Roundup: Ohio State Earns Split with PSU; Minnesota Struggling, Swept By Michigan
Wisconsin Gets off the Deck
CHN Staff Report
Ohio State had its six-game win streak snapped Friday at the hands of Penn State. Saturday, the Buckeyes returned the favor, winning 5-1 to halt the Nittany Lions' 11-game unbeatek streak.
“The biggest thing was cleaning up a few of the mistakes we made last night and the odd man rushes we gave up last night," Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said. "We tried to correct some things on special teams. The bottom line is our effort — we want to continue to get better. We got beat by a good hockey team last night and I think we came out here tonight and I think our guys just weren’t going to be denied.”
Penn State lost top scorer Andrew Sturtz in the first period, when he was called for kneeing and a game misconduct after colliding with OSU defenseman Janik Moser.
“When you lose any tough competitor in a game that’s tough, you need to find a way to step up and not enough of us did,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said.
Linemate Chase Berger said to the Daily Collegian: “I tried to stay calm, but it was a big loss. He’s a great player. Me and Jim (Robinson) didn’t want to look panicked and send a message to the other guys, that we’re in trouble here, but we definitely missed him out there.”
Five different players scored for OSU, including Tanner Laczynski's 11th of the season. Freshman Austin Pooley tacked on his second of the year as time expired in the game.
“It was a great team win in a very tough environment," Pooley said. "We were challenged to be better than on Friday and I thought we did that tonight. To beat a great team like that on the road is always exciting.”
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Just when Minnesota thought it had things sorted out again, it suffered a disastrous home sweep at the hands of Michigan, capped by a 3-1 loss Saturday. It's the first sweep by Michigan over Minnesota since 1991-92, and the first on the road since 1976-77.
Minnesota had a bad stretch of five losses in six games at the end of November and early December, but turned things around with two wins over Army followed by a solid showing in a split with St. Cloud State last weekend. Last Sunday, the Gophers shut out the Huskies, 2-0.
But then came the two losses, and the Gophers suddenly find themselves in sixth place in the Big Ten and No. 15 in the Pairwise.
"It was 3-on-2 the first shift, goal the next shift, offensive zone penalty, 0 to 8 on shots," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said about his team's start. "You're down 2-0 and you chase the game.
Darian Romanko got Minnesota on the board with a power-play goal in the second period, but Michigan got it right back less than two minutes later.
"The Romanko line was real good this weekend," Lucia said, looking for bright spots.
"The harder you try, the worse it gets. You get individualistic, not share the puck, don't make the right play because you're trying too hard. So it's disappointing, no doubt, to how we played on Sunday to how we played this weekend, it wasn't the same."
Meanwhile, Michigan, coming off a third-place finish at the Great Lakes Invitational, showed promising signs, with all of the lines finally clicking and the defense finally coming up with a complete weekend.
Brendan Warren, Josh Norris and Cooper Marody scored for the Wolverines.
"We played with the lead all weekend, and when you can do that on the road, that really helps," Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. "Previous games we were down 2-0 every time, so that was a change this weekend and I thought it gave our guys confidence.
"(Jack) Becker, Pash, Pash (Nick and Michael Pastujov) are playing well, I like (Jake) Slaker and Norris together. We put Norris on the wing and I think he's got renewed energy. And then (Tony) Calderone's line with Marody and (Dexter) Dancs, they play well. So we're starting to get some depth, starting to get that work ethic, and hopefully these victories will continue to help us."
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After getting shut out Friday night, and running its winless streak to five games, a desperate Wisconsin scrambled the lines Saturday and it paid off with a 5-2 win over Michigan State to get back to .500.
The Badgers saw goals from five different players in the win, including power-play and shorthanded tallies.
"That was an exciting game. We were into it because the crowd was into it and the crowd was into it because we were into it," Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said about the largest home crowd of the season. "When you walk out to the bench to start the game and look around and see that many people in the building you see how much support we have. It was really important for us to bounce back and show our fans how hard we can play, and when we do play that hard how much fun it is to watch. I thought it was a very exciting game from start to finish."
It was only 2-1 after two periods, thanks to Trent Frederic's shorthanded goal late. But then the Badgers closed things out with two goals in the first 2:18 of the third period.
"We had a lot of energy between the periods so I felt good about the energy that was in the locker room throughout the game, during the game, and on the bench, the best it's been all year," Granato said. "(Michigan) State played tough. They battled and made it tough for us. They came off last night's win with a lot of confidence.
"I thought our ability and willingness to battle and get around (MSU goalie John Lethemon) made it harder on him tonight and kept him deeper in the net. It seemed like we were around the net an awful lot tonight and seemed to have a lot of screens and tips and pucks around there so offensively we did battle for that position a lot better tonight."
Wisconsin has buried itself a bit, currently No. 20 in the Pairwise after a good start. And now it heads into a weekend with No. 1 Notre Dame.
"Our team is good enough to make the tournament. We’ve put ourselves in position where we have to perform. We have to get results," Granato said. "The solid performance by (goalie) Kyle (Hayton) tonight again, he kept us in the game. It wasn't a ton of action for him on the weekend but if you look at the last four performances he's had, they are probably back-to-back-to-back-to-back the best four he's had all year as far as consistency goes. So that's encouraging if we continue to help him and keep his shots down, keep his secondary shots down and his rebounds in check, I think he's got a really good chance to have a great second half.
"We are going to play the best team in the country next week. If we play the way we did tonight, we'll have a really good chance to do well. We had two great games against them a month or so ago. We were in a position to win both of those games and now it's time to figure out how to beat a top team and have a more consistent play."