Michigan rolls, Wisconsin revers and Minnesota falters

Greetings from the Xcel Energy Center press box, where Minnesota State just completed a 3-2 victory over Minnesota (more on the Gophers later). Here’s how the B1G teams did this weekend:

  • Michigan swept Penn State in a Thursday-Saturday series
  • Wisconsin swept Alaska-Fairbanks at home
  • Ohio State and Michigan State split their series in Columbus
  • Minnesota dropped both of its games at the North Star College Cup in St. Paul. Bemidji State beat the Gophers 4-2 on Saturday and Minnesota State defeated them 3-2 on Sunday.

Here are my three thoughts from the weekend:

1. Michigan’s “CCM line” is legit

The Wolverines’ top line of JT Compher, Kyle Connor and Tyler Motte had another great weekend. The trio combined for four goals and seven assists during Thursday’s game and had three goals and two assists at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Compher scored twice, the second being a late empty-netter, during Michigan’s four-goal third period on Saturday and helped complete the comeback from down 3-2 after two periods.

Side note; Senior Justin Selman scored the game-winning goal on Saturday. Here’s a quote Red Berenson gave me about Selman when I talked to him last week that I didn’t put in the column:

“It’s been a process for Justin. He came in with high credentials and had trouble living up to them — with injuries — but we saw the good things, we just couldn’t keep him healthy or keep him confident or keep him playing well for a period of time. His second year was worse and it looked like he was falling off of his game, but it came around last year. He ended up on a line with Zach Hyman and Dylan Larkin, and you know where Dylan Larkin is now. He really started to show what we though he could show when we recruited him, so good for him. The last half of the year last year was a really strong finish for Justin and now he’s off to a good start. He’s got a good role on our power play and penalty killing and a top line, so I’d say he’s becoming the player that we thought he would be.”

2. Wisconsin had a nice bounce-back weekend

The Badgers, who got thoroughly embarrassed by Minnesota last weekend, rebounded with two nice wins over Alaska this weekend. Now, Alaska isn’t one of the elite teams but a sweep of any team is an impressive feat for the Badgers right now.

The Badgers won a defensive-minded game 4-3 on Friday where they only gave up 23 shots on goal and came back on Saturday with a four-goal third period to win 5-2.

The sweep doesn’t really change my opinion of the Badgers, I still think they’ll fight with Michigan State for the No. 6 spot in the conference, but their scoring and goaltending is good enough to be a thorn in the side of the top three down the stretch. However, consistency is still Wisconsin’s main enemy.

3. Minnesota had another rough weekend at the North Star College Cup

After rattling off five wins in a row the Gophers came into the North Star College Cup on a little bit of a roll. Said roll is now over after losses to Bemidji State and Minnesota State. The Gophers have now dropped their last four games at the tournament after winning the cup in a shootout its inaugural year.

Minnesota simple struggles to score at times. They looked awful during five-on-five play this weekend and the Gophers’ losses would have been worse if the power play didn’t connect as often as it did.

The team doesn’t have to look far for some motivation, however. Last year’s team was in a much worse spot heading into the North Star Cup and went on a run to win the Big Ten regular-season and postseason crown after its two losses in St. Paul.



    • 5th & 6th time seeing SCSU live this season. Very good team. Borgen and Schuldte (sp) played great hockey.

      No puck movement for the Gophers. Winning with rush tactics requires precise passing to the open space. This weekend they held the puck like it was the UMD series.

    • Was wanting to catch St. Cloud when they can out to Denver but opportunity missed, was hoping to see how good they looked. Hopefully they can keep it up and make a run at the title.

  1. Nice job on the homer picks with picking MN to win anything…..Yet again, they’ve proven themselves the worst in the state!

  2. I think Lucia should be given 5 year contract extension. I heard a rumor that Robert Morris is willing to pay the mighty Goph’s to travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series..??

  3. Of the five goals MSU scored on the week-end, 2 went in off of OSU skates, and 1 was a EN. So really, just two goals in off the sticks of a MSU player. Sad.

  4. When will the league announce the suspension to the penn state player Sturtz for his flying elbow to the head in Saturday’s game?

  5. The Big Ten is a mess right now. Minnesota is hapless this year and the 2nd best team is a program thats existed for all of 5 or so years. Wisconsin and MSU need to get their act together

    • The only way for MSU to improve enough to be relevant, is to dismiss tCHHCoMSU and hire someone who actually can coach.


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