Big Ten Roundup: OSU Finishes Strong; Penn State Reeling
Lindgren Hurt In Minnesota's SO Loss
CHN Staff Report
Penn State finished the Big Ten regular season by getting swept in Ann Arbor at the hands of Michigan, thus jeopardizing its NCAA tournament hopes.
Anything but two losses would've all but assured Penn State its first-ever NCAA tournament bid. But now, after 3-2 and 4-0 losses to the Wolverines, Penn State goes to the Big Ten tournament in Detroit next weekend probably needing a win to get in.
And, who will Penn State have to meet Thursday in the play-in game? The same Michigan Wolverines. Penn State came in fourth, and Michigan in fifth. The winner of that game will play Minnesota in Friday's semifinal.
Michigan goaltender Zach Nagelvoort made 46 saves — the second-most in his career — to lead Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines enter next week’s Big Ten Tournament with wins in four of their last five games, all four coming against ranked opponents.
"He's had some good games. This is one of the best," Michigan coach Red Berenson said about Nagelvoort.
Nagelvoort was especially big in helping kill a 5-on-3.
"The goalie stood on his head," Berenson said. "You see it every night in hockey — you appreciate it when you're at a game like this. When you feel the momentum pushing up against you, and you're barely hanging in there, our goalie was keeping us in it. We finally got the goals we needed to get the pressure off."
Freshman forward Adam Winborg netted two goals to lead the offense, while junior forward Tony Calderone and sophomore defenseman Nicholas Boka added one each. Freshman forward Will Lockwood tallied three assists and sophomore defenseman Joe Cecconi had two.
It was just the second time this year that Penn State was shut out.
"A weekend like this gives you confidence," Berenson said. "It also gives you a taste of reality. (Penn State knows) they have to play better. But (we) feel better about each other right now. It's going to be tough challenge, but that is what this is all about."
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Ohio State closed out its regular season with a sweep of Wisconsin, dominating two games in Madison, 5-1 and 3-1.
The wins weren't enough for Ohio State to catch Wisconsin, which had already wrapped up the two seed and a first-round bye in next weekend's Big Ten tournament. But the Buckeyes did finish just one point behind and have the momentum going into Thursday's play-in game against Michigan State. If they win, they'd face Wisconsin again in Friday's semifinal.
Just as importantly, from a national perspective, the losses were devastating to Wisconsin, which most likely now can only make the NCAAs with a Big Ten tournament championship.
"The effort was there. I wouldn't question our effort (Friday) either,” Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said. “I question the fact that we came out ... waiting to see what was going to happen instead of trying to dictate how the game's going to be played."
Ohio State, on the other hand, is now 14th and a win or two next weekend could secure a spot without needing the autobid.
“I’m proud of the guys for going on the road and getting two big twins," OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. "Give credit to the guys in the lockerroom. This is certainly a very positive way to end the regular season. We want to keep building on this as we enter the postseason.”
OSU began the scoring just 2:46 into the first period on a power-play goal from Mason Jobst, his 18th of the year.
The Buckeyes grabbed control of the game in the second period, adding a second goal 10:42 into the period on Kevin Miller’s 11th of the season.
“We are clicking right now as a group and feel very confident as a team going into the tournament next weekend," OSU goalie Matt Tomkins said. "The guys played a great game in front of me tonight and made my job easy. I can't credit the guys enough for sacrificing their bodies and blocking so many shots.”
Wisconsin wasn’t able to capitalize on two power plays during the period and were put in a three-goal hole on the latter man-advantage as Brendon Kearney scored a shorthanded goal to make it 3-0.
"It's pretty tough when they're blocking a lot of shots. I think they had 20 plus shots this game,” Wisconsin's Ryan Wagner said. “It's kind of what coach said between the second and third periods, just throw a little fake in there and if another guy comes to block it throw it off the back wall. We can't really be giving them all of those blocks like that because they build off that.”
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With the Big Ten title already secured, Minnesota played all six seniors on Senior Night at Mariucci Arena, including Mitch Rogge, who had never played in a game with the Gophers before.
Minnesota tied Michigan State to close out the season, and lost in the shootout. But the Gophers left feeling good about everything.
Rogge, a five-time member of the Dean’s List at Minnesota who plans to go to dental school, was singled out by Minnesota coach Don Lucia.
“It was a reward that we felt it was the right thing to do,” Lucia said. ”Such a program guy, I know it meant a lot to him and his family for him to be able to play in the game tonight.”
Minnesota’s Eric Schierhorn made 26 saves to match a strong 32-save performance by Michigan State’s Ed Minney.
“Last night was what we came into this weekend was to make sure we came out as Big Ten Conference champs and that’s what we did,” Minnesota captain Justin Kloos said.
The only down side for Minnesota was losing freshman defenseman Ryan Lindgren to injury. He was tripped up in a race for the puck on an icing and had to be helped off the ice after going feet first in the the boards.
Lucia said it looked like Lindgren would miss next weekend's Big Ten tournament. He would be replaced in the lineup by Jack Glover, who had surgery last offseason and only played 11 games so far this year.
“The good thing is that he played a lot of hockey for us the last few years, when somebody gets hurt it’s somebody else’s opportunity,” Lucia said. “He’s practiced extremely hard, he’s been on the bike. He got off to a tough start with those surgeries and he kind of got behind the eight ball a little bit. I think his attitude has been great. I just had a conversation with him this week about working hard and being ready because you never know… well here you go.”