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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

B1G Player in the Big Leagues: Jack Skille

By Jessi Pierce

There’s no sweeter story than going to play college hockey for your hometown team. It’s the team you grew up cheering for and the team who’s posters and banners most likely hung on your bedroom wall. That’s exactly the sentiments that Jack Skille echoed when I had a chance to chat with the Madison, Wis., native last year.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a Badger,” said Skille, who now suits up for the NHL’s Florida Panthers. “My dad was a Badger and I used to fall asleep at the games when I was a little kid. It was a dream come true the day they offered me that full scholarship and I jumped on it.

"Being able to go home and play in front of my family friends was something truly great."

Making an immediate impact in his freshman campaign, Skille's most noteable impression was seen in the NCAA tournament when his triple-overtime game-winner pushed Wisconsin into the Frozen Four and the enivitable 2006 NCAA Championships.

"That was surreal," Skille said on winning the NCAA title. "I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys. It was a fun team to be a part of and the way [the tournament] was laid out, Green Bay and Milwaukee [for Regionals], if we were going to win a championship, that was going to be our year."

Injury sidelined the dominant forward for the 2006-07 season and following his sophomore year he turned his attention to the pros.

Drafted with the Blackhawks first pick in 2005 among an elite draft class including Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan and Jack Johnson, Skille saw ups and downs, jumping between Chicago and its affiliate in Rockford, Ill.

While it looked like Skille may have found his groove with the Blackhawks, even earning a spot on a line between Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews before rostering a permanent spot on the 4th line, a trade sent him away from the Midwest and down to Miami with the Florida Panthers where he currently has registered just six points (2G, 3A) in 31 games.

Check out my previous story and video interview with Jack Skille in USA Hockey Magazine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Feature: B1G Players in the Big Leagues

When you sit back and think about some of the most influential and dominant hockey players (with an emphasis on U.S. born ones) who comes to mind? Chances are at least half of your top ten will feature players from one of the future Big Ten hockey schools.

That's why each week, we here at B1G Ice Hockey will be bringing you a spotlighted "B1G Player in Big Leagues."

So send us some recommendations of your favorite hockey player(s), past or present, former and current NHLers (or even playing some form of pro somewhere) from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State and we will try and feature them! Email at or follow us on Twitter (@B1GIceHockey) and Facebook to share your ideas.

Up First:

Jack Skille (Wisconsin)
Erik Johnson (Minnesota)
Erik Nystrom (Michigan)
Alex Goligoski (Minnesota)

Check back soon!

Monday, January 16, 2012


We wanted to correct our past use of "Nittany Lions" in Penn State posts. Currently, the Penn State hockey team is dubbed the "Icers", not Nittany Lions. We apologize for any confusion and will be sure to use the correct nickname from here on out.

If you spot any corrections that need to be made, don't hesitate to shoot us an email at

As always thanks for reading, and check back later today as we recap yesterday's Michigan-Ohio State Frozen Diamond Matchup.

**Oops we did it again...of course we mean that we will call them the Icers for the remainder of this season...sorry Adam ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The B1G Scoreboard (1/13/12-1/15/12)

(Articles are linked once available)

Men's Scores from 1/13/12:
Women's Scores from 1/13/12:
  • Ohio State 5, Bemidji State 3
  • Minnesota 2, Minnesota-Duluth 4
  • Penn State 3, Sacred Heart 4
Men's Scores from 1/14/12:
Women's Scores from 1/14/12:
  • Ohio State 2, Bemidji State 4
  • Minnesota 3, Minnesota-Duluth 0
  • Wisconsin 8, North Dakota 2
  • Penn State 3, Sacred Heart 2 OT
Men's Scores from 1/15/12:
Women's Scores from 1/15/12:
  • Wisconsin 4, North Dakota 4 (UND wins in SO, 4 rounds)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Despite Loss, Penn State Still Winning at Citizen's Bank Park

By Jessi Pierce

It was a true test of NCAA calibur for Penn State January 3, on the same ice that just one day prior hosted another successful NHL Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers. Taking on the current NCAA III No.8 and 2009 National Champions in Neumann University, the top-ranked ACHA Icers fell to the Knights 6-3. While the outcome I'm sure wasn't exactly what Coach Guy Gadowsky had hoped for, the positives in my mind outway the tally in the loss column. Here's a look at some winning numbers from the contest:
  • 5,000- That's the number of fans that turned out to Citizen's Bank Park to watch Penn State and Neumann University. I have to admit, I am incredibly impressed and a bit surprised with that number given the non-DI prescence. It's a number that shows promise for the Icers to make that next jump up where fan bases--especially for future Big Ten teams-- are already largely established.
  • 24-22- So the scoreboard at the end of the day may not have favored Penn State, but the shot advantage did. Not only did the Icers keep pace with Neumann, but they weren't afraid to shoot.  That confidence is necessary, especially as they look ahead to next year and an even tougher schedule of games.
  • 1- Usually not a number that garners much praise, I had to toss this in there to describe Penn State's Taylor Holstrom, who played in his first ever outdoor hockey game. As mentioned by Lions247 Andrew Dzurita 

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Holstrom, literally.

