Big Ten Hockey Weekly Release
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Michigan State’s Kelly Miller: Miller, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1984, tallied 164 points (82 goals, 82 assists) during his 165-game collegiate career. As a senior captain in 1984-85, Miller led the Spartans to a school-record 38 wins and was named a First-Team All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist. Miller went on to play in more than 1,000 games during a 15-year career in the NHL. He completed his M.B.A. at Michgan State in 1995 and returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2011.
Where We Rank: For the seventh 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 weekend sweep of then-No. 12/13 Wisconsin at Mariucci Arena. Michigan holds steady at No. 3 in both polls based on its overtime victory over Ohio State on Friday. The Wolverines have remained in the top five for eight straight weeks. Wisconsin checks in at No. 17 in the USCHO.com Poll and is receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll. Ohio State, which had its five-game winning streak snapped on Friday at Michigan, continues to receive votes in the USCHO.com Poll.
Taking the Stage: While Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin opened Big Ten play this past weekend, Michigan State and Penn State will take the ice in conference action for the first time this weekend. The Spartans used an offensive explosion to record a weekend sweep of Princeton last weekend, posting 4-1 and 8-2 wins. Michigan State will host Minnesota this weekend, marking the first time that the Gophers have visited Munn Arena for a series since Feb. 1-2, 1980. Penn State, which dropped a pair of one-goal decisions to then-No. 15/rv Union last weekend, will take on Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, where the teams split last season.
A Night of Firsts: With the start of Big Ten play on Friday night, a number of firsts for the conference are in the books. The first goal in Big Ten action was scored by Wisconsin forward Joseph LaBate at 6:31 of the first period. Minnesota went on to notch the first conference victory as Seth Ambroz scored two goals in the 4-1 win, including the game-winning goal. Later on Friday, Michigan and Ohio State played the first conference overtime game, with the Wolverines prevailing on a goal by Andrew Copp at 3:38 of the overtime period.
Conference Play Overview: The Big Ten schedule is a 20-game slate with each team playing the other five members four times. Shootouts will be utilized to decide conference games 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, ESPNEWS and NBCSN will each broadcast four contests and ESPNU will carry two games. At least 19 additional conference games will air on regional or local television.
Taking on the Best: Big Ten teams have posted 11 victories over ranked opponents so far 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.