Rankings going into the weekend, records coming out...
Badgers sweep the Gophers, split the season series
Thursday: The scoring started at the 14:47 mark of the first period on Thursday night, when Wisconsin's Frankie Simonelli lit the lamp while blocking the view of Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox (18-4-5, .930 save %). Simonelli had his back to Wilcox as the puck came to him, and he just pivoted and got the backhander in the net for his sixth goal of the season. Minnesota got on the board next (17:20) after UW's Jake McCabe lost control of the puck in the Badgers' zone. Minny's Kyle Rau blocked McCabe's attempt to get the puck around the boards behind Joel Rumpel (13-3-1, .933 save %), and the puck went bouncing back to Rau who fed it to Taylor Cammarata to tie the game at one. After a scoreless period two, the Badgers were able to bring the score to 2-1 off a Jake McCabe shot from the face off circle and through the legs of Wilcox. 2-1 is where the score would stay until 00:00 for a Badgers victory over the #1 team in the country. As an aside, check out this photo of the Kohl Center crowd by The Daily Gopher's GoAUpher.
Friday: Friday's game seemed to be a little more fast-paced, but not frenetic. It was a scoreless first period until 19 seconds to go (and after two minutes of 4-on-4 action), when Grant Besse scored for the seventh time this season. After the teams got back to even strength, there was a furious battle in front of Wilcox; UW's Nic Kerdiles poked the puck between the sticks of Minnesota's Ben Marshall and Hudson Fasching (at :20 in the video below), allowing for Besse to score the goal. Play was stopped at 10:55 to go in the 2nd period after UW's Jake McCabe took a shot to the head of the Gophers' Kyle Rau (:52 of the video). That play resulted in: a 5-minute major and game misconduct against McCabe and a 2-minute penalty on Hudson Fasching and Ben Marshall for retaliating after the whistle. The key to all of this was that the teams would be 4-on-4 for two minutes, and then 5-on-4 for another three (even if Minnesota were to score). Once the power play started, the Gophers were able to tally a goal when Seth Ambroz plucked the puck out of traffic and got it around Rumpel. At the 4:33 mark of the third frame, Nic Kerdiles ripped a shot from just inside the blue line to put the Badgers up 2-1. As the clock ran down to zero, the score remained 2-1, and the #1 team in the country had been swept.
Next for Minnesota: Michigan. 2/14 at 9 p.m. Eastern on BTN; 2/15 at 8 p.m. on FSN.
Next for Wisconsin: at Ohio State. 2/14 at 7 p.m. Eastern; 2/15 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.
Wolverines destroy the Nittany Lions, then get destroyed themselves
Friday: I'm unable to watch video of Friday's game, so I'm going to let BTN do the talking. The important thing to note from Friday is that Red Berenson is awesome. But who doesn't know that? Berenson has now taken sole possession of fourth place on the all-time win list for D-1 coaches, with 784 victories. He's behind three others by a significant margin (3. Jack Parker, 897; 2. Ron Mason 924; 1. Jerry York, 956), but this is still a tremendous accomplishment. Congrats to a class-act and all-time great.
Saturday: Zach Saar put the Lions on the board first less than six minutes into the first period on a dribbler through the pads of Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort (10-6-2, .930 save %). Alex Guptill was unable to tie the game on a breakaway opportunity that wasn't going to look much better (he then left the game in the 2nd period with a shoulder injury), and the score would remain at 1-0 PSU until the Lions' David Glen got another sneaker past Nagelvoort at 11:24 to go up 2-0 and knock the Wolverines a little off balance defensively. Michigan then got into a 3-0 hole off the stick of Casey Bailey who got the puck through Nagelvoort's five-hole, which resulted in Red Berenson pulling Nagelvoort in favor of Steve Racine (4-1-1, .930 save %). You just can't let 3 of 9 shots go past you, no matter how well you've played prior to that. Penn State then went up 4-0, blah, blah, blah. Crap! Michigan missed on every opportunity to score as though there was a force field instead of Matt Skoff (5-8-1, .899 save %) in the net. Really, though, Skoff played a brilliant game between the pipes; possibly the best game of his Penn State life, and he should be congratulated for his performance.
Next for Penn State: 2/14, 6:30 p.m. Eastern on BTN; 2/15, 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPNEWS
Bucks take down the Spartans in two shootout victories
Friday: after a scoreless first period, the Spartans lit the lamp first after senior forward Lee Reimer took the centering shot at 7:44 in the second period. Then at the 9:19 mark, MSU's Greg Wolfe was on the 2-on-1 breakaway high to the glove side of Ohio State's Christian Frey (5-1-2, .935 save %), putting the Spartans up 2-0. The Buckeyes, however, weren't going to be outdone. Tanner Fritz tallied the first OSU goal 18:07 into the 2nd on the empty net power play by the Buckeyes. Then with one second to go in the game, Ohio State tied the game on a shot by Alex Szczechura with two seconds to go in regulation that got through the legs of Jake Hildebrand (7-11-6, .933 save %), who had been impenetrable most of the night. After the scoreless OT session, both teams traded goals to start the shootout, but it was OSU's Tanner Fritz who would give the Buckeyes the come-from-behind shootout victory on the team's fifth attempt.
Saturday: yet another 2-2 tie leading to a Buckeyes shootout win. Greg Wolfe and Matt Johnson were the only scorers during regulation for either team; both of Wolfe's goals came on power play opportunities. The Buckeyes' Nick Schilkey scored the only goal in the shootout to give OSU the win.
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