BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Michigan’s Gordon Wilkie: Wilkie, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1964, recorded 156 points (45 goals, 111 assists) during his career with the Wolverines from 1962-64. A first-team All-American in 1964, Wilkie captained the team and led the Wolverines with 51 assists. Included in that total were three assists in Michigan’s 6-3 win over Denver in the national championship game, giving the Wolverines their seventh national title. Wilkie was inducted into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 1989.
The Race for the Championship: With one weekend left in the regular season, Minnesota has 42 points and a five-point advantage over second-place Wisconsin. The Gophers can clinch a share of the Big Ten Championship with one point this weekend at Michigan and the outright title with two points regardless of Wisconsin’s results. For the Badgers to win a share of the conference crown or the outright championship, they would need to secure at least five points this weekend at Michigan State with the Gophers claiming one or less against the Wolverines. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have earned first-round byes in the Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament and will make their tournament debuts on Friday, March 21.
Brick Walls: Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort, Michigan State’s Jake Hildebrand, Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox and Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel are among the 18 candidates for the inaugural Mike Richter Award, which honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. The award will be presented at the 2014 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Philadelphia. All four nominees rank among the top 20 nationally in save percentage. Rumpel ranks second in the country (.937 save percentage), followed by Wilcox (sixth, .934), Nagelvoort (15th, .927) and Hildebrand (20th, .927). They are joined by Ohio State’s Christian Frey, who ranks 13th at .927.
Dominant Defenses: Four Big Ten teams rank among the top 25 nationally in scoring defense, led by Minnesota. The Gophers have recorded an NCAA best 1.88 goals against per game, conceding just 64 goals in 34 games. Wisconsin ranks 16th at 2.41 goals per game, followed by Michigan State (18th, 2.52) and Michigan (22nd, 2.56). Minnesota’s defense has been even stingier in conference play, allowing just 1.61 goals per game through 18 conference contests. Wisconsin (2.11 goals against), Michigan State (2.61), Ohio State (2.72) and Michigan (3.00) are each allowing three goals or fewer per game in Big Ten play.
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 maintained the top spot in both rankings following a four-point weekend at Ohio State. This marks the 17th week this season that Minnesota has held the No. 1 position in at least one of the two national polls. The Gophers, who are 5-0-1 in their last six games, visit Michigan this weekend to conclude the regular season. The Wolverines are currently No. 13 in both polls after splitting a home-and-home series with Michigan State last weekend. Joining Minnesota in the top five is Wisconsin, which checks in at No. 5 in both polls. This is the 14th week this season that the Big Ten has had at least two teams in the top five. The Badgers will close out the regular season with a series at Michigan State this weekend. Ohio State, which is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll for the 17th consecutive week, will visit Penn State this weekend.
Coaching Milestones: Minnesota head coach Don Lucia recently reached one career milestone and is closing in on another. With the team’s win over Ohio State last weekend, Lucia notched his 368th win at Minnesota to pass Amo Bessone (Michigan State) and Bob Johnson (Wisconsin) for the fifth most wins at a Big Ten school. Lucia is also just three victories away from notching his 650th career win, with an overall record of 647-341-94 during his time at Alaska, Colorado College and Minnesota.
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.