Big Ten Hockey Weekly Release
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT - Wisconsin’s Erik Raygor: During his four years as a forward at Wisconsin, Erik Raygor made quite the impression on the ice and in the community. A three-year letterwinner from 1994 to 1998, Raygor recorded 86 points in 130 games for the Badgers. He was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1998, the same year that he earned the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given annually to the college hockey player who best exemplifies personal character and commitment to studies.
Where We Rank: Minnesota continues to be No. 1 in both national polls, claiming the top spot in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll for the 11th consecutive week. The Gophers first earned their No. 1 ranking in both polls on Oct. 21 and have been the consensus No. 1 choice every week since, other than Dec. 9, when the team was No. 2 in the USCHO.com poll. Minnesota posted a pair of wins at Penn State last weekend. After earning a sweep of Michigan last weekend at the Kohl Center, Wisconsin climbed five spots to No. 9 in both polls. The Badgers find themselves back in the top 10 nationally for the first time since Oct. 14. Meanwhile, Michigan dropped to No. 13 in both polls. Ohio State, which claimed four out of six points in a home series with Michigan State last weekend, is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll for the ninth consecutive week.
The Great Outdoors: Ohio State and Minnesota will take part in the 2014 Hockey City Classic at 8 p.m. CT Friday at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Gopher football team. While Minnesota and Ohio State are no strangers to outdoor hockey, this will mark the first time that Minnesota has hosted such an event. The Gophers are 0-1-0 in outdoor games with their lone appearance being a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin in the 2013 Hockey City Classic held at Soldier Field in Chicago. Ohio State is 0-2-0 outdoors, including a 4-1 loss to Michigan in 2012. Friday night’s game will air live on BTN as part of the “Frozen Friday” doubleheader. The two teams will conclude their series Saturday night at Mariucci Arena.
On the Air: Friday marks the second “Frozen Friday” doubleheader on BTN. For eight consecutive weeks, BTN will carry conference matchups at 6:30 and 9 p.m. ET. This week’s contests include Penn State at Michigan State at 6:30 p.m., and Ohio State at Minnesota at 9 p.m. Last week’s Frozen Friday debut featured the first two hat tricks in Big Ten play as Ohio State’s Ryan Dzingel and Wisconsin’s Micheal Mersch each notched three goals.
Lighting the Lamp: With three of the nation’s top seven offenses, it should come as no surprise that the Big Ten leads all conferences in scoring. Big Ten teams average 3.16 goals per game, well ahead of the national average of 2.82 goals per game. No other conference averages more than 3.00 goals per contest. The Gophers, which rank second nationally with 3.95 goals per game, have scored four or more goals in 11 of their 20 games this season. The Buckeyes are third in the nation in scoring at 3.83 goals per game with four or more goals in 10 of their 18 contests. The Badgers are tied for sixth in scoring with 3.55 goals per game overall and lead all Big Ten teams in conference play with 3.83 goals per contest.
Going for Gold: Fourteen players from Big Ten schools have been named to rosters for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Ten players earned spots on the U.S. roster, including Max Pacioretty from Michigan, Ryan Miller of Michigan State, Phil Kessel, Paul Martin and Blake Wheeler from Minnesota, Ryan Kesler of Ohio State and Ryan McDonagh, Joe Pavelski, Derek Stepan and Ryan Suter from Wisconsin. Brian Lebler from Michigan and Thomas Vanek of Minnesota were each named to the Austrian team, Carl Hagelin from Michigan will skate for Sweden and former Spartan Duncan Keith will look to help Canada defend its gold medal from 2010. The men’s hockey tournament will begin on Feb. 12 with the gold medal game scheduled for Feb. 23.
On Sale Now: Tickets for the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament Presented by Polaris RZR®, slated for March 20-22 at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., are currently on sale. Ticket packages can be purchased at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers or online at www.ticketmaster.com. The tournament will feature all six teams in a single-elimination format.