Apparently all it took was a little coaxing. Northern Michigan defenseman Erik Spady scored Northern Michigan's first even strength goal by a defenseman last night.
Billy Sauer let in four goals on his first 15 shots, as Michigan State dominated Michigan 5-2. Michigan State did a far better job of taking advantage of their chances. Michigan outshot MSU 15-3 in the first period, and still came out of the period down 2-0.
If you needed more proof that the Big Ten Network was a failure, a large chunk of last night's game on BTN was pre-empted for a Kelvin Sampson's press conference. I was willing to wait and see how things went with the Big Ten Network, but it's been an absolute failure. Like I mentioned with CSTV earlier this week, I'm right in the middle of their demographic, and the BTN has resulted in me watching way fewer Big Ten sporting events than I did last year. Hell, I ended up watching girl's high school hockey and House re-runs instead of the game last night thanks to the Big Ten Network.
I know a lot of people have complained directly to the Big Ten Network, but probably the best course of action would be to call your cable provider and tell them that you don't want them to carry the Big Ten Network. The faster it is off the air, the better, in my opinion.
Speaking of Minnesota, I found it funny all week how people had basically left them for dead, when really, they were only two wins away from being back in the NCAA tournament. That's the big advantage of playing in the WCHA. Everyone is good, so if you beat them, there's potential to move up, whereas in other conferences, there are a lot of opponents that don't help much if you win, but kill you if you lose.
That said, the WCHA currently has 7 teams in the tournament, with Minnesota just on the outside, and I don't know that it's possible all those teams can get in. There are only five spots at the Final Five, so somebody has to lose a first round playoff series, and I don't know that many of those teams are safe enough to absorb a loss like that.
Similarly, a lot of people left St. Cloud for dead at the end of January, but they're right back in the home ice picture. A win tonight over Michigan Tech ties them for fourth place with Minnesota State and Wisconsin, with two games in hand over Wisconsin.
One team that is almost dead is Michigan Tech. If they lose to St. Cloud again tonight, they risk falling out of the top 25 in the RPI. The Gophers passed them for 8th in the WCHA, and have a little easier schedule down the stretch than the Huskies.
And whatever hopes Anchorage had at whatever are now gone. With their loss last night, they've clinched last place in the league for the third consecutive year.
Northern Michigan got a huge home win last night against Nebraska-Omaha. Another win tonight means the Wildcats would need a single point against Lake Superior next weekend to pass UNO in the standings.
There hasn't been too much drama in the CCHA race(unless Michigan State beats Michigan again tonight), but the 4-8 race in the league looks like it is going to be a great finish.