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.