“That was the first time I’ve ever played ice hockey outside and I absolutely loved it,” said the California native. “Playing outside was an unbelievable experience, I don’t know if I'll ever be able to get that opportunity again, it is definitely something I’ll remember.”

Essentially this game was more than just the win, loss or draw, but rather a game to prove to the public that Penn State is for real. An opportunity like that is given to few teams--even as we see the number of outdoor games increase in recent years--so to be able to be invited to an event like this on a stage that played host to the much-anticipated Winter Classic says enough in itself. While the game scored a loss, Penn State still netted a win and I can't wait to see this team continue to grow into a real NCAA DI contender in years to come.

And for your viewing pleasure...Some great shots from Penn State

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Going For The Gold: Big Ten Players In 2012 World Junior Championships

By Jessi Pierce

If you're looking for great hockey action--and another way to support Americuh-- during the holidays, look no further than the IIHF's 2012 World Junior Championships in Alberta, Canada.

World Juniors showcases a country's best U20 players and proves to be instrumental in many players development from college hockey to the next level. Take former Badger and current New York Ranger, Derek Stepan for instance, as described by The United States of Hockey's Chris Peters.

"Players that accept and excel in the roles their given at the World Junior Championship are probably more likely to accept and excel in roles at the next level. A player has to prove he is adaptable and versatile in this tournament to play for most teams at the WJC. If he can do that at this stage, there’s a good chance he can do it at the next.

The other big factor is that a player can certainly gain a lot of confidence and/or take a gigantic step forward at a tournament like this.

At the 2010 World Juniors, Derek Stepan likely played his way into forcing the team that drafted him to offer him an NHL contract earlier than expected. He continued to have a stellar season at Wisconsin after captaining Team USA to gold in 2010 and ended up signing on the dotted line that summer. Now he’s playing significant minutes on a good New York Rangers squad in his sophomore season."

Stepan is just one of many Big Ten hockey players to participate in World Juniors. As a Gopher fan I remember getting annoyed at the loss of our top-notch players during seemingly easy holiday tournaments and opening weekends that would have been a guarenteed win had we held on to our best performers. While the loss of a team's best are noticable, representing your country on the national level can't be beat.

This year, three Big Ten players will don the red, white and blue:
  • Jon Merrill (University of Michigan)
  • Nick Bjugstad (University of Minnesota)
  • Kyle Rau (University of Minnesota)

Photo Credit: USA Hockey
Jon Merrill (D, University of Michigan)- A member of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program since 2008-09, the 2012 World Junior Championships marks the 10th time that Merrill will wear the USA crest, including on Team USA's bronze medal finish in Buffalo, NY, last year. Despite being named one of the top three players on the 2011 World Juniors team, many worried that Merrill's off-ice problems would hinder his roster spot on this years squad but leading the blue line last year with five points and tied for a team leading four assists in six games, it's no wonder the Wolverines defenseman will be back on the ice this year. Even while missing half of the season at Michigan due to suspension, I see no reason that Merrill will not perform at his best and will be one of the top players out there for Team USA.

Photo Credit: USA Hockey

Nick Bjugstad (F, University of Minnesota)- Like Merrill, Bjugstad has suited up with Team USA numerous times before dating back to 2009. The Minnesota forward netted two game-winning goals for the bronze-medal 2011 World Junior team and came into camp ranked second in the NCAA with 26 points in 18 games. Bjugstad is a gritty scorer and a great lock for Team USA. While he was restricted to no-contact during practice and sat out during exhibition play, Bjugstad hasn't been slowed down and looks to be one of Team USA's top performers.

Photo Credit: USA Hockey
Kyle Rau (F, University of Minnesota)- Coming off an outstanding start to his freshman campaign at Minnesota, Rau continues to explode on the ice. Awarded the 2010 Mr. Hockey--given to Minnesota's most outstanding high school hockey player-- Rau is a scoring force to be reckoned with. Netting the game-winner for Eden Prairie in last year's prestigious Minnesota State High School Hockey Championship in triple overtime, he has already tallied five game-winners this season at Minnesota, tied for the most in the NCAA. It's that kind of play that will help lead Team USA and will put Rau on some outstanding top lines.

Games will be aired on both the NHL Network and as USA Hockey looks to get out of its three game slump in a must-win situation tomorrow against Lativa at 1 pm EST. Check in at USA Hockey as well as The United States of Hockey for all your World Junior Championship needs.