Rankings going into the weekend, records coming out...
Minnesota sweeps Michigan
I already covered this series in my recap (click the link down below), but to summarize: Michigan did not play well. Steve Racine started in goal both nights, but just couldn't give Michigan that defensive spark to gain victories. The offense struggled to score on some pretty clear shots, and then things got pretty dirty at the end of Saturday's game. Michael Downing was ejected each night for game misconduct, and should be hearing from the league soon if he hasn't already.
Wisconsin splits with Ohio State, L 2-1 and W 4-2
Ohio State lit the red light twice in the first period on Friday night off of goals by Tyler Lundey (who just happens to be from the Madison area--Middleton--so scoring against his de facto hometown team) and Darik Angeli. Wisconsin was able to score, but not until the 3rd period when Michael Mersch put UW on the board at 3:42, but the Badgers could not get any closer than the 2-1 margin. Ohio State's Christian Frey was a force between the pipes stopping 29 of Wisconsin's 30 shots on goal. UW's Joel Rumpel was still good in the net, with 28 stops on 30 shots. The power play is the area both teams struggled, and where Wisconsin could have taken the match; the Badgers were 0-3 and the Buckeyes were 0-4.
Saturday's match in Columbus was much better for the Badgers, who came away with the 4-2 victory to get another three points in league play. The Badgers' scoring was led by Mark Zengerle, who scored half of UW's goals on the night. British Columbia native Morgan Zulinick also had a goal for the Badgers at the 9:44 mark of the first period. The final goal for Wisconsin was tallied by Nic Kerdiles on an empty-netter with two seconds to go in a game that was already well in hand. Although Ohio State was able to get two goals from the sticks of Nick Schilkey and yet another Wisconsin native in junior forward Max McCormick, their power plays once again proved a fruitless 0-4.
Next for Ohio State: at Michigan on February 28 at 6:30 on BTN. March 2 in Columbus at 1:00 on Fox Sports Detroit.
Penn State is getting tougher, T 2-2 (L SO 1-0) and L 2-1
Although Penn State has lost a crap-load of games in this inaugural season of the B1G, I really don't think people should be sleeping on them...and I'm not just saying that because of what they did to Michigan last week. They have talent on offense, and Matt Skoff can actually be quite good in goal. After a scoreless first period, Lee Reimer scored first for the Spartans, but Penn State followed with two consecutive goals; one by Ricky DeRosa and a power play goal by Dylan Richard. Michigan State then tied the game at two when Michael Ferrentino scored at 16:06 of the third period. Penn State was unable to put the puck in the net in the shootout, and MSU won it off the stick of Brent Darnell after seven rounds. It's important to note that the Spartans have played to 2-2 ties in three consecutive games, but have won only once. MSU's Jake Hildebrand and PSU's Matt Skoff were good once again, saving 25 and 32 shots respectively.
The Nittany Lions were able to strike first on Saturday, and they did it quickly; Patrick Koudys scored just 43 seconds after the first puck dropped, but Penn State couldn't muster any more goals. Michigan State scored the next two goals in the game off of scores by Joe Cox in the 2nd and Matt Berry in the 3rd. Both players assisted on each other's goals for some symmetry to the game. As usual for the Nittany Lions, shooting was their thing; they outshot the Spartans 29-13 on the night, with Jake Hildebrand turning away 28 shots. Neither team was able to capitalize on extra-man opportunities, though; Penn State went 0-2 and Michigan State was 0-3.
Next for Penn State: Michigan on February 21 and 22. Friday's game is at 6:30 p.m. on BTN, while Saturday's is at 7:00 on Fox Sports Detroit Plus.
Next for MSU: at Wisconsin on February 21 and 22. Friday's game is at 9:00 on BTN, while Saturday's is at 5:00 on ESPNU.