B1G Hockey: Invitationals, Classics, and World Juniors

Bruce Bennett

Hockey? Hockey.

Everyone was off for Christmas, but the teams in our favorite conference have gotten back onto the ice, and the conference season will get under way this weekend, and in full swing the following weekend. So how did things look this first week back after the layoff? First, a recap of the rankings, or lack thereof...

Overall Conference
#1 Minnesota 12-2-2 3-0-1
#3 Michigan 10-4-2 2-0-0
#14 Wisconsin 10-5-1 2-2
Michigan State 6-9-2 1-1-0
Ohio State 10-6-0 0-2
Penn State 4-10-1 0-2

- The #1 Gophers have been off since beating the Michigan State Spartans on December 7. Minnesota plays again on January 3 in the Mariucci Classic against Colgate (7-9-2), who most recently dropped their series with the UMass Minutemen. After Colgate, the Gophers will face either #2 Ferris State (14-2-2) or RPI (8-6-4) on January 4. Elsewhere on ice, Golden Gophers freshman forward, Hudson Fasching, scored the first goal in the US Team's rout of Germany last weekend.

- Michigan shit the bed by losing to Western Michigan and then Michigan State in the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit last weekend; just part of the trend in Michigan sports, I guess. December has not been a kind month to the Wolverines, who have won only one out of five games (including the exhibition loss against the U.S. NTDP); the lone win came against Ohio State back on December 2. January doesn't start any easier as Michigan travels to Madison for a weekend series with the Badgers on January 10 and 11. Wisconsin is 9-0-1 at home, so yeah. It will be a big weekend. In other Michigan-y news, Tyler Motte was the last player to be cut from Team USA. Yet, a Wolverine was still able to contribute to Team USA's effort...

- Hey, did you hear that Wisconsin is 9-0-1 at home? They just swept Alabama-Huntsville (1-19-0) and are in the soft and creamy middle of their schedule, but they are also without their star--Nic Kerdiles, but only for the time being. The Kohl Center will welcome the Alaska-Anchorage Sea Wolves (8-8-2) this weekend, so although it's a tougher opponent, still plan on the Badgers remaining undefeated at home going into the series with Michigan.

- As I mentioned above, the Spartans took care of Michigan 3-0 in the consolation game of the GLI. I'm not sure how to spell the equivalent of making a fart noise, but that would be my reaction. The Spartans will now face Ohio State on January 10 and 11, while...

- The Buckeyes handled Mercyhurst (9-9-2) 6-3 and 7-2.

- Penn State continues to be at the bottom. The Lions lost by a score of 8-2 to #7 Boston College (12-4-2) on December 28, in a game that continued the trend of PSU playing ranked teams. Penn State has a lot of time to prepare for the Golden Gophers who will be heading into town on January 12 and 13, just don't expect the Lions to win.

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