Greetings from a slightly-less cold Minnesota, where is warmed up to 30 degrees today and I busted out the grill. All seven Big Ten teams were in action this weekend, with six playing head-to-head in three conference series. Here’s how things ended up:
- Notre Dame swept Michigan
- Ohio State swept Michigan State on the road
- Penn State took five of six points from Wisconsin at home
- Minnesota split a series with St. Cloud State
Without further ado, here are my three thoughts form the weekend:
The Christmas break didn’t cool down Notre Dame
Just like the first half of the season, Notre Dame didn’t dominate its opponent this weekend. However, just like the first half of the season, the Irish came away with a weekend sweep.
Notre Dame took down Michigan 2-1 on Friday in Ann Arbor and won by the same score during a Sunday afternoon game at home. The Wolverines put 36 shots on goal during Friday’s game and had 32 more on Sunday but they were only able to get two goals past Cale Morris all weekend. Morris, of course, is have an impressive season. He now owns a 17-1-0 record and 1.34 GAA.
“He’s been consistently good,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said after Friday’s win. “He’s the rock back there. I give our defensive corps credit. We have really been good at not giving up a lot of odd-man rushes and tonight we did. That’s just a sign of getting back to doing the things we were doing before the break.”
Notre Dame extended its winning streak to 15 games. The Irish are a perfect 11-0 in the Big Ten this season. The will play at Wisconsin next weekend.
Ohio State’s streak hits a half dozen
Ohio State’s six wins in a row isn’t as impressive at Notre Dame’s 15, but the Buckeyes have been playing really good hockey lately as highlighted by their two relatively-routine wins over Michigan State this weekend. Ohio State won 4-1 on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday.
Early-period goals doomed the Spartans on Friday. Sasha Larocque scored 33 seconds into the first period and Ronnie Hein and Tanner Laczynski both scored in the opening 32 seconds of the second period to give the Buckeyes a 4-0 lead less than 21 minutes into the game.
Saturday’s game was slightly more competitive. The two teams each surrendered a one-goal lead before the Buckeyes scored three in a row to put the game out of reach.
Ohio State will play at Penn State next weekend. The Nittany Lions are one of the few teams that have gave the Buckeyes trouble the past couple months. They took five of six points from the series played in Columbus in early December.
Is Mat Robson the answer in net for Minnesota?
Eric Schierhorn wasn’t the main reason the Gophers lost to St. Cloud State on Friday, but when your goaltender gives up five goals to the No. 1 team on the road you’re going to have a tough time winning.
The Huskies peppered Schierhorn with 34 shots on goal during Friday’s 5-2 win. The Gophers only mustered 23 shots in the game. The Gophers did take the lead early in the game, but SCSU scored the game’s next four goals.
Mat Robson got the start in net Sunday night for the Gophers and pitched a 34-save shutout. The Gophers beat the Huskies 2-0 at home. It’ll be interesting to see who Don Lucia goes with in the cage when the Gophers get back into conference play against Michigan this weekend.