Roundup: Wisconsin Snaps Road Skid
Minnesota Sweeps Michigan
CHN Staff Report
Minnesota defeated Michigan, 5-3, to sweep the weekend series.
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Alaska-Anchorage scored four times in the third period to defeat Bowling Green.
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Wisconsin won on the road for the first time since mid-November, and created some distance between itself and Ohio State and Michigan for second place in the Big Ten. The Badgers got two early goals, and a pair from Mark Zengerle to defeat Ohio State, 4-2.
The loss ended the Buckeyes’ six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2).
“I think our play came up in the first period (compared to Friday),” Steve Rohlik, Ohio State head coach, said. “They’re a very good hockey team; no one wants to get on streaks and lose two in a row. We knew we were going to get their best shot. Even down by two I give our team credit – we just kept battling back.”
Joel Rumpel made 28 saves for the Badgers and Ohio State's power play, ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten coming into the weekend, was 0-for-4.
"You win two against Minnesota (last week) and then lose Friday to Ohio State, it brings back to the reality that any team can win on any night," Rumpel said. "We knew we didn't play our best (Friday) and didn't have a good start, and tonight that was our focus and we got two goals early."
The win was important for the Badgers to overcome their road woes.
"It's funny ... at this time of year, it almost seems like every game is the biggest game of the year," Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. "And literally this was for us to keep momentum, stay in the race, RPI, all those things, this was a pivotal game."
Christian Frey, who has been hot for Ohio State since joining the team mid-year, made 24 stops.
"This young goalie (Frey) covers the lower part of the net really well, and we got a couple pucks elevated on him," Eaves said.
Ryan Dzingel scored the 100th point of his Ohio State career. Dzingel, who has skated in 101 games for the Buckeyes, has 40 goals and 60 assists and is the first Ohio State player to hit the century mark as a junior since RJ Umberger in 2003. Dzingel leads Ohio State with 17 goals, 21 assists and 38 points on the year.
“Ryan plays a solid game,” Rohlik said. “As long as the team does well, he may not score but we’re all satisfied. His skill set is right there. He has played a lot of games here, puts himself in good situations and has great teammates. There’s no secret to success. It’s his hard work. I’ve seen a huge jump in his all-around game.”
Minnesota defeated Michigan, 4-1, to complete a weekend sweep. The Gophers solidified their stranglehold on first place in the Big Ten, and a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAAs.
The game got off to a poor start for Minnesota when Michigan defenseman Andrew Sinelli scored his first goal of the season with the Wolverine’s first shot of the game. The Gophers responded well, controlling most of the even-strength play until Sam Warning evened the score with 2:14 to play in the period.
In the second period, the Gophers' fourth line got involved again, just like Friday. First, Connor Reilly beat Michigan goaltender Steve Racine off the rush with a blast to the glove side. Gabe Guertler had an assist after tallying his first career goal on Friday. Later, the line set up a goal by defenseman Nate Condon.
"I thought we were opportunistic this weekend," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "Guertler's line played extremely well this weekend, both nights, and that's a big reason we won a couple games.
"When you look at what they did in junior hockey, last year Guertler and Vinni (Lettieri) both had basically 30 goals and Connor was a big scorer coming off his knee injury. But we needed some production. Guys have been rotating in and out of that line, and they hadn't scored since RPI. We felt we could get more from them. Sometimes it's just confidence."
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Michigan State got a goal from Matt Berry with 5:04 remaining to defeat Penn State, 2-1. The Spartans had just 13 shots in the game, but managed the win, getting 28 saves from Jake Hildebrand.
"Today was a real grind where their team probably thought they deserved a better fate," Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said. "We've been in these kinds of games where we thought we deserved a better result but didn't. So it was nice to see that turned around where we could hang in there and get a win."
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Bemidji State scored twice in the first seven minutes of play and goaltender Andrew Walsh stopped 32 of 33 shots, as the Beavers earned a 2-1 win over first-place Ferris State.
Ferris State's loss dropped the Bulldogs into a tie for first in the WCHA with Minnesota State, though FSU has two games in hand.
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Alaska-Anchorage defeated Bowling Green, 5-2, to move into third place by itself in the WCHA. Matt Bailey and Scott Allen each scored their 15th goal of the season as part of a four-goal third period for the Seawolves.