Big Ten Hockey Weekly Release
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Michigan State’s Don McSween: McSween, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1986, recorded 129 points (29 goals, 101 assists) in 180 career games for the Spartans. His career point total still ranks as the fourth most by a defenseman in school history. A two-time All-American and Academic All-American, McSween helped lead Michigan State to its second national championship in 1986. He earned placement on the NCAA All-Tournament Team in both 1986 and 1987, as the Spartans reached two straight national championship games.
Brick Walls: A common theme across the conference this season has been strong play between the pipes. Five Big Ten goalies rank among the top 15 nationally in save percentage: Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel (fifth, .936), Ohio State’s Christian Frey (sixth, .934), Michigan State’s Jake Hildebrand (ninth, .931), Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox (10th, .931) and Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort (15th, .927). Frey leads the way in conference play with a .938 save percentage, followed by Hildebrand (.937), Wilcox (.937), Rumpel (.936) and Nagelvoort (.913). Wilcox boasts the best goals-against average in conference play at 1.70, with Rumpel (1.93), Frey (1.99) and Hildebrand (2.19) not far behind.
Coaching Milestones: A pair of Big Ten coaches are closing in on or have recently reached career milestones. Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves notched his 250th career victory on Saturday, with all of those wins taking place behind the Badger bench. Eaves is the third coach to amass 250 victories at Wisconsin, joining Jeff Sauer (489 wins) and Bob Johnson (367 wins). Meanwhile, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia needs just two more wins to tie Amo Bessone (Michigan State) and Johnson for the fifth most wins at a Big Ten school (367). Lucia is also just six victories away from notching his 650th career win, with an overall record of 644-341-93 during his time at Alaska, Colorado College and Minnesota.
On the Air: Three of this weekend’s four conference games will be carried live on national television. Friday marks the eighth and final “Frozen Friday” doubleheader on BTN. This week’s contests include Ohio State at Michigan at 6:30 p.m. ET, and Penn State at Minnesota at 9 p.m. On Saturday, the Nittany Lions and Gophers will conclude their series at 7 p.m., on NBCSN. In addition, Michigan State’s exhibition game against the U.S. National Team Development Program on Saturday will be carried on FS Detroit Plus at 7 p.m. ET.
Where We Rank: Three Big Ten teams are ranked among the nation’s top 15 according to the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls released on Monday. Minnesota, which was idle last weekend, held steady at No. 2 in both rankings. The Gophers, who are 12-2-4 in their last 18 games, host a series against Penn State this weekend in their home finale. Wisconsin moved up two spots to No. 6 in both polls after a weekend sweep of Michigan State. The Badgers are idle this weekend. Michigan checks in at No. 13 in both polls after a series split at home against Penn State. The Wolverines will play a home-and-home series this weekend against Ohio State, which is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll for the 15th consecutive week.
Good as Gold: Former Michigan State standout Duncan Keith claimed his second consecutive Olympic gold medal as he helped Canada successfully defend its title at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Keith helped achor a defense that allowed just three goals in six games while averaging more than 21 minutes played per contest. Keith’s gold medal is the 21st earned by a former player from a Big Ten hockey program. In the gold medal game, Keith and Canada had to defeat Sweden and former Michigan player Carl Hagelin, who finished the tournament with two goals. The United States finished fourth, led by former Minnesota forward Phil Kessel, who was named Best Forward at the event after leading all players in goals (five) and points (eight).
On Sale Now: Single-game and all-session 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. Tickets 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.