Monday, December 10, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (12/7/12-12/912)

Men's Scores From 12/7/12:

• Michigan State 2, Notre Dame 3 — Darnell scores twice in 3-2 loss to No.4/5 Irish
• Minnesota 4, Colorado College 2 — Gophers kick off weekend with 4-2 win over No.19 Tigers
• Michigan Tech 1, Wisconsin 1 — Wisconsin forces 1-1 overtime tie against Michigan Tech
• Penn State 4, Holy Cross 5 OT — Men's hockey falls to Holy Cross, 5-4, in OT
• Robert Morris 3, Ohio State 2 — Buckeyes drop 3-2 game to Robert Morris

Women's Scores From 12/7/12:

• Minnesota 5, Bemidji State 1
• Penn State 1, St. Lawrence3

Men's Scores From 12/8/12:

• Michigan State 1, Notre Dame 5 — Spartans fall, 5-1, at Notre Dame
• Minnesota 4, Colorado College 4 OT — Gophers take three WCHA points from Tigers, tie 4-4 in overtime
• Michigan Tech 3, Wisconsin 3 OT — Going the distance: Wisconsin and Michigan Tech tie 3-3 in overtime
• Penn State 1, Holy Cross 4 — Jensen scores in 4-1 loss to Holy Cross
• Ohio State 2, Robert Morris 2 OT — Buckeyes rally for 2-2 tie at Robert Morris

Women's Scores From 12/8/12:

• Minnesota 5, Bemidji State 0
• North Dakota 2, Wisconsin 3
• RIT 1, Ohio State 3
• Penn State 2, St. Lawrence 4

Women's Scores From 12/9/12:

• North Dakota 1, Wisconsin 3
• RIT 2, Ohio State 6

Friday, November 30, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (11/30/12-12/2/12)

Men's Scores From 11/30/12:

Women's Scores From 11/30/12:
  • Penn State 0, Mercyhurst 5
  • Ohio State 0, Minnesota State 0 OT Ohio State wins shootout 3-1

Men's Scores From 12/1/12:

Women's Scores From 12/1/12:
  • Penn State 1, Mercyhurst 7
  • Ohio State 4, Minnesota State 3
  • Wisconsin 1, Minnesota 4

Women's Scores From 12/2/12:
  • Wisconsin @ Minnesota

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1° Below Freezing: Quick Hits In B1G Hockey

By Jessi Pierce

Each week, we at B1G Ice Hockey will bring you our weekly check-in with Big Ten teams, starting with teams on the hot streak and ending with teams that seem to be ice cold. Enjoy.

° Gophers stay hot — After pulling out three of four points at Mariucci against neighbor Wisconsin and a clean sweep at Vermont, Minnesota seems to keep the wins coming, remaining unbeaten in its past six contests. The only Big Ten team to be ranked in the top 20 in either national college hockey poll this week, — ranked third in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine — the Gophers 9-2-2 record stands apart from the B1G pack, too.

A scoring prowess up front, a solid blue line defense and even better goaltending, Minnesota fans are feeling like they once again hold the state's, and nation's, "Pride on Ice." But the Gophers will be tested this weekend when Nebraska-Omaha comes to town with the same six-game winning streak. Even more similarities, the Maverick's leading scorer Ryan Walters is tied for fifth in the WCHA in scoring with Minnesota's Erik Haula at 16 points a piece. Omaha also boasts a big sweep over the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is without a loss the entire month of November.

Minnesota will have to take control early and shouldn't expect a cake walk this weekend.

Puck drops Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.

° Buckeyes holding their own —I have been fairly impressed with Ohio State's play so far this season.   A young squad, they are holding their own, tied for second in the CCHA with Notre Dame and Ferris State. Holding a 5-4-3 record, the Buckeyes boasted early season wins over Minnesota-Duluth, Bowling Green and a sweep at home against Northern Michigan.  Sophomore Tanner Fritz is leading the offensive charge for the team with 11 points through 12 games. Between the pipes senior Brady Hjelle is leading the CCHA with a mere three goals allowed this season and a .62 goals against average. Hjelle was also named the CCHA Goaltender of the Week for the second time this season following the Buckeyes split with Lake Superior last weekend.

Ohio State hits the road to East Lansing, Mich., this weekend for a Big Ten match-up and current CCHA rival series with Michigan State. The Spartans have had their own struggles establishing consistency this season (more on that below) but tend to have the upperhand over Ohio State as all-time history shows with the Buckeyes recording 26-84-8 against the Spartans. In the last 30 match-ups however, the series is even at 14-14-2.

It's anyones game this weekend.

Puck drops Friday at 8:05 p.m. ET and 6:05 p.m. ET on Saturday.

° Penn State on the upswing — To be honest, it seems Penn State still hasn't gotten the credit they deserve. It's a big leap from ACHA to NCAA but this is a squad that is holding its own against some of the big boys. Point proven by keeping with No. 7 Union on the road last weekend, the nation's leading offense. Remember, Union was in the Frozen Four last year and is a remarkably good program. Sure Penn State lost, first 2-0 on Friday and managed to get on the board Saturday with a 4-1 loss. But they played with Union each period right to the end.

Another big rebound night came when Air Force put up 5 against them Nov. 9  (in a game where even Air Force head coach Frank Serratore said that Penn State deserved to win) and the Nittany Lions turned that score around for a 5-1 win on Saturday.

The thing that I enjoy about this team is they know they are the underdogs and they welcome the challenge. Scheduled games in the second half of the season against future Big Ten foes Michigan State and Wisconsin will be another true test but for the most part, despite the 6-5-0 record, I think PSU is one of the stronger teams right now in the conference.

Up next for the Nittany Lions is a visit from ACHA's Arizona State.

Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET both Friday and Saturday.

° Michigan struggles — Typically a dominant force in the CCHA and expected to be a top powerhouse in the Big Ten next year, Michigan can't seem to find their footing yet this season. With a roster stocked with the NHL draft picks, the Wolverines should be doing better than their 5-7-1 record shows.

A.J. Treais, Mac Bennett, Alex Guptill and Jacob Trouba are all putting up the points (46 between the four of them) but lazy third periods and finishing the game seems to have Michigan working against itself. Some of the top CCHA opponents are behind them for now (split with Miami, split with Michigan State and a recent sweep by Notre Dame) but if Michigan doesn't get the wheels clicking soon, it's going to be a tough road ahead.

