Michelle McMahon, December 11, 2014
This past weekend was packed with Big Ten hockey action from start to finish.
Penn State cruised to an impressive sweep against Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions are now 3-1 in Big Ten play after previously splitting with Michigan. The Wolverines made a statement against Ohio State, beating the Buckeyes 8-3 Friday night. Minnesota defeated MSU handily on Friday night, but fell to the Spartans in a shootout on Saturday night. The Gophers still earned a point for a tie, while Michigan State earned the extra point for a shootout win.
In other news, 10 Big Ten players were named to preliminary rosters for the upcoming 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Eight Big Ten players earned spots on the 29-player preliminary roster for the U.S. The list includes: JT Compher, Michael Downing, Dylan Larkin, Tyler Motte and Zach Werenski from Michigan, Ryan Collins and Hudson Fasching from Minnesota, and Jack Dougherty from Wisconsin. Each player seeks to claim one of the 23 final spots on that roster.
Additionally, the Big Ten announced an extensive agreement with Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Both men?s basketball and hockey will be featured in doubleheaders hosted by the legendary arena from 2016-2019. The first doubleheader will include a series between both Michigan and Penn State in hockey and basketball.
Before we get into a weekend preview, here are last weekends Big Ten results:
Friday, December 5
Michigan def. Ohio State, 8-3
No. 6 Minnesota def. Michigan State, 5-0
Penn State def. Wisconsin, 5-2
Saturday, December 6
Michigan State ties No. 6 Minnesota, 3-3 (MSU wins SO, 2-1)
Penn State def. Wisconsin, 4-2
Here?s what?s on the docket for this weekend:
MICHIGAN AT No. 16 BOSTON COLLEGE
When: Saturday Dec. 13 7 p.m. ET
Players to watch: Keep a look out for the second star of the week in Tyler Motte. The sophomore tallied a career-high four points in last weekend?s victory over OSU. He registered two assists on the power play and two more at even strength, combining for four assists total. Assistant captain Zach Hyman increased his point total to 17 after last weekend. Alex Kile has goals in each of the last four games, totaling six points in that span.
The latest on the Wolverines: The Wolverines are on a four-game winning streak and are coming off a statement victory over the Buckeyes last Friday. After scoring eight goals in that contest, Michigan now ranks second nationally in scoring offense and have scored 25 goals in the last four games. They have raised their conference-leading scoring average to 4.07 goals per game. Michigan holds a 7-4 advantage in 11 meetings with BC.
The latest on the Eagles: This is just the third time Michigan has taken on BC in Chestnut Hill-typically both teams faceoff on neutral sites. Head coach Jerry York is college hockey?s all-time wins leader with 972 wins in his career. BC is 8-7-1 on the season and lost to Minnesota back on Nov. 28, 6-2.
In summary: It?s always a great matchup between two of the most successful programs and coaches in college hockey. Michigan has won six of its last seven games at home, but will be tested on the road. A win against BC could give the Wolverines national relevance once again.
CLARKSON AT MICHIGAN STATE
When: Sunday Dec. 14 5 p.m. ET
How to watch: Airs live on BTN (watch on BTN2Go)
Players to watch: Michigan State?s Brent Darnell scored two goals in Saturday night?s tie against Minnesota. The senior right wing watched from the stands Friday night as a healthy scratch, but returned to the lineup in full force. Junior goalie Jake Hildebrand saved the game for the Spartans with a glove save on Minnesota?s Seth Ambroz with just 2:46 left in overtime on Saturday. He later denied Minnesota?s Connor Reilly to give MSU the 2-1 shootout over the Gophers.
The latest on the Spartans: The Spartans enter the weekend 5-9-1 overall. After falling 5-0 on Friday, MSU had an encouraging finish against Minnesota on Saturday, as they rebounded with a shootout victory over the Gophers. They earned the extra point for winning the shootout. MSU has played Clarkson just 14 times and are down by a game with a 6-7-1 record in the history of the series.
The latest on the Golden Knights: The Golden Knights are guided by fourth-year head coach Casey Jones and are members of the ECAC Hockey conference. They are tied for 11th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 2.0 goals per game.
In summary: With a new lineup in place, the Spartans proved they can hang with one of the best teams in the nation. A victory against Clarkson may validate a new answer for head coach Tom Anastos.