BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Michigan State’s Danton Cole: Cole, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1989, tallied 163 points (69 goals, 94 assists) in 180 career games for the Spartans. As a freshman in 1985-86, Cole registered 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) as Michigan State won its second NCAA title. After posting a career-high 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) as a senior, the Lansing, Mich., native launched an NHL career that included more than 300 games. He is currently the head coach of the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team.
Where We Rank: Minnesota remains No. 1 in both national rankings and has held the top spot in one or both polls every week since Oct. 21. The Gophers (19-2-5) have posted their best record through 26 games since 2006-07, when the team was 20-3-3 en route to the NCAA West Regional Final. Last weekend, Minnesota claimed four out of six points in a home series against Michigan State to extend its current unbeaten streak to 14 games (10-0-4). The Gophers will next head to Wisconsin to face the Badgers, who check in at No. 12 in both polls following their series at Michigan. The Wolverines picked up five points in the series and climbed two spots in both polls to No. 10. Michigan will travel to Penn State this weekend looking to extend its four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1). Ohio State, which swept Penn State last weekend at home to move into fourth place in the conference standings, is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll for the 12th consecutive week.
On the Air: Four of this weekend’s six conference games will be carried live on national television. The weekend opens Thursday night with a matchup between Minnesota and Wisconsin at 8:30 p.m. ET on BTN. Friday marks the fifth of eight consecutive “Frozen Friday” doubleheaders on BTN. This week’s contests include Ohio State at Michigan State at 6:30 p.m., and Minnesota at Wisconsin at 9 p.m. On Saturday, Michigan will face Penn State at 5 p.m., in a game slated to air on ESPNU.
Keeping the Streak Alive: Entering play this weekend, the Gophers are riding their longest unbeaten streak in more than seven years. Minnesota has not lost since Nov. 24, going 10-0-4 over the past 14 games. The streak is Minnesota’s longest since a 22-game unbeaten streak in the 2006-07 season during which the Gophers went 19-0-3. The longest unbeaten streak by a Big Ten school is 23 games. The mark has been posted three times, most recently by Michigan State in 2000-01.
Coaching Milestones: A pair of Big Ten coaches are closing in on career milestones. Last Friday, Michigan head coach Red Berenson tied Rick Comley for the No. 4 spot on the Division I all-time coaching wins list with his 783rd career victory. Comley recorded 783 wins at Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan and Michigan State from 1973-2011. Meanwhile, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia is approaching a pair of milestones. Now with 363 career wins at Minnesota, Lucia needs just four more wins to tie Amo Bessone (Michigan State) and Bob Johnson (Wisconsin) for the fifth most wins at a Big Ten school (373). Lucia is also just eight victories away from notching his 650th career win.
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. In addition, former Badger Tony Granato will serve as an assistant coach of the U.S. squad. 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.