Coming off a schedule that had a win at Yost against Bowling Green on Nov. 21 followed by a loss to No. 13 Cornell at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 24, the Wolverines head to Big Rapids, Mich., for a series this weekend with Ferris State.

Kyle Bonis is the go-to guy for Ferris State. If the Wolverines can shut him down and limit the amount of shots he puts on net, they should be able to pull out the sweep and start their climb back up the CCHA.

Puck drops Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

° Spartans still middle of the pack — Michigan State has yet to face some of its toughest opponents and even some worthy ones defeated the Spartans already this year. A record of 4-6-2 on the season so far, the Spartans have typically been known as a middle of the pack team, and remain to be. A big CCHA (and ego) win over Michigan is the team's only notable win so far and a rally for a 2-2 tie with Miami was another big point. But ultimately it's a team that has yet to impress me.

The offense is inconsistant and, like its foe Michigan, has yet to get everything working together. According to Neil Koepke with "In 12 games this season, MSU has scored two or fewer goals in seven contests."

Heading into Ohio State will be another big test for the Spartans and should be a great series matchup, with Friday's game televised on the Big Ten Network.

° Wisconsin woes continue — The only more inconsistent team and one that has scored less than Michigan State is Wisconsin. While of course my inner Gopher smiles slyly at putting the Badgers at the bottom, even loyal fans are questioning whether this is rock bottom for Wisconsin, who is just 1-7-2 this season.

As Andy Johnson, Badger writer for Bucky's 5th Quarter tweeted: "UW's record now stands at 1-7-2. They've scored more than two goals only once. I'd say this is rock bottom but we go to Denver next week."

It seems like there will be no time for the Badgers to come up from air after dropping their last weekend  games at Minnesota. Ineligible Nic Kerdiles will be able to return to the lineup for this coming weekend against the Pioneers, but is that the only spark that Wisconsin so desperately needs? We will see.

Puck drops at 9 p.m. CT Friday and 8 p.m. CT Saturday.

B1G Rankings
1. Minnesota
2. Ohio State
3. Penn State
4. Michigan 
5. Michigan State
6. Wisconsin

Friday, November 23, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (11/23/12-11/25/12)

Men's Scores From 11/23/12:

• Ohio State 4, Lake Superior 1 — Buckeyes post 4-1 road win over Lake Superior State

• Minnesota State 4, Wisconsin 2 — Wisconsin falls to Minnesota State, 4-2

• Minnesota 5, Vermont 1 — Gophers take down Catamounts 5-1 in series opener

Women's Scores From 11/23/12:

• St. Cloud State 0, Wisconsin 6

• Ohio State 4, Princeton 2

Men's Scores From 11/24/12:

• Ohio State 2, Lake Superior 3 — Buckeyes clipped by Lakeers, 3-2

• Minnesota State 4, Wisconsin 2 — Minnesota State sweeps series over Wisconsin with 4-2 win

• Minnesota 3, Vermont 1 — Gophers pick up sweep of Catamounts with 3-1 win

• Penn State 0, Union 2 — No. 8 Union blanks men's hockey, 2-0

Women's Scores From 11/24/12:

• St. Cloud State 3, Wisconsin 6

• Ohio State 1, Princeton 2

• Minnesota 10,  New Hampshire 2

Men's Scores From 11/25/12:

• Penn State 1, Union 4 — Men's hockey falls to No. 8 Union, 4-1

Women's Scores From 11/25/12:

• Minnesota 4, New Hampshire 0

Friday, November 16, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (11/15/12-11/17/12)

Men's Scores From 11/15/12:

• Notre Dame 3, Michigan 1 — Late goals doom Michigan in loss to No. 7 Notre Dame

Men's Scores From 11/16/12:

• Northern Michigan 0, Ohio State 2 - Buckeyes shut out No. 19 Northern Michigan, 2-0

• Michigan State 2, Miami 2OT Miami wins shootout 2-0 - Spartans rally for tie with Miami, 2-2

• Notre Dame 4, Michigan 1 - Wolverines stymied by strong Irish third

• Wisconsin 2, Minnesota 2 OT - Border battle opens with 2-2 overtime tie

Women's Scores From 11/16/12:

• Wisconsin 4, Ohio State 2

• Minnesota State 0, Minnesota 3

• Penn State 1, Lindenwood 5

Men's Scores From 11/17/12:

• Michigan State 0, Miami 2 - MSU falls at Miami, 2-0

• Northern Michigan 2, Ohio State 4 - Buckeyes complete sweep of No.19 Northern Michigan with 4-2 victory

• Wisconsin 1, Minnesota 3 - Gophers close out border battle with 3-1 win

Women's Scores From 11/17/12:

• Penn State 3, Lindenwood 2

• Wisconsin 1, Ohio State 3

• Minnesota State 1, Minnesota 9

Thursday, November 15, 2012

B1G Matchup Of The Week: Wisconsin at Minnesota

By Jessi Pierce

Not much needs to be said in either locker room to get these two rival teams pumped up for this weekend series. A historic border battle dating back to the 1960s, Minnesota and Wisconsin have met at center ice 262 times, with the Gophers holding the advantage 155-86-20 against the Badgers.

Bad blood between these teams comes natural and you can all but guarantee Mariucci will be packed when their not-always-friendly neighbors roll into town Friday night.

And it's Mariucci that has the real advantage in the games. Minnesota holds a 90-27-7 record at home against Wisconsin and is currently undefeated on their M-logoed ice, going 4-0-0 so far this season plus  a win streak at home that goes back two games into the 2011-12 season.

On paper, the No. 3 Gophers look like the better team. Off to a great start behind some solid goaltending by freshman, and this week's WCHA Rookie of the Week, Adam Wilcox and equal strength on the scoring end, Minnesota is 6-2-1 on the season. A fairly young Wisconsin team, missing some top players to injury and offseason drama (see more on that below), the  Badgers are just 1-4-1. If that's not enough, Minnesota has 31 goals tallied through nine games with 18 against — more than Wisconsin's 11 goals scored this season, a WCHA worst.

But Gopher players, and fans, know not to underestimate the Badgers and are smart enough to not call the sweep too early. Last year heading to the Kohl Center Minnesota was atop the national polls and yet only came away with a split after the Badgers took a big 4-1 win in the first game of the series. To cast even more reason why a tally in the win column can go either way: The Badgers are 5-2-1 over their past six games against Minnesota in Mariucci. No win is a guarantee; especially in this rivalry.

