Thursday, April 10, 2014

Final Tournament Thoughts

Great Competition, Lacking Crowd

For all the complaints that poured in on Thursday, I think even disappointed fans can agree the competition at the tournament was pretty high. Even in the tournament's opening games, overtime was reached with Penn State pushing past Michigan 2-1 in two OTs, and Ohio State advancing by beating Michigan State 2-1 in a single extra frame.

Wisconsin and Penn State opened up Friday competition with another . And Ohio State made it a game with Minnesota before disappointing local Gopher fans by taking the upset win, 3-1.
On the crowd side of thing it was a disappointing turn out. But as the USCO pointed out, NCAA tournaments across the board were down 40 percent this year.

"The total attendance for the two leagues that played in the Twin Cities (the Big Ten in St. Paul, Minn., and the NCHC in Minneapolis) was 59,862 across seven sessions.

In a 13-year run at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the WCHA Final Five had only one year where the total attendance was lower: 2011, when the tournament had only four sessions instead of the usual five.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Badgers Capture Inaugural Tournament Title

Wisconsin was the prediction at the beginning of the year to win the Big Ten Championship Tournament.

Though they wavered at the beginning of the season, for the second straight year the Badgers hoisted a conference tournament championship around the Xcel Energy Arena.

Ohio State didn't make it easy for them. The Buckeyes had pushed past Michigan State in a 2-1 overtime victory and out muscled top-seed Minnesota to earn their spot in Saturday's championship bout. Wisconsin earned a bye from the first round and topped Penn State for a shot at the title.

It was anyone's game.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tourney Talk

It came, it went, and few people noticed. More than likely because the attendance at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday barely tipped 4,000 (despite the announced attendance). Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State took to the ice at 2 and 7 respectively. It was a rough draw.

Those watching it on TV noticed the empty seats -- something that is never seen in that building, home to the state high school tournament that draws 19,000+ and the NHL's Minnesota Wild. Hockey fans that snuck out to catch a glimpse of Big Ten hockey found themselves able to purchase tickets at an extraordinary low price and move down to the lower bowl freely. Most of them didn't stay to the end, even in a double OT upset win for Penn State over Michigan.

Yes, all in all the first day of the Big Ten Championship tournament was a B1G disappointment.

As my boss told me all season -- mind you I work in a hockey office -- "I just have no feeling or excitement for this." He won't be going back to the X for the weekend. And like him, many won't be.

Our blog pushes and strives to promote Big Ten hockey. It has for the past two years, seeing the growing potential it has for the sport that we all love. It's a good thing in the grand scheme of college hockey and will take time to adjust. But even we must admit, the same intense passion that has been felt for years in the WCHA and CCHA is now gone. It's a tough pill to swallow for fans who were so loyal to those conferences.

Fans don't flock to the X like they used to on tournament weekend and the local bars are noticeably missing jerseys in the seats.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wrapping Up The Inaugural Season...Finally

I have to admit, the word 'inaugural' has found itself blacklisted from my vocabulary. The redundancy and overuse of 'the-word-that-shall-not-be-said' this season has taken its toll.

So hang it from the rafters, applaud its retirement, starting next year there will be no more firsts in the Big Ten hockey conference.

That being said, we can now look back on what was accomplished in 'Year One' of Big hockey.

More opinions will of course be decided this weekend. The Big Ten Conference Championship Tournament invades the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., providing one final measuring stick before we find out where our Big Ten teams land on the national stage.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Does The Shootout Format Win Or Lose?

By Jessi Pierce

Julie "the Cat" Gaffney said it best: "I hate ties, it's like kissing your brother."

Of course shootouts were her thing because of this beauty of a save during the Ducks' Team USA debut.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Old New:First Big Ten Weekend Looks Oddly Familiar

It was dubbed as “NEW” but this weekend's match-ups reeked of familiarity and they came and went without the travesty that many fans saw Big Ten hockey as.

Yes, the first weekend of Big Ten hockey action featured series' between former conference foes; Wisconsin at Minnesota, Ohio State and Michigan. Teams that had met in the past and have already established a rivalry among them.

Starting off the conference with these teams probably was the best route the Big Ten could go. A cherry on top is that all four are doing decently well across the board, especially Minnesota and Michigan who are the top two teams in the conference and No. 1 and 3 respectively in the nation.

So why the big hoopla leading up to this point? Where things any different?


