And we're off. The hockey season is under way, and Michigan State had a rough time of it out on the east coast. Spartan fans are going to be tested early, as this (still) young team looks to gel early on against a tough non-conference schedule before the first Big Ten season gets underway.
Michigan State started the regular season getting swept at UMass. UMass built a 2-0 lead in the second period, and Greg Wolfe brought MSU back to within 1 with just over 7 minutes to go in the game, but the Spartans failed to connect on an equalizer. UMass added an empty net goal for the 3-1 win. Hildebrand was sharp in goal stopping 32 of 34 shots.
MSU was out-shot for the game (35-32), but the Spartans actually held a 27-25 edge in shots through 2 periods of play.
The second night, Michigan State got on the board first and held a 2-1 lead after 1, but the penalty kill proved to be the issue, as UMass went 4 for 8 on the power play en route to a 5-2 win. UMass tallied 3 power play goals in the second period alone to build that 5-2 lead. Michael Ferrantino and Greg Wolfe scored for the Spartans in the opening frame. Yanakeff stopped 28 of 33 shots. MSU was 1 for 6 on the power play.
Things don't get any easier for MSU as they host UMass-Lowell & Boston University this weekend at Munn Ice Arena.
Around The Big Ten
Minnesota and Michigan are the big winners early on in the conference. Minnesota swept the IceBreaker Tournament knocking off Mercyhurst and New Hampshire. They went on the road to face a former WCHA-foe and swept Bemidji State. They face BC this weekend.
Michigan is scoring some huge PWR points early on after knocking off BC at home, going on the road for a wild 7-4 win at RIT, then heading to UNH to take 3 of 4 possible points with a 1-1 tie and a 3-2 OT victory. They face BU and Mass.-Lowell this weekend as well.
Penn State started off strong with a 4-1 win against Army. They didn't follow it up though the following weekend as they were swept at Air Force (5-2, 3-1).
Wisconsin got off to a strong start as well opening up with a sweep against Northern Michigan. They travelled east though and got swept losing at BC (9-2 - wowsers) and BU (7-3). Nothing like getting outscored 16-5 in one weekend.
Finally, Ohio State is still looking for its first win this season after being swept by the state of Ohio. They lost a home and home with Miami (6-2, 6-3), and followed that up with a 4-3 road loss at Bowling Green. The good news for them is they only have 1 game left his year against a team from Ohio.
Big Ten Power Rankings
1. Michigan (3-0-1). Giving Michigan the early edge based on a victory over Boston College and going 1-0-1 at New Hampshire.
2. Minnesota (4-0-0). Minnesota can make an early statement this weekend against BC. Only problem is their non-conference schedule resembles a SEC football non-conference schedule - a lot of home games. They do go to Notre Dame though.
3. Wisconsin (2-2-0). Things seem to drop off here, though Wisconsin should be a player in the Big Ten title hunt this year. It's tough to ignore the 16-5 thing this weekend.
4. Penn State (1-2-0). They get this spot based on the fact that they've won.
5. Michigan State (0-2-0). Stay out of the box, and the wins will come. Greg Wolfe off to a hot start.
6. Ohio State (0-3-0). So, who wins first - MSU or Ohio State?