How the teams did last weekend: Minnesota is coming off a weekend at Alaska Anchorage where the Gophs snuck out three points, taking a 2-2 overtime draw on Saturday. Minnesota's power play unit looked unreal last weekend, accounting for five of the six total goals between Friday and Saturday. The Gopher's power play  now ranks third in the nation with .286 conversation on their chances with the man advantage. Wilcox also earned his second shutout of the season with a 4-0 victory over the Seawolves on Friday.

The Badgers had a bye this past weekend and are coming off a tough sweep by Colorado College in its home opener Nov. 2 and 3. A promising ray of light however, as four different players on Wisconsin scored in Friday's 5-4 overtime loss to the Tigers.

Ouch: The Badgers are a bit beat up and bruised, with junior forward Mark Zengerle still battling injury that came in the second period of the Nov. 2 game against CC. Zengerle led the team last year with 50 points — fourth in the nation — and 37 assists. There is no question he is missed on the ice. Another big hit for Wisconsin came when Nic Kerdiles was handed an unheard of yearlong suspension by the NCAA for an amateurism violation. Kerdiles, a highly touted forward entering his freshman year with the Badgers after playing with the U.S. National Team Development Program, appealed the NCAA ruling and was instead suspended for just 10 games, eligible to play Nov. 30 against Denver.

Despite the suspension and not being on the ice in Minnesota this weekend, Kerdiles already had a sneak peek of what the Gophers have to offer, suiting up with his former team when Minnesota hosted the U.S. U-18 team Oct. 26. Minnesota tied the Under-18 team 2-2.

For more on the Kerdiles eligibility situation, Chris Peters of United States of Hockey does a great job breaking it down and following it through to the end.

Players to watch: Wilcox is making the saves between the pipes for the Gophers no question, but the scoring prowess on Minnesota is almost unparalleled. They have three lines that can control the puck and bury it when the time comes. Kyle Rau, Erik Haula, Zach Budish, Seth Ambroz, Justin Holl, Ben Marshall.... take your pick, the Gophers have weapons on both the front and blue lines.

For Wisconsin junior forward Michael Mersch is stepping up in the absence of Zengerle, leading the Badger squad with four goals. Between the pipes sophomore Joel Rumpel is off to a shaky start, much like the rest of his team but with some help from defenseman John Ramage and Jake McCabe — both still needing to step up — it might take some of the pressure of the netminder and keep the puck out of the Wisconsin zone.

Like I noted last year, momentum in this series is always key. Whoever scores the first goal will most likely come out on top. Yet saying that, I have to be honest and the Minnesota side is heavily favored for obvious reason. It's going to be a tough one for the Badgers and I hope they make it a series worth watching.

Prediction: Minnesota with the sweep, Friday night score 5-2, Saturday 2-1.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (11/9/12-11/11/12)

Men's Scores From 11/9/12: 

• Michigan State 1, Michigan 5 — U-M wins first game of home-and-home with Spartans

• Alaska 1, Ohio State 1 OT Ohio State wins shooutout, 2-1 (6 rounds) — Buckeye skate to 1-1 tie with Nanooks, prevail in shootout

• Minnesota 4, Alaska-Anchorage 0 — Willcox, power play carry Gophers to 4-0 win over Seawolves

• Air Force 5, Penn State 1 — Men's hockey drops 5-1 contest to Air Force

American Collegiate Hockey Association DI/Non-NCAA

• Non-ACHA team 0, Indiana University 4
• Arizona 4, Illinois 5

Men's Scores From 11/10/12:

• Michigan 2, Michigan State 7 — Record crowd watches 7-2 rout of Michigan

• Alaska 3, Ohio State 1 — Buckeyes fall to Alaska 3-1

• Minnesota 2, Alaska-Anchorage 2 OT — Gophers skate to 2-2 overtime time in Anchorage

• Air Force 1, Penn State 5 — Five players score in 5-1 win over Air Force


• Illinois 2, Robert Morris 8

Women's Scores From 11/10/12:

• Robert Morris 7, Penn State 1

Women's Scores From 11/11/12:

• Robert Morris at Penn State 2 ET

Friday, November 2, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (11/02/12 - 11/04/12)

Men's Scores From 11/02/12:

• Bowling Green 1, Michigan State 0 — Spartans fall, 1-0, to Bowling Green

• Michigan 4,  Northern Michigan 4 OT, Michigan wins shootout 1-0 — Treais provides heroics in comeback at Northern Michigan

• Minnesota State 2,  Minnesota 3 — Power-play goals push Gophers to 3-2 win over Mavericks

• Colorado College 5, Wisconsin 4 OT — Colorado College spoils Bob Johnson night, downs Wisconsin in overtime 

Women's Score From 11/02/12:

• Ohio State 3, St. Cloud State 2

• Minnesota 4, Minnesota-Duluth 1

• Minnesota State 0, Wisconsin 2

• Sacred Heart 0, Penn State 6

Men's Scores From 11/03/12:

• Michigan State 6, Bowling Green 1 — Big nights from DeBlouw, Berry help Spartans to split

• Michigan 3, Northern Michigan 4 — U-M unable to rally for second straight night at NMU

• Minnesota 3,  Minnesota State 5 — Haula's three point night not enough as Gophers fall to Mavs

• Colorado College 3, Wisconsin 0 — Tigers blank Badgers, sweep series with 3-0 win

• Buffalo State 2,  Penn State 4 — Glen scores twice in victory over Buffalo State

Women's Scores From 11/03/12:

• Ohio State 4, St. Cloud State 2

• Minnesota 4, Minnesota-Duluth 0

• Minnesota State 0, Wisconsin 5

• Sacred Heart 2, Penn State 8

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Who Should Get The Next B1G Hockey Invite?

By Jessi Pierce

Ah, the smell of college hockey is in the air. As the last season before Big Ten Hockey broaches itself on the NCAA landscape gets underway, rumors of course swirl around who could be next to join Big Ten Hockey status.

Truth is, it's difficult to make the leap to that next level. With Title IX to be considered and the most important aspect being the funds needed to make a Div.I caliber team, not everyone can make the seemingly easy transition that Penn State did — though we here at Big Ten Hockey wish they all could.

