Friday, November 25, 2011

Big Ten Hockey Game of the Week: Minnesota at Michigan State

By Jessi Pierce

Soon-to-be Big Ten opponents, the University of Minnesota heads to East Lansing this weekend for a series match-up in Michigan State's territory for the first time since 1980 in a battle of the Mariuci-Bessone Trophy. The Spartans nabbed the trophy for the first time in 10 years with a 5-2 win over the Gophers last year in Minneapolis.

The now defunct College Hockey Showcase ensured that the Gophers and Spartans squared off at least once a season since 1993-94 after Michigan State left the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference in 1981 for their current Central Collegiate Hockey Association home. The No.2/3 Gophers head to Munn Arena with a 101-42-12 all-time record against the Spartans but with splits for Minnesota the last two weekends to unranked teams (Wisconsin and St.Cloud State) on the road Friday nights, it's anyone's game.

Two hockey rich programs (and from states dubbed "Hockeytown" and "The State of Hockey" nonetheless) who haven't been to the NCAA tournament in four years will look to give an awesome series great to watch after a plate full of turkey and pie.

More information on the series and its former rivalry: Re-igniting the rivalry

Monday, November 14, 2011

Frozen Diamond Faceoff: Clash of Michigan & Ohio State

By Jessi Pierce

Last January, the University of Michigan housed a record-shattering hockey--and even surpassed NCAA crowd attendance--event when the Wolverines played host to intrastate rival Michigan State in an outdoor game appropriately dubbed the "Big Chill at the Big House". 113,411 fans witnessed college hockey in all it's glory on a stage typically showcasing some of football's best in Ann Arbor's largest venue.

While it's going to be tough to match the success of last year's game, Ohio State certainly is going to try. Big Blue will hit the road Jan. 15 for a match-up with the Buckeyes not at Ohio Stadium where a showdown between the team's two football powerhouses have typically occurred, but at Progressive Field, home to MLB's Cleveland Indians.

Moving the game to a baseball diamond is unique beyond a doubt. As with last year's game the hopes are to increase exposure for hockey at the collegiate level. With the rivalry between these two storied football programs dating back to the 1920s, will that same intensity translate on ice at a baseball field?

As any hockey fan I am nothing but eager to check this game out just a few weeks after the famed Winter Classic. Putting the game at center stage in its purest form brings the game back to its roots. Let's play ba--er hockey!

Tickets went on sale Nov. 14 and more information can be found here: Frozen Diamond Faceoff

Friday, November 11, 2011

Border Battle: Minnesota & Wisconsin Pre-Game Warmup

By Jessi Pierce

A river of separation and a lifetime of rivalry; that's what this weekend is all about for Minnesota Gopher and Wisconsin Badger fans and players alike. It's been a historic battle since the 1969-70 season and continues to be one of the most highly touted match-ups on the ice in the Midwest to date.

While the Badger football team heads to TCF for their chance at Paul Bunyan's Axe on Saturday, the Gopher hockey team will take their chances at the Kohl Center for a weekend series against Wisconsin beginning tonight. The Gophers are coming off a huge weekend sweep over western bordermate North Dakota as Wisconsin looks to bounce back from a tough weekend at St. Cloud State.

Recently ranked No.1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Polls for the first time since 2008, Minnesota comes in to Madison as the clear favorite holding an edge of 153-84-20 all-time record against the unranked Badgers and a 60-51-13 showing while in Madison.

While the Gophers are coming in hot, the team knows you can never underestimate Wisconsin. The Badgers bring with them a slew of underclassman this year all with extreme talent. Between the pipes rookie netminders Landon Peterson and Joel Rumpel have been splitting time for Wisconsin and goaltending for both teams should be the difference maker this weekend folks.

Kent Patterson has been unreal in net so far this year for Minnesota. With five shutouts on the season and a 9-1-0 record beneath him, Patterson holds a 1.60 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. The Badgers will need to do what many other opposing teams have failed to and that is find a way past Patterson.

Breaking it down both teams are fairly young with outstanding rookie classes but Patterson has kept the Gophers one step ahead of every other team so far this season. 14 different players have tallied goals for the Badgers this season so who to look for on scoring is a toss-up although I'd keep an eye on All-American junior defenseman and last year's leading scorer for Wisconsin, Justin Schultz, along with its top line of Mark Zengerle, Tyler Barnes and Joseph LaBate (Barnes and Zengerle have combined for nine goals  and 24 assists on the season).

For Minnesota Kyle Rau has been proving why he was named Minnesota's Mr. Hockey in 2010-11. With eight goals on the season Rau scored last weekend's game winner against the Sioux and has shown unparrallel skills for a rookie. Rau's not the only one lighting the lamp with Minnesota outscoring its opponents 48-16 so far this season. Be on the lookout for Erik Haula (currently leading the nation with 17 points) and Zach Buddish to be swarming the net as well.

Ultimately--in my humble opinion-- it will come down to who notches the first goal. With the fierce rivalry of this series whoever can get the momentum going in their direction first should come out on top.

I will be tweeting LIVE during the game so don't forget to follow @B1Gicehockey for some more insight on the series. Let the border battle begin!

The B1G Scoreboard (11/11-12)

Game articles are linked once available.

Men's Scores from 11/11/11:

Men's Scores from 11/12/11:

The B1G TV Schedule (as of 11/11)

All game times are for the home team's time zone.
(Michigan = EST, Minnesota = CST)

2011-2012 College Hockey TV Schedule for Big Ten Schools
Big Ten vs. Big Ten Games are in Bold

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Will the Penn State Football Fallout Affect the Hockey Program?

By Andrew Gerbosi

This is not as much of a posting as it is an honest question.  I am not going start throwing out my opinions of what has happened over the course of the last week in State College, Penn., but with an athletic director vacancy at Penn State, there are going to be questions about the other sports programs being affected by the chaos.  Will the events that have occurred in the football program shine a negative light on just that sport or all of the teams at the University?  Would you, as a parent, send your child to play a sport at that school (excluding football)?  Would you, as a prospective student, want to commit to play a sport at Penn State (again, excluding football)?  The rioting did not make the current student population look great to anyone coming into or considering playing for any Nittany Lions' program.  How long before Penn State can restore their image?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Death of a Rivalry?

By Andrew Gerbosi

Minnesota and North Dakota have one of the most famous rivalries in all of college hockey.  Blood has been shed, punches thrown, and neither school's fan base has an ounce of respect for the other.  The four games between the two teams every regular season always seem to have an effect on the top of the WCHA standings.  However, with the Big Ten Conference set to begin in 2013, will these rivalries still hold the same clout that they do now?  Minnesota will most likely continue playing North Dakota in the future, as will Wisconsin, but not as frequently, and with less at stake.  Sure, national rankings will still be affected by these match-ups, and there will always be the history and pride on the line but I do not know if the intensity will still be there 15-20 years down the line. Michigan and Michigan State are leaving their conference rivals behind as well, but are more rivals to each other than to the remains of the CCHA.  So what is to become of the Minnesota-North Dakota showdown in the future?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The B1G Scoreboard (11/4-6)

Game articles are linked once available.

Men's Scores from 11/4/11:

Women's Scores from 11/4/11:

Men's Scores from 11/5/11:

Women's Scores from 11/5/11:

Men's Scores from 11/6/11:
  • Penn State 5, Pittsburgh 1 (ACHA) - Story