Big Ten Hockey Season in Review

All-America Group:
Six standouts from three conference schools were named CCM Hockey All-Americans for the 2013-14 season at the NCAA Men's Division I Frozen Four in Philadelphia, Pa. Minnesota led all Big Ten programs with three All-Americans followed by Wisconsin with two and Ohio State with one. Three conference players earned spots on the first team, including Minnesota sophomore defenseman Mike Reilly, Ohio State junior forward Ryan Dzingel and Wisconsin junior defenseman Jake McCabe. An additional three Big Ten players claimed spots on the second team, including Minnesota junior forward Kyle Rau and sophomore goalie Adam Wilcox and Wisconsin senior forward Michael Mersch.

National Award Finalists:
Three Big Ten hockey standouts were named finalists for major national awards. Goalies Adam Wilcox of Minnesota and Joel Rumpel of Wisconsin were finalists for the inaugural Mike Richter Award, which honors the best goaltender in college hockey. Wilcox, Rumpel and Ohio State forward Ryan Dzingel were also among the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given annually to the top collegiate player.

Conference Claims Two No. 1 Seeds for the NCAA Championship:
Two Big Ten teams were selected to the NCAA Championship with both squads earning No. 1 seeds. Wisconsin received the conference's automatic bid after winning the Big Ten Tournament, while Big Ten Champion Minnesota received an at-large berth and the No. 1 overall seed.

Frozen Four Mettle:
Minnesota's Don Lucia led Minnesota to the Frozen Four for the fifth time this season. Lucia is one of three current Big Ten coaches to have led their team to the Frozen Four along with Michigan’s Red Berenson (11 times) and Wisconsin’s Mike Eaves (twice). The Gophers went on to reach the national championship game for the 12th time in program history.

Gophers Well Represented on All-Regional Team:
Five Minnesota players were named to the All-Regional Team from the West Regional. Nate Condon, Justin Kloos, Mike Reilly, Brady Skjei and Adam Wilcox claimed All-Regional honors, with Kloos earning the Most Outstanding Player award. Kloos led all players at the West Regional with three goals, including the game-winning goal in the regional final against St. Cloud State.



Big Ten Champions:
Minnesota claimed the inaugural Big Ten Championship with 45 points and a conference record of 14-3-3-0. The Gophers posted at least two victories against each of the other Big Ten opponents in conference competition. Minnesota clinched the outright title with a 3-2 overtime victory at Michigan in the penultimate game of the regular season.

Wisconsin Wins Tournament Title:
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 at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. The Badgers’ 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. Wisconsin defeated Penn State in the semifinal round to advance to the championship game.

Final Rankings:
Four Big Ten teams appeared in the final and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls for the 2013-14 season. After its national runner-up finish, Minnesota checked in at No. 2 in both polls. The Gophers were the No. 1 team in at least one poll for 20 weeks this season and were never ranked lower than No. 5, including 24 consecutive weeks in the top two. Wisconsin was ranked No. 7 in both polls after finishing the season with a record of 24-11-2. Michigan followed at No. 16 in the poll while Ohio State rounded out the Big Ten contingent at No. 20 in the poll. The Wolverines also received votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Filling up the Airwaves:
Big Ten hockey featured a robust slate of television coverage this season with more than 90 televised games during the regular season and Big Ten Tournament. This included a national package of 40 games airing on BTN, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and NBCSN. BTN aired a total of 28 games, including all five games from the 2014 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. ESPNU and ESPNEWS aired an additional seven contests, while NBCSN presented five games. More than half of the 60 Big Ten regular season conference games were televised on national networks (31) while an additional 19 conference contests were carried by regional and local networks. No other conference had more than 13 national broadcasts during regular season conference play.

National Exposure:
Only eight programs across the country appeared on national television more than 10 times in 2013-14, including all six Big Ten schools. Minnesota led the all programs with 20 games on national television while Wisconsin was tied for second place with 15. Michigan and Penn State tied for fourth place with 13 appearances, followed by Ohio State (sixth, 12 games) and Michigan State (tied for seventh, 11 games).

Crossing Through the Turnstiles:
Big Ten programs occupied five of the top 10 spots on the national attendance list for the 2013-14 season, including Minnesota (first with 11,553 fans per game), Wisconsin (third, 10,478), Penn State (eighth, 6,011), Michigan (ninth, 5,582) and Michigan State (10th, 5,392). Ohio State checked in at 15th overall with more than 4,500 fans per game. Combined, Big Ten programs welcomed 831,290 fans to their games this season and led all conferences with an average attendance of 7,357 fans per game.

Piling up the Wins:
After reaching the national championship game, Minnesota finished the year with 28 victories, marking the sixth time that the Gophers have reached that mark under head coach Don Lucia. Minnesota’s winning percentage of .756 was the program’s best since going 32-8-4 (.773) en route to a national championship in 2001-02. Meanwhile, the team’s seven losses were the fewest for the program since 1962-63, when Minnesota went 16-7-4.

Coaching Milestones:
Minnesota's Don Lucia and Wisconsin's Mike Eaves both achieved significant milestones during the 2013-14 season. With his pair of victories at the West Regional, Lucia notched his 650th career win. Earlier in March, Lucia recorded his 368th victory at Minnesota to pass Amo Bessone (Michigan State) and Bob Johnson (Wisconsin) for the fifth most wins at a Big Ten school. In February, Eaves notched his 250th career victory, 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 Johnson (367 wins).

Brick Walls:
Big Ten goalies claimed four of the top eight places on the national save percentage list. Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox led all conference goalies and ranked second in the nation at .932, followed by Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort (sixth, .929), Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel (seventh, .929) and Ohio State’s Christian Frey (eighth, .929).

Lighting the Lamp:
Big Ten teams posted 74 games scoring at least four goals this season. Four conference teams averaged at least 3.0 goals per game on the year: Minnesota (3.49), Wisconsin (3.24), Ohio State (3.19) and Michigan (3.06). The Gophers ended the season ranked sixth in the nation in scoring offense.

Big Ten Standouts:
The 2013-14 All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners were announced in advance of the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox was named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year. Fellow Gopher Mike Reilly earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, awarded to a defenseman or forward, while Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was tabbed Coach of the Year. Michigan’s JT Compher collected Freshman of the Year laurels. For the full list of All-Big Ten honorees, click here.

Stay CLASS-y:
Michigan’s Mac Bennett was among the 20 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible, student-athletes must be a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

Among the Nation's Best:
Big Ten teams finished the season ranked among the top 10 in the nation in several statistical categories. Minnesota ranked sixth in the nation in scoring offense with 3.49 goals per game while Wisconsin followed in 10th at 3.24 goals per game. The Gophers were third in scoring defense with 2.10 goals against per game and fourth in scoring margin (1.39). Wisconsin ranked 10th nationally in penalty kill percentage (85.1 percent). Minnesota’s winning percentage of .756 was second in the nation while Wisconsin followed in sixth place at .676. Penn State ranked third in the country with 35.25 shots on goal per game, followed by Minnesota in fifth place with 34.66. The Gophers also ranked seventh in shots on goal margin per game, averaging 5.29 more shots on goal than their opponents. Michigan State led the nation in blocked shots per game (17.67), followed by Ohio State in seventh (15.54) and Michigan in 10th (15.26).