Still, let's look at some of the reasons each Big Ten school could, given the right funding and support, open the gates for hockey.

University of Illinois
Located in Urbana-Champaigne, Ill.
• DI sports: Men's —baseball, basketball, cross country, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and wrestling.
Women's — basketball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

A program that I became familiar with during my time at Iowa State, Illinois is an obvious choice. The state itself is a hotbed for hockey. To begin, you have the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship Chicago Blackhawks, the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves, a great feeder team for the NHL's Vancouver Canucks and kids in Illinois rival neighboring Minnesota with the passion they have for the game beginning at the Peewee levels. The only thing missing it seems is college hockey.

The Fighting Illini have seen success on the ice in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) DI club level, winning the national championship in 2008 (with not a loss all season to blemish their record) and in 2005 — defeating then ACHA Penn State. They were also crowned runners-up in 2009 and 2002 — losing to Penn State in '02.

Anyone visiting the Illinois Ice Arena, or the "Big Pond," knows the atmosphere is intense, similar to what can be seen at NCAA DI hockey stage. Fans hover over the opposing players bench and the rink itself is built to be Olympic size, making it an even tougher challenge for visiting teams.

It would be a great move for this program. Recruits would be plenty in the state and I imagine would most definitely draw interested parties from outside its borders.

More on the current team and club program is offered here in the school's student newspaper.

Imagining the move to DI: 2018

Indiana University
Located in Bloomington, Ind.
• DI sports: Men's —basketball, football, soccer, swimming and diving, golf, tennis, wrestling, track and field and cross country.
Women's — basketball, soccer, cross country, rowing, field hockey, tennis, water polo, golf, track and field, volleyball and softball.

While Indiana may not possess some of the obvious benefits that Illinois did, they still have something to bring to the Big Ten Hockey table.

Typically known as a basketball state, the Hoosiers made the move from Div. II ACHA club level to DI in 2008. Another opponent for the Cyclones, I was able to see some strengths in the fairly new team. Though not a lot of depth, Indiana was able to hold their own at the ACHA DI level in one of the arguably tougher conferences, the Central States Collegiate Hockey League.

From the sounds of it, Indiana continues to see their club program grow in interest. Crowds will be a tough sell, with the Hoosier basketball team dominating the fanbase which could also potentially make recruitment hard as hockey is not the main choice in winter sports for youth.

They probably aren't even considering the option in Bloomington just yet, but should they talk about it I can see Indiana being one of the last teams to join the Big Ten. Still would be great to have them.

Imagining the move to DI: 2024

University of Iowa
Located in Iowa City, Iowa
• DI sports: Men's —baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, swimming and diving, gymnastics, track and field, cross country and wrestling.
Women's —basketball, golf, field hockey, rowing, tennis, softball, cross country, track and field, gymnastics, swimming and diving, soccer and volleyball.

Another newcomer on the ACHA DI scene, putting all rivalries aside, the Hawkeyes also have some potential. There were meek beginnings for the club team at first, barely able to field more than two lines and desperate for players. I'm told both the team, and program, have grown since then.

As much of a surprise as it may be to some, Iowa actually has its fair share of hockey pockets, too. Home to numerous junior hockey teams including Iowa City's neighboring Cedar Rapids where the United States Hockey League's Roughriders reign, Iowa has more than just farmland.

Football is king on the Iowa City campus as is wrestling, but with such a short season, how great would it be to add hockey into the winter mix. I know first hand (as a Gopher and Cyclone) how passionate those Hawkeye fans can be and I can see hockey bringing out the crowd even louder.

Imagining the move to DI: 2022

University of Nebraska
Located in Lincoln, Neb.
• DI sports: Men's —baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, tennis, track and field and wrestling.
Women's — basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, gymnastics, rifle, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

A newcomer to the Big Ten league and a powerhouse in football, volleyball and at times baseball and basketball, the idea of introducing hockey into the mix is exciting on a variety of levels.

We talked about Cornhusker hockey a year ago and Corn Nation entertained the idea recently, planting the seed in people's minds once again.

Nebraska, like the others could pull this off. Omaha has seen great success in the Div. I rankings with the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks holding their own not only in the competition, but in the market as well.

Just getting things on ice rolling with an ACHA Div.III hockey team, time will tell how successful a DI program could be in Lincoln. The USHL has given a home to the Stars which has seen varied success of its own, but it still begs the question of how great a market could be in Nebraska.

Imagining the move to DI: 2020

Northwestern University
Located in Evanston, Ill.
• DI sports: Men's — baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving and wrestling.
Women's —basketball, golf, swimming and diving, fencing, lacrosse, cross country, field hockey, softball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

Another Chicago based school, I echo many of the same sentiments for Northwestern as I did with Illinois only with slightly less aggressiveness.

Northwestern is currently playing ACHA Div. III club hockey and with the ability to draw on local hockey players still interested in playing hockey has been able to maintain a roster of some depth.

Big Ten anchor Rick Pizzo tweeted to B1G Ice Hockey Thursday that a Northwestern journalism student had recently contacted him in regards to the school making the hockey move up. Here is what Pizzo had to say in his tweets to us:

A B1G shout-out to Pizzo for keeping the topic going, and Wildcats it looks like you have someone backing you guys for the move up.

Imagining the move to DI: 2020

Purdue University
Located in West Lafayette, Ind.
• DI sports: Men's —baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, wrestling and track and field.
Women's —basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

Purdue, similar to its state counterpart Indiana, has made little effort to jump on the ice.

Purdue is another one quietly making ripples in the ACHA. There's a passion on the ice, but not quite a enough. For that reason, I foresee them being the last to join Big Ten Hockey, if ever. Again, not that it wouldn't be great to have them join!

