BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT:
This year, the Big Ten is celebrating 100 years of the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference’s most prestigious award, the Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction, including 27 hockey players. Throughout the course of the season, the conference highlighted previous Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients, featuring some of the legends of the Big Ten who have earned this prominent achievement.
Two Big Ten teams were selected to participate in the NCAA Championship, with Minnesota and Wisconsin each earning No. 1 seeds. Minnesota, the inaugural Big Ten Champion, is the overall No. 1 seed and will play in the West Regional March 29-30 at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. Up first for the Gophers is No. 4 seed Robert Morris, with the winner facing either No. 2 seed Notre Dame or No. 3 seed St. Cloud State. Minnesota is making its 35th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and third consecutive trip. The Gophers boast a 52-35 record in the tournament, including 20 appearances in the Frozen Four and five NCAA titles. Wisconsin, the inaugural Big Ten Tournament Champion, is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, scheduled for March 28-29 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Badgers will take on No. 4 seed North Dakota with the victor advancing to meet No. 2 seed Ferris State or No. 3 seed Colgate. Wisconsin will be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 25th time and making its second straight appearance. The Badgers are 37-21-2 in their previous trips and have made 11 Frozen Four appearances, winning six national championships.
Wisconsin Wins Inaugural Big Ten Tournament:
Wisconsin overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to claim a 5-4 overtime victory over Ohio State and win the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. The Badgers found themselves down 4-2 when the Buckeyes’ Tanner Fritz scored with 6:52 remaining in the third period, but responded with two goals in the ensuing 48 seconds to send the game to overtime. Wisconsin’s Mark Zengerle, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, notched the game-winner for the Badgers 7:48 into the extra session. A full list of all-tournament honors can be found on page two of the release.
Big Ten Standouts:
Three Big Ten hockey standouts were named finalists for major awards. Goalies Adam Wilcox of Minnesota and Joel Rumpel of Wisconsin are finalists for both the Mike Richter Award and the Hobey Baker Award. Ohio State forward Ryan Dzingel was also named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. The Mike Richter Award honors the best goaltender in college hockey, while the Hobey Baker Award is given annually to the top collegiate player. The winners of both awards will be announced at the NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia.
Big Ten goalies have claimed four of the top nine places on the national save percentage list. Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox leads all conference goalies and ranks second in the nation at .933, followed by Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel (seventh, .930), Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort (eighth, .929) and Ohio State’s Christian Frey (ninth, .929).
Where We Rank:
Four Big Ten teams appear in the latest national polls, released on Monday, including two squads in the top five for the 15th time this season. Minnesota maintained the No. 1 spot in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, marking the 19th week this season that the team has held the No. 1 position in at least one of the two national polls. The Gophers are ranked second in the USCHO.com poll. Wisconsin climbed two spots to No. 4 in both polls after winning the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan followed at No. 15 in both polls while Big Ten Tournament runner-up Ohio State entered the USCHO.com poll at No. 20. The Buckeyes, who had received votes in the USCHO.com poll for 18 consecutive weeks, are ranked for the first time since Feb. 20, 2012.