BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Wisconsin’s Mike Eaves: Eaves, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1978, is Wisconsin’s career points leader with 267 points (94 goals, 173 assists) in 160 career games. A two-time first-team All-American, Eaves was a three-year captain for the Badgers, leading the squad to the 1977 NCAA title. He went on to record 226 points in 324 career games in the NHL before moving into the coaching profession. Eaves took the helm at his alma mater in 2002 and helped the Badgers claim their sixth NCAA crown in 2006.
It’s Time: The start of Big Ten play is finally here as a pair of conference series will open the inaugural season this weekend. No. 1/1 Minnesota will host No. 12/13 Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday while No. 3/3 Michigan and Ohio State (rv/rv) will play a home-and-home series on Friday (at Michigan) and Monday (at Ohio State). Both of Friday’s opening night games will be carried on national television, with Minnesota and Wisconsin facing off at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU and Michigan and Ohio State clashing at 7 p.m. ET on BTN.
Where We Rank: For the sixth consecutive week, Minnesota continues to hold down the No. 1 spot in the latest versions of both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Polls, released on Monday. The Gophers maintained their position following a split with then-No. 19/rv Minnesota Duluth last weekend. After recording a 6-0 win over Niagara, Michigan climbed two spots to No. 3 in both polls. The Wolverines have remained in the top five for seven straight weeks. Wisconsin, which was idle last weekend, checks in at No. 12/13 while Ohio State continues to receive votes in both polls. The Buckeyes have won five straight games and eight of their last nine contests.
Conference Play Overview: The Big Ten schedule is a 20-game slate with each team playing the other five members four times. During regular season conference games, shootouts will be utilized to decide contests that remain tied following the conclusion of the five-minute overtime period. Each team will select three players with teams alternating shots. If the shootout remains tied at the end of three rounds, each team will select a different shooter in a sudden-death situation. Points in the regular season Big Ten standings will be awarded as follows: three points for a regulation or overtime win, two points for a shootout win, one point for a shootout loss and no points for a regulation or overtime loss.
On the Air: More than half of all conference games will appear on national television this season, as 31 of the 60 Big Ten clashes are slated to air on BTN, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and NBCSN. BTN will carry 20 conference games, including Friday’s tilt between the Wolverines and Buckeyes. ESPNEWS and NBCSN will each broadcast four contests while ESPNU will carry two games, including Friday’s matchup between the Gophers and Badgers. At least 15 additional conference games will air on regional or local television.
Lighting the Lamp: When the Wolverines and Buckeyes face off this weekend, they will bring with them the two leading goal-scorers in the conference. Michigan’s Andrew Copp and Ohio State’s Ryan Dzingel have each scored seven goals so far this season. Dzingel, who led the Buckeyes with 16 goals last season, enters the weekend on a five-game goal-scoring streak which coincides with the team’s five-game winning streak.
Taking on the Best: With another win over a ranked opponent last weekend, Big Ten teams have now posted 11 such victories this season in non-conference play. Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin have combined to defeat Boston College (twice), Boston University (twice), Lake Superior State (once), Miami (once), Minnesota Duluth (twice), New Hampshire (twice) and Notre Dame (once) this season.
On Sale Now: Tickets for the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, slated for March 20-22, 2014, at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., are currently on sale. Ticket packages can be purchased at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. The tournament will feature all six teams in a single-elimination format.