Imagining the move to DI: 2027

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (10/25/12- 10/28/12)

Women's Scores From 10/25/12:
  • RIT 4, Penn State 1
Men's Scores From 10/26/12:
Women's Scores From 10/26/12:
  • RIT 2, Penn State 2 OT
  • Bemidji State 1, Ohio State 4
  • New Hampshire 1, Wisconsin 2
Men's Scores From 10/27/12:
Women's Scores From 10/27/12:
  • Bemidji State 1, Ohio State 10
  • Minnesota 5, North Dakota 1
Men's Scores From 10/28/12:
  • Canisius @ Minnesota 1:05 CT
Women's Scores From 10/28/12:
  • Minnesota @North Dakota 2:05 CT
  • New Hampshire @ Wisconsin 2:05 CT

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (10/19/12-10/21/12)

Men's s Scores from 10/19/12:

Women's Scores From 10/19/12:
  • Ohio State 2, Minnesota 7
  • Bemidji State 1, Wisconsin 0
  • Penn State 1, Sacred Heart 2

Men's Scores From 10/20/12:

Women's Scores From 10/20/12:
  • Ohio State 0, Minnesota 8
  • Penn State 5, Sacred Heart 1

Women's Scores From 10/21/12:
  • Bemidji State 3, Wisconsin 3 OT, Wisconsin wins shootout 2-0

Friday, October 12, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (10/11/12-10/13/12)

Men's Scores From 10/11/12:

Men's Scores From 10/12/12:

Women's Scores From 10/12/12:

  • North Dakota 3, Ohio State 5
  • Minnesota 5, St. Lawrence 0

Men's Scores From 10/13/12:

Women's Scores From 10/13/12:

  • Syracuse 4, Penn State 0
  • North Dakota 2, Ohio State 0
  • Wisconsin 0, Minnesota-Duluth 2
  • Minnesota 6, St. Lawrence 0

Women's Scores From 10/14/12:

  • Syracuse @ Penn State 2 ET
  • Wisconsin @ Minnesota-Duluth 3:05 CT

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Will The NHL Lockout Affect The College Game?

By Jessi Pierce

The inevitable became a reality at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 16.

Hockey fans will be without a professional season — or at least a delayed start — for the second time in eight years with the NHLPA and NHL owners not agreeing to terms for a CBA.

Before I go off on a tangent about the frustrations of losing another season of the professional sport that has to work so hard to gain the attention of fans in the first place, I will start by stating the obvious:

It sucks.

It sucks for the sport of hockey, and mostly it sucks for its fans.

Locking the doors to professional teams and a season of course always begs the question: Will it help enhance the college hockey season as fan focus shifts to the collegiate level in attempts to quench their thirst for the game that was taken away for the year?

I have always been a devout college hockey fan, especially in the years when the state of hockey had no pro team and where the Gophers have always reigned as "Minnesota's Pride On Ice." We already saw NBC Sports Network release a beefed up college hockey schedule for this year as the lockout loomed. The programming will include 24 match-ups — including Wisconsin and Michigan State games — beginning in October in an effort to alleviate TV scheduling lost from an undetermined amount of a missing NHL season.

Yes, that's pretty great for college hockey, and hockey in general, to add more exposure in a season starting in professional turmoil. And on a broad scale, I do think that in areas where an NHL team is based, college games might have a few more seats filled.

Add in the fact that the allure of the NHL to players who might be more likely to jump ship in favor of a signing bonus is now tainted, sure, the NHL lockout has some bright spots in college hockey. the grand scheme of the whole mess, while I would love to see everyone hop on the bandwagon of college hockey for this season, the truth is, the lockout is terrible for the sport overall.

It's a blatant disrespect for fans. Fans whose money is being fought over. Fans who love the game and shell out ticket, merchandise and concession money year after year wanting nothing more than to see and experience the game they love.

How long will the NHL and player's union hold out? In my opinion, probably not the entire 2012-13 season, and it will be a welcome relief when the college teams take to the ice on time in October.

So what do you guys think? In your minds, how will this lockout affect NCAA hockey and the sport beyond this year? Comment, Tweet (@B1GIceHockey) or email us at

Let's hear it!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Look Back At The WCHA And CCHA

By Jessi Pierce

Ah that picture brings a bittersweet feeling to my heart. One of my favorite rivalry traditions enters its last season for the Gophers and Fighting Sioux North Dakota as conference rivals, although I am sure the bad blood will be maintained between the two teams beyond this season and for years to come.

As the WCHA and CCHA prepare their final descent with current conference teams before the Big Ten Hockey Conference imposes itself on the Big Ten teams, I wanted to first take a look back at each conference and all they have accomplished.

Western Collegiate Hockey Conference   
Founded: 1951
Former names: Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (MCHL), Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (WIHL)
Conference teams beginning 2013-14:  Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Mankato and Northern Michigan
Losing: Minnesota, Wisconsin to Big Ten & St. Cloud State, Colorado College, Denver, North Dakota, University of Minnesota-Duluth and Nebraska-Omaha to NCHC

It’s one of the most storied conferences in college hockey to date and a conference with a long list of success. Founded under then a conference named the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League in 1951, Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State had previously played together in that same MCHL along with original members Michigan Tech, North Dakota, Colorado College and Denver. The MCHL was later re-named Western Intercollegiate Hockey League in 1953 before owning the now infamous WCHA title it holds today.

Proud home to Minnesota, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State, Colorado College, Denver, North Dakota, Bemidji State, Alaska Anchorage, Mankato State, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and Michigan Tech, the WCHA boasts some of college hockey’s most dominant teams with the hardware to prove it.

In 61 years, the WCHA has assembled one of the most impressive national championship records in any collegiate conference of any sport, amassing 37 men’s national championships and another 27 runner-up honors. Atop that, there has been at least one berth in the national championship round (Frozen Four) in 56 of 60 seasons overall and is proud home to 14 Hobey Baker winners and more than 400 NHL players past and present.

Central Collegiate Hockey Association
Founded: 1971
Former names: None
Conference teams beginning in 2013-14: None, conference folds.
Losing: Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to Big Ten, Lake Superior State, Bowling Green Alaska Fairbanks to WCHA, Miami-Ohio to NCHC & Notre Dame to Hockey East

It's sad to see a conference that seemed to be getting some solid footing under it in the last 31 years disband due to teams fleeing to other conferences, but such is the way realignment goes.

Home to big guns Michigan and Michigan State and promising seasons from Ohio State, Miami-Ohio and Notre Dame, the CCHA has also seen its fair share of success on the ice, accounting for 23 of 80 NCAA Frozen Four participants from 1992-2011. Although the championship trophies are not quite as bountiful as seen in the WCHA or Hockey East, the CCHA has seen the likes of Bowling Green (1984), Michigan State (1986, 2007), Lake Superior State (1988, 1992, 1994), Northern Michigan (1991) and Michigan (1996, 1998) etch their names on an NCAA Championship. Further more, big names like Ryan Miller, Ryan Kesler, Marty Turco, Duncan Keith and Brian Roloston — just to name a few — have developed under teams in the CCHA.

