Good evening, everybody.
There was a full slate of Big Ten teams in action this weekend with some mixed results. Here’s how things ended up:
- Penn State split its home series with American International by winning on Thursday and losing on Friday.
- Notre Dame split its home series with Sacred Heart.
- Ohio State swept UMass on the road.
- Minnesota and North Dakota split their series in Grand Forks.
- Michigan swept Vermont at home.
- Wisconsin split with Northern Michigan
- Michigan State split its home-and-home series with Western Michigan. Each team won their home game.
And here are my three thoughts from the weekend:
1. Ohio State rebounded nicely
I believe it was two seasons ago, when the Buckeyes were tying their fair share of games, that Steve Rohlik said during one of my interviews with him that the team was reacting to those ties as if they were losses. Many players from that team have moved on, but I’d be willing to bet that Ohio State’s two-tie weekend against RPI was chalked up as a missed opportunity.
The Buckeyes rebounded nicely, however, with a 3-1 and 3-0 road sweep of UMass this weekend. They fell behind 1-0 midway through the first period on Friday but tied the game five minutes later thanks to Matt Miller. Mason Jobst added goals in the second and third to ice the game. On Saturday the Buckeyes scored one goals per period to win 3-0. Sean Romeo picked up both wins, making 24 saves on Friday and 23 on Saturday.
2. 18 was the magic number for Minnesota and North Dakota
I wasn’t surprised that Minnesota and North Dakota split their series this weekend, but it was slightly shocking to look at the box scores and realize that the Gophers had 18 shots on goal when they won 2-1 on Friday night and the Fighting Hawks also had 18 when they won 4-0 on Saturday.
Eric Schierhorn was the star for Minnesota on Friday when he made 34 saves. His encore performance on Saturday wasn’t the greatest, but it’s hard the put all the blame on the goaltender when North Dakota scored three power-play goals.
The Gophers are 3-3 after their first three weekends and welcome a Clarkson team that is 2-0 against the Big Ten this year next weekend.
3. The Badgers had an OK weekend in Green Bay
It was 18 seconds from being a good weekend but Northern Michigan’s Denver Pierce scored at the 4:42 mark of overtime to give the Wildcats the 5-4 victory. The Badgers had the work just to get the game to overtime. Northern Michigan led the 2-1 after one period and 4-2 after two. Jason Ford and Trent Frederic scored in in the third period to give the fans free hockey.
The loss stopped the three-game winning streak the Badgers had going, but Wisconsin came back on Saturday and won 4-0. Ryan Wagner, Will Johnson, Cameron Hughes and Linus Weissbach scored for the Badgers and Jack Berry had a tidy 11-save shutout.