. The Gophers and Wolverines combined for 11 goals with Michigan capturing the 8-3 win.

Both teams scored in the game’s first 30 seconds, with Michigan’s Tyler Motte scoring 16 seconds in and Fasching tying it 14 seconds later. The Wolverines held a 2-1 lead after one and the Gophers tied it up half way through the second period.

After the Gophers tied it, Michigan rattled off three goals in less than five minutes to take a 5-2 lead. Minnesota managed to cut the lead to two before the second ended, but Michigan tacked on three more goals in the third.

Here’s Paula’s recap from the game (she had plenty of material to work with).

The Gophers actually went through three goaltenders on Friday. I can’t remember the last time I saw that in a non-exhibition game.

3. Matt Jurusik may be the real deal

The Badgers are an improved team this season. That may not be saying a lot since it would be hard for them to be worse than last year’s squad.

One player that has particularly impressed me is freshman goaltender Matt Jurusik, who picked up his first collegiate shutout on Saturday against Michigan State. The most impressive thing about the shutout, for me, was that he gave up the game-winning goal late in the third period of Friday’s 4-3 loss to Michigan State and that didn’t affect his play on Saturday night.

As the rest of Wisconsin’s young team continues to mature, the defense in front of Jurusik should improve, which should give the freshman goaltender an opportunity to improve his 4-6-4 record and 3.11 GAA and maybe make performances like Saturday’s the norm.

The standings

Because it’s never too early.

  1. Minnesota (9 points)
  2. Michigan (8)
  3. Penn State (6)
  4. Wisconsin (4)
  5. Michigan State (3)
  6. Ohio State (0)