• With one weekend left in the regular season, Minnesota has 39 points and a three-point advantage over second-place Wisconsin. The Gophers can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten Championship with three points this weekend against Michigan State and the outright title with four points regardless of Wisconsin’s results. For the Badgers to earn a share of the conference crown or the outright championship, they would need to secure at least three points this weekend against Ohio State with the Gophers claiming three or less against the Spartans.
• This marks the fourth consecutive season that the race for the Big Ten Championship will run all the way through the final weekend. Over those four years, five different teams have entered the final series with a chance to earn a regular season title.
• The top two teams in the conference standings will receive a first-round bye at the Big Ten Tournament. The Gophers have locked up one of those byes, while Wisconsin and Penn State have the chance to claim the other bye. Should teams finish with the same point totals, the first conference tiebreaker is based on wins in Big Ten play.
• Last season, Minnesota claimed its third consecutive Big Ten Championship with 42 points, while Michigan finished second with 41 points. Through three seasons of Big Ten play, the conference champion has claimed an average of 42 points, as the Gophers claimed the inaugural title with 45 points in 2013-14 and repeated as champions in 2014-15 with 39 points.
• Tickets for the 2017 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, to be held Thursday – Saturday, March 16-18, are currently on sale. The fourth annual Big Ten Tournament will feature all six conference teams in a single-elimination format and will consist of five games that will be covered live nationally by BTN. Tickets can be purchased at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online at www.OlympiaEntertainment.com.
• Two of this weekend’s contests will be carried on national television, while all six games will be available nationwide via the web, smartphones, tablets and connected devices on BTN2Go, BTN Plus or WatchESPN. Full broadcast details can be found in the right column.
• With four points last weekend against Michigan, Minnesota sophomore forward Tyler Sheehy continues to hold the conference lead in goals, assists and points in Big Ten contests. Through 18 games, Sheehy has collected 14 goals, 20 assists and 34 points. He now ranks fourth in Big Ten history for points in conference play, trailing only the Michigan line of Kyle Connor (43 points), Tyler Motte (38) and JT Compher (37) from last season.
• Four Big Ten teams have reached 18 overall wins for the season, marking the first time since 2013-14 that four conference squads have amassed that many victories. Minnesota and Penn State both have more than 20 victories, giving the Big Ten at least two 20-win teams for the fourth consecutive season.
• Four of the top seven offenses in the country reside in the Big Ten, including three of the top four. Penn State leads the nation with 4.22 goals per game, followed by Ohio State in third at 4.00 goals per contest. Minnesota is fourth with 3.85 goals per outing, while Wisconsin is seventh with 3.66 goals per game.