The Big Ten went 2-3-3 in nonconference play, a real mixed bag.
1. B1G teams need to learn to play with a lead. Four of the eight games played by Big Ten teams went to overtime, and in three of those games, B1G teams surrendered the lead. In addition, in its 3-2 loss to Boston University Friday night, Michigan led 2-0 until the third. That’s an 0-2-2 record for the weekend in games in which Big Ten teams led in game in which they couldn’t secure the win.
Michigan State played two of those games. The Spartans lost to Michigan Tech in overtime Saturday, 5-4, before tying the Huskies 4-4 on Sunday. The good news is that the Spartans’ offense continues to roll. The bad news? Well, nine goals against.
2. B1G teams need to capitalize on nonconference momentum. The league was improving in nonconference play relative to how it fared in 2014-2015, but this weekend was a definite step backward and the Big Ten as a whole looks like it may finish 2015-2016 the way it did last season — with a wretched record against out-of-conference opponents and only one team in the NCAA tournament.
Kudos to Michigan for splitting on the road with Boston University, bringing the Big Ten’s record against Hockey East to 7-9-1. The Wolverines lost 3-2 Friday, but Saturday’s 4-2 win was the Wolverines’ first ever in Agganis Arena and the Terriers’ first home loss of the season.
3. B1G teams need to figure out the NCHC. The NCHC owns the Big Ten. Last season, the Big Ten went 2-15-0 against NCHC schools; so far this year, the record is 1-8-1.
Kudos to Wisconsin for doing its part. The Badgers tied Denver, 3-3, Friday before losing to the Pioneers, 6-2, on Saturday. Trailing 1-0 at the start of the second in the tie game, Wisconsin scored three goals within a span of just over five minutes early in the middle period to take the lead for a while.