Coming up...A look at the schedule for these two programs last season together and what it will mean.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My B1G Thought

By Jessi Pierce

***Editor's note: I am admitting my homer status as a Minnesota fan upfront to kick things off in this post, based entirely on my personal opinions.

Little more than a year ago, I echoed the sentiments of that weary Minnesota fan in the above video.

I'll be honest, I despised the idea of a Big Ten hockey conference from the first moment I had heard about it. A loyal WCHAer, I was fuming over the thought of losing the passion in the rivalries that the Gophers had established in the course of 61 years in the WCHA and the idea of losing some phenomenal conference competition. Just all around unhappy, not unlike many of the fans out there that I have spoken to and heard from.

Now for the cooling down process.

Once I set my own personal gripes with the conference aside, I began to think on a broader level of what exactly this meant for college hockey as a whole. On that basis, I see the impact of a Big Ten hockey conference having amazing potential to truly help the sport that fans love.

As I mentioned in one of my first posts on this blog, with a Big Ten hockey conference comes the synonymous Big Ten name and like it or not, it's more widely known than the Western Collegiate Hockey Association or Central Collegiate Hockey Association to people outside of the hockey realm. What a great way to expand and invite Big Ten — especially Penn State — fans to the game of hockey.

With the Big Ten name also comes the big bucks. With the financial backing of the Big Ten and Big Ten Network, it's golden for every single one of these programs. The Big Ten Network will guarantee fantastic media coverage throughout the entire season. Admit it, that's exciting stuff.

The biggest argument that goes against the Big Ten would be in the loss of rivalries, a legit concern that as you read even I had, especially when you consider the tickets sales for those games are great for both the bigger schools and the smaller ones alike when that competition comes around each season. It was announced a few months ago by Gopher Head Coach Don Lucia that a deal has been worked out that will include all Minnesota teams (St. Cloud, Duluth, Mankato and Bemidji) guaranteed match-ups with the Gophers throughout the season as well as the famed North Dakota rivalry. I imagine similar schedules will be worked out for the other schools that have set their own rivalry traditions because with only six teams playing two series' a season, there is plenty of room for outside competition.

That of course begs the argument that, "it won't be the same when we play those teams," but won't it? It will still be about the bragging rights and will still effect the record on the season as a whole, so why treat those games as though it's not as important now that it's non-conference. As a Cyclone, I know first hand how much Iowa State still loves to beat Iowa despite being in two different conferences and it is still considered one of the biggest games of the season. I see no reason why non-conference games that hold the same intense rivalry for the hockey teams will be treated any differently.

Another interesting point to note is that the Gophers are one of the founding members of the now dominant WCHA. What better team to be one of the stronger building blocks of the Big Ten hockey conference? Add in storied programs Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State and a solid base is laid for what is going to be a very promising program. And of course none of this is to discredit Penn State or Ohio State, both schools are equally as well known for athletics on a national level and with the addition of another sport, especially against some of the best competition in college hockey in the aforementioned schools, it's a win for them, too.

But love it or hate it, with the 2013-14 season comes the Big Ten and really the fans can help make it or break it. Why not try to shine some of the positives and see what in fact it could bring. It's not the first conference realignment and it's sure to not be the last and I am excited to see what might happen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We asked, you answered... (well a few of you)

 So we know that yes, not everyone is the biggest fan of the latest Big Ten hockey conference, and that's alright. But we thought it'd be nice for you to explain in your own words what you think about it. Like it, hate it or absolutely love it, we asked for it and you answered...well three of you did anyway. Big shoutout to Tony, Kyle and Reed for sharing your input on the upcoming conference. Here's what they said and your opinions are always welcome!


Going to be honest - Not a fan of the Big Ten hockey conference. The only plus is more TV coverage with Big Ten Network.

Now for the negatives...
1. Being a Michigan hockey season ticket holder I enjoyed seeing teams like Notre Dame, Miami, Western, etc coming to Yost. The new conference has spiraled the college hockey world out of control. What made college hockey special was big schools competing closely with little schools. How will non-conference scheduling work?
2. I don't think a 6 team conference it really "legit". Two perfectly good conferences were destroyed (with the CCHA dying completely). How many times will we be playing the same teams over and over again? At least with the CCHA we had 10 more teams to play...with Big Ten we only have 5. As much as I hate MSU, playing them so many time gets boring.
3. Where will the championship be played? Will it move around? WIll it always be at Xcel? Since that seems to be where everything seems to end up.

I would support a Big Ten Hockey conference if at least 10 of the Big Ten schools had teams.

Kyle Rossi:
I'll be honest, when Penn State first announced the creation of an NCAA program, I hoped we'd just take that 12th slot in the CCHA for a few reasons. First, I didn't want to rock the boat as the new kid and create the massive shakeup that ended up happening (including the part where many blame/hate PSU over it). I also felt like the CCHA offered a great mix of name schools for the casual fan - Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame - as well as schools like Miami that hockey people recognize as name programs. That leads into my final and biggest reason: the CCHA also had several schools that struggle more often than not like Bowling Green, Lake Superior State and a couple others. As a new program, I realize that we're not going to be very good out of the gate, and I thought it would be helpful to have a few weaker programs to climb over in the standings before worrying about beating Michigan. There are no weak programs in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten is going to be TOUGH, the best conference in college hockey in my opinion, and I have no idea how Penn State's ever going to win a conference championship ahead of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan (I suppose you can say that about the CCHA too, but at the same time, finishing 4th of 12 is better than finishing 4th of 6). It's going to be a tremendous battle for us to finish even in the top half of the league, and I hope we know what we've gotten ourselves into and how to compete with some of the best programs in history.

That said, I'm extremely excited for the BTN/media side of this whole thing. As a fan of a team only watchable via UStream or actually being at the game to this point, it blows my mind that Penn State hockey will be on "real" TV at some point. Even when we're not, the streaming will be of a much higher quality than what we're used to over in ACHAland! I also can't wait to get to know our new rivals, their players, coaches, traditions, and everything else. I have so much respect for all of them, and it's going to be a blast. 

Reed Miller:
As a Penn State fan, I'm kind of indifferent. I'm just glad we're finally going to have D1 hockey.

