All six Big Ten teams were in action this weekend against various teams from the East Coast and, aside from a tough weekend for Michigan, things went very well.
Here’s how things ended up:
- Penn State swept Canisius at home, winning 4-1 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday
- Ohio State trounced Niagara 10-2 on Friday and completed the sweep with a 6-2 victory on Saturday
- Michigan State picked up its first win of the season when it beat Princeton 6-2 on Friday
- Michigan lost games at Vermont and Dartmouth
- Minnesota beat Clarkson in overtime on Friday and tied St. Lawrence on Saturday
- Wisconsin downed St. Lawrence 5-2 on Friday and defeated Clarkson on Saturday
Here are three things I saw this weekend:
1. Ohio State stayed hot
Considering they scored 16 goals and allowed four, “hot” may be an understatement when it comes to describing the Buckeyes. They have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season. Through seven games Ohio State is still unbeaten (5-0-2).
Ohio State scored four goals in the first period, five in the second and one in the final period of Friday’s game. 14 players had at least one point. Nick Schilkey had a hat trick and Matthew Weis had four points. The Buckeyes scored two power-play goals in the first period of Saturday’s game and used three third-period goals to pull away. The Buckeyes outshot Niagara 41-24 in the contest.
The Buckeyes are undefeated through seven games for the first time since the 1983-84 season. That squad rattled off 13 wins in a row to start the season.
With their November schedule, the Buckeyes have a chance to keep this streak going. I know games aren’t played on paper, but I would consider series against Robert Morris, UConn and Rensselaer winnable. No disrespect to those teams, and I can’t count the number of times Steve Rohlik has talked about the parity in college hockey when I’ve interviewed him, but it’s hard to pick against Ohio State right now.
2. Wisconsin built upon its split with Boston College
With a 4-2 record the Badgers have already equaled their win total from the 2014-15 season and have already halved their total from last season. This weekend Wisconsin did something that the preseason conference favorite, Minnesota, couldn’t; beat St. Lawrence and Clarkson on the road.
This season, the Badgers will go as far as their defense and Matt Jurusik will take them. This weekend, both played good enough to win. With an offense paced by Grant Besse and Luke Kunin, Wisconsin will always have the opportunity to have weekends like this one and score five goals per game. The only problem will be if the Badgers score five goals and turn around and give up six.
3. Penn State fired a lot of pucks at net this weekend
The Nittany Lions defeated Canisius 4-1 on Friday, but if not for a 61-save performance from Canisius goaltender Daniel Urbani things could have been much worse. That’s right, Penn State fired 31 shots on goal in the first period alone and ended up with a total of 65 shots on goal for the game. Penn State only tested Charles Williams 47 times during Saturday’s 4-2 victory.
Bonus: Good nonconference weekend for the Big Ten
The competition wasn’t the strongest, but it was a good thing for the conference as a whole that five of six teams took care of business this weekend. Nonconference wins in October help PairWise positions in March.