How about that Big Ten tournament, eh? Both quarterfinal games go to overtime. Penn State beats Michigan again. The Buckeyes come back to defeat the Spartans. Big goals, huge saves, Day One of the B1G tourney had it all. Let's take a quick look back at yesterday's action. Then we'll preview Ohio State's semifinal match up against Minnesota.
Ohio State did not get the start they wanted in this one. For the first 10 minutes Michigan State took the game to the Buckeyes. Spartan captain Greg Wolfe put MSU on the board during a disastrous Ohio State shift.
|b1G Tourney||All games on BTN|
|Quarterfinals||PSU 2, MCH 1 2OT|
|MSU 1, OSU 2 OT|
|Semifinals (FRI)||PSU vs WIS (3 ET)|
|OSU vs MIN (8 ET)|
|Finals (SAT)||Semi Winners (8 ET)|
Fun features of this shift included a turnover, two Buckeyes colliding, and the rest getting caught flat-footed. Steve Rohlik joked after the game about needing to punt for field position in the early going. It's only funny because OSU won.
The tide began to turn for the Bucks when the Spartans took consecutive penalties midway through the opening frame. Though they didn't score on either power play, they were finally able to generate a few scoring chances.
They built on that momentum a bit further, but (rightfully) no one was pleased about the team's first period performance. Ryan Dzingel declared it "unacceptable" during an interview with BTN's Fred Pletsch. Several postgame interviews referenced "a conversation" the team had during the break.
Whatever was said, it worked. Ohio State looked like a different team the rest of the game. They skated harder. Every line battled. Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand weathered the storm very well, but Tanner Fritz finally broke the goose egg at 16:26 of the second period.
The Bucks kept coming. Hildebrand kept shutting them down. The Spartan defenders blocked a bunch of shots. Buckeye netminder Christian Frey rose to the occasion, making several key stops. One of the biggest of the night can be seen at 0:47 of the highlight video.
There are no sure things in sudden death overtime, but the longer the game went on the stronger the Bucks seemed to get. There probably weren't many people surprised that Ohio State prevailed in this one. However, I doubt that many folks had Drew Brevig penciled in as the OT hero. The tally was the freshman defenseman's third of the season.
There was some doubt about the validity of the goal. Anthony Greco made contact with a lunging Hildebrand prior to Brevig's shot, but after a brief consultation with the video the refs signalled a good goal and the end of the game. My best guess is that the refs determined that Hildebrand had sufficient time to recover before the shot.
In the undercard match up Penn State took down Michigan for the third time this season.It took an extra 30 minutes, but a Zach Saar goal finally put the Wolverines out of the B1G tourney. (And maybe out of the NCAA tourney as well, though I'm not holding my breath.)
Both Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort and Nittany Lion netminder Matt Skoff were impressive in the contest. Eric Scheid may have had the save of the night, though, kicking this puck off the goal line just in the nick of time.
By the end of the day fans had been treated to two extremely entertaining games (though PSU-Michigan started very slowly) and the state of Michigan was out of the Big Ten tournament.
The Bucks move on to a semifinal showdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. That game is set to begin tonight at 8pm ET. Ohio State and Minnesota last faced off in the waning weeks of the regular season.
The Gophers won the Friday game. The Buckeyes had to rally on Saturday, but they came out of the second intermission with what Rohlik called their "best period of the season." Nick Schilkey tied things up and Ohio State dominated in overtime but Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox stymied chance after OSU chance to preserve the (official) tie.
Schilkey netted the winner in the shootout to send the good people of Columbus home happy. The Buckeyes' success in that game no doubt gives them a measure of confidence heading into tonight's tilt.
The Gophers are the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. They're going to be tough to beat. However, if OSU plays the entire game tonight the way they played the final three-quarters or so last night the Buckeyes just might get a shot at that big, shiny trophy come Saturday.
In the other semifinal, Penn State takes on Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions have yet to defeat the Badgers this season. They came awfully close, though. The last meeting of the year between the teams went to overtime where Wisconsin's Mark Zengerle was able to solve Matt Skoff.
Could we be headed for more overtime today? Wouldn't surprise me any. Penn State-Wisconsin gets underway at 3pm ET. Ohio State-Minnesota goes at 8pm ET. Both games are set to be broadcast on BTN, BTN2Go, and 1460 AM.
Where to Watch
The Scarlet Liners successfully cheered the Buckeyes to victory last night. Since you don't mess with a good thing they're hosting another watch party tonight. You can hang with the cool kids and see Ohio State take on Minnesota at Cbus Sports Pub on Henderson Rd. Check out the event details on their Facebook page.
- Recaps of last night's game come from OSU, Nathan Wells of SBN College Hockey, Jeremy Dewar of The Only Colors, and Drew Claussen (here) and Adam Holt (here) for USCHO.
- Sean Merriman of BTN rounds up the relevant moments from Penn State-Michigan and Michigan State-Ohio State.
- Tim Brule and Jim Rosvold photographed Thursday's action for USCHO. You can see their gallery here. (Check out pic No. 61, Air Schilkey.)