I would have been fine with joining the CCHA or ECAC but if having a B1G league means more of our road games will be on tv than that's good too.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fan Feedback

So I've gotten a lot of personal feedback about Big Ten hockey, most not in favor of the conference. So what do you think? Shoot us an email at and let us know how you really feel about the new Big Ten Hockey Conference and why. Responses will be posted by the end of the week (Friday March 16). Let's hear it folks!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (2/24/12-2/26/12)

(Articles are linked once available)

Men's Scores from 1/24/12:

Women's Scores from 1/24/12 (WCHA Tournament):
  • Ohio State 3, Minnesota-Duluth 4
  • St. Cloud State 1, Minnesota 6
  • Minnesota State 0, Wisconsin 7

Men's Scores from 1/25/12:

Women's Scores from 1/25/12 (WCHA Tournament):
  • Ohio State 2, Minnesota-Duluth 3 OT
  • St. Cloud State 0, Minnesota 6
  • Minnesota State 0, Wisconsin 4

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

B1G Tournament Talk

By Jessi Pierce

Another college hockey season is closing in upon us with the ‘real’ March Madness on ice beginning in just a few short weeks. As attention shifts to conference tournament play we of course have to bring the latest in discussion of a Big Ten hockey tournament.

Previously announced as a tournament involving all six teams to be played at the arena of the conference champion, Scott Chipman, the Big Ten assistant commissioner for communications, told the Star Tribune’s Roman Augustovitz earlier this month that those plans had been “scrapped” in favor of a neutral site.

The clear favorite to host the first conference tournament is the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and sources have told media outlets that the Big Ten is hoping to finalize a deal with the arena by the end of the month. With nothing confirmed as of yet, odds still remain in favor of the Minnesota Wild’s home rink but offers up discussion for other potential sites. So let’s do what we do best and break it down:

Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minn.
Capacity: 18, 064

Opening in 2000 after the return of professional hockey to Minnesota, the X has been host to a slew of notable hockey events. Each March, the coveted Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament resides there just one week prior to the Red Baron WCHA Final Five, both which tend to be host to at least one near (if not an actual) sell-out contest each year. The X also displayed two NCAA Frozen Fours in 2002 and 2011 and boasts the largest crowd to watch an indoor college hockey game with 19,463 witnessing Blake Wheeler’s reach-out goal in overtime to push the Gophers past North Dakota for the 2007 WCHA Championship. There’s no doubt that it’s an arena perfect for a conference tourney.

But according to Augustovitz, the “Big Ten Conference is just one of three conferences looking at the Xcel as a possible site for its postseason tournament.” As just mentioned, the WCHA is still looking to host its conference tournament there, with Commissioner Bruce McLeod telling Augustovitz, “It is still in play for what will be a newly configured WCHA in 2013-14. But we have a plan A and B. There are still some things going on that will effect everybody.”

With Minnesota’s own University of Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State University along with former WCHA member’s Denver, Colorado College and North Dakota used to playing postseason action at the Xcel, the NCHC is the third team eyeing it for its tournament, too.

Despite the options for the rink in the State of Hockey, the Big Ten is first in line for the spot, with McLeod stating, "The way things are lining up, we [the WCHA] are not the first in line," McLeod said, referring to holding a postseason tournament at the X. "Once the Big Ten decides what they would like to do, it will have a domino effect. They might decide to rotate their tournament and not have it exclusively at the Xcel."
Joe Louis Arena 
Capacity: 20,066

Another great option with both Michigan and Michigan State in its vicinity, the Joe, like the X, has seen its fair share of on-ice action over the years. Home to some of hockey’s elite players with the likes of Gordie Howe and the Detroit Red Wings, it also plays host to the annual Great Lakes Invitational and CCHA tournament.

A bit older than the X, but also providing a wealth of rich hockey tradition I could see the Joe hosting the Big Ten conference tournament after the X if it is decided that a rotating location will work best. An edge that the Joe holds over the X is location, seeing as more of a mid-way point for most teams as opposed to the haul to Minnesota — the furthest west in the conference.

Consol Energy Center
Capacity: 18,387

With newly incumbent Penn State, a location out east is definitely an option to take in to consideration. The newest of the three locations mentioned — with just one full season under its belt — and the latest home to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Consol Energy Center is no stranger to large fan bases, named the best NHL arena for 2010-11.

The Consol Energy Center was also selected to host the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four which will be a great grade for the allure it can bring to a Big Ten tournament down the road.

Other potential options: Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, The United Center in Chicago and Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

While each venue brings its own character and reasons for hosting, in my opinion, it would be in the best interest of the Big Ten to do a rotating tournament. Why not use the allure of postseason games to draw more fans out in places outside of Minnesota and Michigan. It’s been typical for arenas to maintain location for conference tournaments (WCHA and the X, CCHA and the Joe etc.) but that’s not always best. For example, the hiccup that the Xcel Energy Center poses in being a permanent location is that Minnesota is the westernmost Big Ten team, making travel difficult for plenty of Penn State and even Ohio State fans.

“Do you believe in Miracles? YES!”

It still gives me chills. Even born seven years later, YouTube, remakes and overall obsession (only intensified interning at USA Hockey) have allowed me to relive that 1980 moment over and over again. A moment that has been named the greatest in sports history and the top of the 20th century — and rightfully so — it reminds us, like Al Michaels and the 1980 U.S. Olympic team did, to believe in miracles.

32 years ago to date, a 4-3 score on a sheet of ice in Lake Placid, N.Y., changed, if even just for a little bit, the game of hockey, bringing together avid fans and those who knew nothing of the game all at once. And, it changed the idea that amateur and collegiate players could not defeat the best hockey team in the world in the Soviets.

The 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team rostered nine University of Minnesota players (Mike Ramsey, Rob McClanahan, Steve Janaszak, Steve Cristoff, Bill Baker, Neal Broten, Buzz Schnieder, Eric Strobel and Phil Verchota) and two University of Wisconsin players (Bob Suter and Mark Johnson) and included Golden Gopher Coach Herb Brooks as its leader.

So in honor of that amazing moment, enjoy this clip. America!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where Will the Big Ten Stack Up in Hockey Conferences?