Friday, November 22, 2013

The B1G Scoreboard (11/22/13-11/24/13)

Men's Scores From 11/22/13:

Women's Scores From 11/22/13:

  • Penn State 1, Lindenwood 2
  • Ohio State 1, Minnesota State 4
  • Wisconsin 0, North Dakota 0 OT (Wisconsin wins shootout 1-0)

Men's Scores From 11/23/13:

Women's Scores From 11/23/13:

  • Penn State 4, Lindenwood 1
  • Ohio State 1, Minnesota State 2
  • Wisconsin 3, North Dakota 1 
  • Minnesota 5, Yale 1

Men's Scores From 11/24/13: 

Women's Scores From 11/24/13:

  • Minnesota 4, Yale 1

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1° Below Freezing: Quick Hits In B1G Hockey

Streak Stops: It was an impressive run but it was bound to end sometime. The University of Minnesota women's hockey team was handed its first loss since 2012 on Sunday. After a 6-1 route of North Dakota on Saturday, the Gophers fell 3-2 at home thanks to three first-period goals from North Dakota. The loss ended an NCAA-record win streak of 62 consecutive games. Minnesota's last loss was also to North Dakota on Feb. 17, 2012. Gopher head coach Brad Frost tweeted the following the game Sunday:

"Thank you to all of the coaches, media, fans, alums and supporters of women's hockey for the humbling congrats on the streak. It was an incredible run. To go 639 days without a loss and 62 games was truly remarkable and special. I am so proud of our current players, staff and the three teams of former players who were all part of this streak. We will never forget being involved with it. 
"The game has grown and we are very proud of that. We will learn from tonight and continue with out ultimate goals for the season. Thanks again everyone -- Brad."

During the streak, the Gophers out-scored their opponents 311-60 and out-shot them 2,343-1,421.

Still On Top: One loss didn't hinder the Gopher women's team in the slightest, maintaining the No. 1 spot in the USCHO women's and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine women's college polls. The ladies' counterpart, the Minnesota men's team, is also still holding the No. 1 ranking in both polls for the fifth straight week. Also holding their own in the rankings was Michigan in at No. 5 in both polls and Wisconsin at No. 12 in both, too. Ohio State earned 63 votes in's polls and 3 votes with USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine but didn't break into either.

Ohio State Solid: I came across more than a few people, blogs and articles touting the Buckeyes to be stellar this year, some even predicting them to win the Big Ten. Like I'm sure plenty of you (outside of OSU fans) are doing right now, I shook my head and laughed -- thinking it couldn't be true. Well, I have to admit Ohio State has impressed me so far in this early season and the emergence of some dominate forwards has me now slightly seeing the possibility -- though not 100% clearly. Tanner Fritz and Ryan Dzingel are proving to be the real deal and have helped the Buckeyes to five-straight wins and a 6-1 homestand. They get a real test Nov. 29 with their first peek at Big Ten competition though against a familiar foe in Michigan. Looking forward to that B1G spotlight of the week.

Penn State: PSU made an effort in the weekend's second game against UMass- Lowell, bringing the game within 1 of the ranked River Hawks after a 4-0 rousing the night before. I hate to be the bearer of bad news for Nittany Lion loyals but the schedule is only going to get tougher. Penn State faces Boston College, Wisconsin and Minnesota in coming weeks, will be interesting to see how they fare then with some steady competition.

Where We're Ranking Up: Probably not surprising, the Big Ten isn't overwhelmingly dominating across teh nation. Still Big Ten teams are making a presence known on plenty of fronts.

  • Minnesota's Sam Warning in No. 5 in the nation in scoring with 17 points (5 G, 12 A) in 10 games played. Warning is also 4th in the country for assists.
  • Ohio State's Ryan Dzingel's 14 points in 12 games put him at No. 19 in the nation for scoring. The Buckeyes' Tanner Fritz is No. 16 in assists with 9.
  • Michigan's Zach Nagelvort is the Big Ten's best statistical goalie, coming in at No. 6. The freshman has a .94 save percentage and a 1.7089 goals against average through 7 games played.
  • The Gopher offense ranks second in the nation behind Hockey East foe Boston College. Minnesota is averaging 4.20 goals per game. Their defense is fourth with 1.9 goals against average so far this season. Ohio State's offense is ranked 10th (3.58 g/gp) and Michigan's defense is tied for seventh ( 2.00 ga/gp).
  • The Wolverines have the nation's fourth best powerplay so far this season going 11-for-40 and converting on 27.5%..
  • Penn State's penalty kill unit is the best from the Big Ten coming in at No. 18. They are 45-for-53 (84.9%) on the man down so far this season. But the Nittany Lions also rank third across Division I teams for penalty minutes, averaging 19.33 minutes per game in the sin bin.