I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. I feel like I need to go on a cleanse until Christmas. Four Big Ten teams followed Turkey Day with some nonconference games this weekend.
Here’s how things shook out:
- Minnesota dropped Friday’s game at Northeastern 6-4 and rebounded by beating Boston College 4-2 on Sunday
- Michigan split with Lake Superior at home, losing 3-1 on Friday and winning 4-1 on Saturday
- Wisconsin defeated Colorado College on Friday and lost to Denver on Saturday
- Michigan State defeated North Dakota 4-3 on Friday and tied the Fighting Hawks 2-2 on Saturday
Here are three things I saw this weekend:
1. Michigan State helped out the Big Ten’s nonconference record big time
The Spartans going to Grand Forks and coming back with a 1-0-1 record was huge for the Big Ten’s nonconference record, but it was also huge for a team that hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders this season.
It wasn’t pretty, the Spartans were vastly outshot both nights and actually scored on two of their three first period shots on Friday night. On Friday MSU was able to get a 4-1 lead and then hold off UND’s comeback during the final 10 minutes of the game.
Ed Minney made 30 saves on Friday and followed up with 32 on Saturday. He now has a 4-3-1 record and a 2.98 GAA. It will be interesting to see how the Spartans build on this weekend. They have a young team, and confidence from good results against the defending champions could help them grow.
Michigan State will play an exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 Team next Sunday.
2. Lucia gets No. 700
I’m sure he would have rather done it earlier this season, but it was poetic that Don Lucia won his 700th career game against Jerry York’s Boston College squad. Vinni Lettieri led the Gophers on Sunday with the game-winning-goal and two assists.
With the win Lucia became the eighth head coach in NCAA history to win 700 games. 421 of those wins came as the bench boss for the Gophers, he was the head coach Alaska-Fairbanks and Colorado College before Minnesota. York has 1,023 wins, which is the most in NCAA history.
Eric Schierhorn picked up the win for Minnesota on Sunday, his sixth of the season. Lucia called out his goaltender after Friday’s 6-4 loss to Northeastern. Schierhorn responded with 31 saves against the Eagles.
3. Conference play starts with a bang
The four Big Ten teams that were in the USCHO Division I Men’s Poll this week will face off against each other next weekend as conference play finally begins for the Big Ten.
Michigan will travel to Penn State and Minnesota will host Ohio State next weekend. Conference titles aren’t won in early December, but it will be nice to see Big Ten teams play other Big Ten teams and find out if these four ranked teams are legit.