• All seven schools will be in action this weekend, including a pair of conference series and three teams hosting non-conference series on home ice. Michigan opens the weekend slate by hosting Ferris State in a Thursday-Friday series. Michigan State will open conference play this weekend, hitting the road to take on No. 5/4 Minnesota for a Friday-Saturday series. No. 10/10 Notre Dame makes its Big Ten debut as the Fighting Irish travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on No. 16/- Ohio State. No. 7/7 Wisconsin rounds out the weekend with a top-10 Friday-Saturday home series against No. 4/5 North Dakota.
• Five Big Ten teams appear in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Minnesota paces conference teams at No. 5 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 4 in the coaches rankings. Wisconsin follows at No. 7/7, Notre Dame checks in at No. 10/10, while Ohio State and Penn State are No. 16 and No. 17 in the USCHO.com poll, respectively, and are both receiving votes the coaches poll. Michigan is receiving votes in both polls.
• Since the 2013-14 season, five Big Ten schools (Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin) have been ranked in the top five of both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Those five teams have combined to be ranked in the top five of both polls a total of 71 times, with at least one top-five team in 51 out of 106 weeks. During that span, the Gophers have earned a spot in the top five of both polls 42 times.
• With a pair of wins over Robert Morris, Ohio State improved to 5-1-2 on the season, marking its second consecutive sweep. The Buckeyes are tied with Denver for the longest unbeaten streak in the nation at six games, going 4-0-2 over that stretch. Ohio State ranks third nationally and paces all Big Ten teams in scoring defense, averaging 1.50 goals allowed per game.
• Notre Dame’s Jake Evans paces the nation and all conference players with 15 points through eight games. Evans also leads the country in assists (12) and faceoffs won (126).
• Penn State’s Denis Smirnov and Wisconsin’s Seamus Malone lead the nation and the conference in game-winning goals with three each.
• Big Ten teams currently occupy four of the top 15 positions on the national team scoring list. Notre Dame ranks 10th nationally with 3.62 goals per game, followed by Wisconsin in 11th (3.56 goals per game), Michigan State in 12th (3.50) and Penn State in 14th with 3.38 goals per contest.
• Penn State’s Smirnov and Wisconsin’s Trent Frederic and Ryan Wagner lead the Big Ten in goal scoring with five goals apiece.
• Three active Big Ten coaches have amassed at least 200 wins in their careers, led by two who have more than 400 career victories. Minnesota’s Don Lucia is the conference’s active wins leader with 722 victories. He is followed by Notre Dame’s Jeff Jackson (454) and Penn State’s Guy Gadowsky (262). Lucia currently ranks second among active Division I coaches in career victories, while Jackson ranks sixth.
• Tickets are on sale for the third annual “Super Saturday – College Hoops & Hockey” doubleheader, which will feature Ohio State taking on Minnesota in men’s basketball and Michigan State facing the Gophers in hockey at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. The men’s basketball contest will tip off at Noon ET, and the hockey game will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com), by calling (866) 858-0008 or at MSG.com.