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