Three beatable teams — and one that wasn’t

This may have been the most interesting weekend of the year for Big Ten teams.

1. Wisconsin is tied for first place in the Big Ten.

Let that sink in for a minute. With their sweep of Ohio State, the Badgers’ B1G record improved to 6-2-0 and they moved into a two-way tie with Minnesota for the top spot in the conference. Five Badgers accounted for Wisconsin’s six goals against Ohio State in the 3-1 Thursday win in Columbus and the 3-2 overtime win Saturday in Madison Square Garden. Wisconsin’s tenacious defense held Ohio State’s offense to three goals on the weekend; the Buckeyes had been averaging over four per game heading into the series. It was Wisconsin’s second sweep of an opponent this season and he first time that the Buckeyes had been swept by an opponent. Impressive.

2. The Gophers are competitive but come up a goal short.

In the last-ever North Star College Cup, Minnesota fell to Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, in the opening game. The Bulldogs led 3-1 by the midway point of the third period and the Gophers recorded an empty-net goal in the last minute, so the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, but Minnesota did lose to the team that will undoubtedly be this week’s new No. 1 before beating another ranked team, Bemidji State, 4-0 in the Gophers’ second game of the tournament. The Gophers are good but beatable.

3. All three ranked B1G teams lost this weekend, two to unranked teams.

The Buckeyes lost twice to unranked Wisconsin and Penn State gave up three third-period goals in a 5-4 loss to Princeton Saturday in Philadelphia. Wisconsin moved to No. 18 in the PairWise and very well may work its way into the NCAA tournament with the way the Badgers are playing, but the Buckeyes dropped to No. 15 in the PWR and the former first-place Nittany Lions to No. 5. Minnesota’s showing was strong and the Gophers are No. 7 in the PWR.


  1. Only 6 or 7 teams (depending on how you count them) would make it from all three Eastern conferences would make it to the NCAA right now. Incredible.

  2. Jim, I’ve got a technical question on the RPI calculation and you seem like the person to ask (nice explanation of the pairwise consequences on NESN last week).

    Are single games “counted” multiple times when computing RPI? For instance, for NU’s RPI, when NU plays BC tonight the result will be reflected in NU’s winning percentage. Will tonight’s result also be used again for BC’s record in “average winning percentage of opponents” and again for NU’s record in “average winning percentage of opponents’ opponents”? Is NU considered an opponent’s opponent when calculating its own RPI?

    I haven’t gone through the all the math so I don’t whether this would have a significant effect after all the averaging. Just curious.

    Go Huskies!!!

  3. UNH is approaching bubble territory. They aren’t playing well, and aren’t beating the teams they are supposed to be beating as a “top 5” team nationally.

    • I don’t think they are approaching bubble territory at all. With 26 PWR points, they have a huge difference between the teams in the #10 range. They only have 19 and if you look at the individual comparisons, UNH is leading most of them 3-0, or 4-0, so it would take a lot for those teams to overtake them.
      As to the actual hockey, 96 SOG the past 2 games against 2 of the bigger and hotter goalies and teams in HE, so only 4 of them found the back of the net. They will find the back of the net again. On the defensive side, they are totally different and not in a good way, right now. I also believe it’s time to see Wyer a little more, as DeSmith really continues to struggle.

      • A lot of those SOGs are not quality shots. I was at the game on Sunday, they had some really nice shots that Gilles made great saves on, but the vast majority of the shot selection was poor.

        • I was there as well. I believe there were more quality shots than you give them credit for. Also, against Merrimack (I don’t remember the exact amount) they had more Grade A chances than non-grade A. I also am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a bad shot. No matter what, I don’t believe offense is their biggest concern right now and they would have to collapse pretty badly to fall that far in the PWR.

  4. “the Gophers recorded an empty-net goal in the last minute”
    Could you possibly have worded that any worse? That sounds like UMD had their goalie off for an extra attacker.

    • To be accurate the second Gopher goal was an extra attacker power play goal, six skaters on four. I saw both games in person and was impressed by a few things. The Bulldogs look solid and play a good team game. I thought they took care of the Gophers in a business like manner. Eric Schierhorn rebounded from the poor second game in Madison with a good back to back effort. He will need to play well next weekend since PSU always launches plenty of shots. Hunter Miska and Riley Tufte are talented freshmen. The Bulldogs look like a FF team to me.

    • The whole write up made it sound like it wasn’t a good game. I thought it was one of the better games I have watched in a while. Pretty even first period, UMD owned the 2nd and UM the 3rd. All and all a game you would want to see between 2 top 10 teams.


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