Six teams take this ice this week in a trio of top-20 ranked conference series, highlighted by a top-15 matchup between No. 1/1 Notre Dame and No. 13/14 Minnesota. Four games will be carried on linear networks, with the remaining two contests streaming on BTN Plus.
Minnesota defeated Michigan State last Saturday in the nightcap of the third-annual "Super Saturday - College Hoops & Hockey" doubleheader at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Gophers completed the series sweep with a 2-1 win over the Spartans at the World's Most Famous Arena.
Six Big Ten teams appear in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Notre Dame paces conference teams at No. 1 in both polls. Ohio State follows at No. 6/6, Minnesota checks in at No. 13/14, Penn State comes in at No. 14/12, while Michigan and Wisconsin are No. 17 and No. 18 in the USCHO.com poll, respectively, and are both receiving votes in the coaches rankings.
Since the 2013-14 season, five Big Ten schools (Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin) have been ranked in the top five of both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Those five teams have combined to be ranked in the top five of both polls a total of 81 times, with at least one top-five team in 61 out of 116 weeks.
Ohio State currently leads the nation on the penalty kill, stopping 90.1 percent of opponent opportunities (82-of-91). The Buckeyes are the only team above 90 percent nationally.
Notre Dame and Ohio State currently rank in the top five nationally in scoring defense. The Fighting Irish rank third nationally and pace all Big Ten teams by allowing just 2.04 goals per game, while the Buckeyes check in at No. 4 at 2.12.
Ohio State's Tanner Laczynski paces all conference players and ranks third nationally with 34 points through 24 games. Laczynski also leads the country in assists (23).
Big Ten teams currently occupy five of the top 25 positions on the national team scoring list. Penn State leads the conference with 3.77 goals per game, followed by Michigan in 10th (3.33), Wisconsin in 15th (3.19), Notre Dame in 18th (3.12) and Ohio State in 23rd with 3.00 goals per contest.
Three alums from current Big Ten schools have been named to the U.S. roster for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games: Chad Kolarik from Michigan, Jim Slater from Michigan State and Ryan Stoa from Minnesota. In addition, a trio of current and former Badgers will head Team USA's management and coaching staff. Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato will serve as head coach of Team USA, former UW defenseman, NHL award-winner and Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios heads a group of assistants. The men's hockey tournament will begin on Feb. 14 with the gold medal game scheduled for Feb. 25.
The Canadian Olympic team will also feature a trio of standouts from current Big Ten schools, as Michigan's Andrew Ebbett and Wisconsin's Rene Bourque and Cody Goloubef will represent Canada in PyeongChang.