By Jessi Pierce

So we've looked at the ins and outs and the odds and ends of the Big Ten Conference. Now it's time to see where these teams, and overall this conference, will rate against the more established Hockey East, and equally new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

This conference has pulled in some of the greats who have showed their prowess in the former Western Collegiate Hockey Conference. Team's that have squared off numerous times throughout the year in the past will now have -- as announced last week -- a 24-game league schedule among its eight members, meaning each team will square off four times against five opponents, leaving just twice for the other opponent.

There's no doubt the NCHC has strength on a variety of levels. With 17 NCAA National Championships among them, many of these teams are no stranger to winning seasons and the big dance on ice at the end of the season. In turn, the NCHC boasts some of the top-recruiters in the nation in North Dakota and Denver with Colorado College and University of Minnesota-Duluth nipping at their heels.

As any WCHA loyal knows, it's a conference that has dominated college hockey for decades and with the meat of that conference now in the NCHC, it as well will be a force to be reckoned with starting in 2013-14.

The Hockey East is one of the top conferences not really affected by the "B1G Shakeup", keeping all of their original members and adding another hockey powerhouse in Notre Dame. Like the NCHC/WCHA, Hockey East has shown tremendous winning power with 10 NCAA National Champsionships and likewise, some of the top college hockey programs in Boston University and Boston College.

Always a power-struggle between Hockey East and WCHA, I can only expect the struggle continue with the NCHC when the 2013-14 season rolls around. Adding Notre Dame will only increase its number of dominant teams.

The conference we've all been waiting for -- and the one that started teams scrambling for a new home. The Big Ten Conference has some of the most well-known and dominant teams in hockey college history. Topping both of the aforementioned conferences with 23 NCAA Championship titles between them, in addition to an up and coming Ohio State program and an ACHA dominant Penn State, I am excited to think that this will be one of the top hockey conference beginning in 2013-14.

Ok, I know it sounds a bit biased, and maybe it is, but breaking it down, there is little reason to doubt that assumption. Even financially, these programs are the most stable, drawing a huge fanbase from each respective school which I anticipate will only continue into the new conference.

It can be argued that its schedule -- formatting only six teams compared to the NCHC's eight and Hockey East's 12 -- is weak, but with only 20 league games for each team, it also allows the team's to get creative with their out of league opponents.

Take Minnesota for example. Not only will the Big Ten format allow the Gophers to maintain the rivals created in the WCHA (Lucia has already announced that the Gophers will play eight games against Minnesota teams each year), it leaves room to not only include famed rival North Dakota, but get creative and draw in opponents from Hockey East -- something that in the past has typically only been left for tournament play.

It's hard to not look at this conference and see the powerhouses. Elite status? maybe, time will tell folks. But a conference with plenty of power to establish themselves as a top conference on the college hockey landscape.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (1/27/12-1/29/12)

(Articles are linked once available)

Men's Scores from 1/27/12:
Women's Scores from 1/27/12:
  • Minnesota 6, Minnesota State 3 
  • North Dakota 2, Ohio State 6
  • Bemidji State 2, Wisconsin 3 OT 
Men's Scores from 1/28/12:
Women's Scores from 1/28/12:
  • Minnesota 4, Minnesota State 1
  • North Dakota 5, Ohio State 2
  • Bemidji State 0, Wisconsin 1

Friday, January 20, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (1/20/12-1/22/12)

(Articles are linked once available)

Men's Scores from 1/20/12:
Women's Scores from 1/20/12:
  • Minnesota State 1, Ohio State 3
  • Bemidji State 2, Minnesota 3
  • Minnesota-Duluth 0, Wisconsin 2
Men's Scores from 1/21/12:
Women's Scores from 1/21/12:
  • Minnesota State 2, Ohio State 4
  • Bemidji State 3, Minnesota 3 (Minnesota wins in SO)
  • Minnesota-Duluth 3, Wisconsin 4 (OT)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Something in the Water at Penn State?: Former Gopher Max Gardiner Heads to Penn State

By Jessi Pierce

Maybe it's the allure of a brand new arena. Or maybe it's the appeal of putting an unknown team on the map as they forge ahead into unchartered waters in a teams history. Whatever it is, Penn State's doing something right, tabbing their first ever NHL draft pick yesterday with the announcement that Max Gardiner (St. Louis Blues, 2010 3rd Rd.) has committed to PSU.

The highly sought-after recruit has already had a taste of NCAA Div.I action, suiting up with his hometown--and future Penn State Big Ten rival--Minnesota Gophers for the 2010-11 season.

But limited playing time with the Gophs caused the Minnetonka, Minn., native to rethink his options and the forward decided to leave Minnesota in favor of the USHL, where the Dubuque Fighting Saints wasted no time nabbing his rights.

"We had a good conversation and he was disappointed in the ice time he received last year and was concerned about playing time in the upcoming season," said Minnesota coach Don Lucia in a released statement to the press last May. "Leaving assures him of the ice time he is looking for. I am disappointed he is leaving, but I understand his decision and wish him the best of luck."

Seeing action in only 17 games and registering one goal and two assists for Minnesota, the USHL has been a much better option (as the Minnesota program has often be heavily criticized in recent years for grabbing players directly from high school without allowing development in juniors) for the former Skipper who helped lead his team in the 2010 Minnesota State High School Championships.

Now in 21 games, the left-hander has tallied 11 points and has certainly come into his own as of late this season.

Will he make an immediate impact for Penn State? Maybe. Is it a great lock for the Icers/Nittany Lions? Absolutely.

I say only maybe because, while an excellent player in high school, Gardiner really has yet to prove himself at a level beyond that. Struggles at Minnesota didn't necessarily disappear while in juniors as the once power forward still needs time to gain his footing.

Despite that, there is no doubt in my mind, or I am sure many others, that Gardiner will be a sensation on the ice for this Penn State team. Already drawing on the talent of Taylor Holmstrom (Mercyhurst transfer),  Bryce Johnson (St. Cloud State transfer who, like Gardiner opted for USHL after freshman campaign), Gardiner will be able to move around with these two and plenty of others.

The Gardiner news, while not quite on the hot news circuit yet, is sure to gain attention and shift focus on to recruits entering the  PSU hockey organization. The forward committing to Penn State also speaks volumes on this program, with Gardiner being heavily recruited by other Div. I schools such as North Dakota and Western Michigan.

All in all another shocking, and impressive, move for Penn State as the program continues to develop into an elite Div. I contender.

For even more on Max Gardiner, check out the Thank You Terry site. Some great stats and breakdowns.