This weekend in the Big Ten, it was clear that home was a good place to be. For the most part.
1. Penn State can do no wrong.
The Nittany Lions continue to roll along and roll over visiting opponents in the friendly confines of Pegula Arena. Penn State extended its win streak to nine games and its unbeaten streak to 11 with a pair of home wins over Arizona State, 7-4 and 8-0. As the scores indicate, the Nittany Lions did more than win; Penn State continues to dominate offensively, averaging 4.77 goals per game to top the nation. PSU has been at home for its last eight games, and in those contests the Nittany Lions have outscored opponents 42-13. Eight different Nittany Lions scored in their 8-0 win Saturday. Penn State takes Thanksgiving weekend off before concluding this 10-game home stand against Michigan in the opening weekend of Big Ten play Dec. 1-2.
2. Minnesota splits with Minnesota State.
The Golden Gophers dropped their Friday road game against the Mavericks, 4-1, but salvaged the split on the weekend with their 1-0 home win Saturday, giving Minnesota a 2-1-1 home record for the season while playing an arguably tougher schedule than Penn State has enjoyed. The Gophers have a home win and tie against ranked North Dakota, a road tie against ranked St. Lawrence, and two one-goal losses to ranked St. Cloud in an early home-and-home series. While other teams in the Big Ten are seeing success with big freshmen classes, the Golden Gophers are relying on seasoned players with their more experienced team. Senior Justin Kloos had the only goal in Saturday’s win, and sophomore Eric Schierhorn made 23 saves in his sixth career shutout, his third of the season.
3. Home and away, the Big Ten continues to be strong.
Big Ten teams went 6-2-0 against opponents on the weekend, increasing the league’s record in inter-conference play to 38-19-8 for a win percentage of .646, which now leads all D-I conferences — for this moment, at least. Ohio State swept Rensselaer on the road, 4-0 and 3-2, extending the Buckeyes’ unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2). Incidentally, Ohio State is right behind Penn State in goals per game, averaging 4.38. Wisconsin improved its overall record to 6-4-0 with a home split against Merrimack, a 3-2 win and 2-0 loss. Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota are all currently teams under consideration in the early PairWise Rankings, with Wisconsin sitting at No. 21.