The regular season is over, and before we all move on to predicting conference tournaments and at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, let’s take a look back at the last regular season weekend in the Big Ten.
1. Gophers clinch at Yost
Junior Kyle Rau netted a goal at the 2:44 mark of overtime in Friday’s contest between Minnesota and Michigan to give the Gophers the inaugural Big Ten regular-season title.
“It’s pretty cool, but when you come here, you don’t come here to win conference championships,” said Rau. “You come here for something else.”
This is the third straight season that Minnesota has had at least a share of a regular-season title after winning the MacNaughton Cup two seasons ago and sharing it with St. Cloud State last season.
“This year was going to be the first-ever Big Ten title [and] that was our goal when the year began,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “We lost some really good players off of last year’s team, but some returning guys stepped up their level of play and the freshmen complement our team very, very well.”
Michigan obviously wasn’t too pleased with the Gophers celebrating a title on its home ice and responded with a 6-2 victory on Saturday evening.
2. The Big Ten Tournament
The end of the regular season also means its Big Ten Tournament time.
Minnesota is the No. 1 seed and will play the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State. Wisconsin is the No. 2 seed and will play the winner of Michigan and Penn State.
The tourney will run Thursday-Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Michigan and Penn State will get things underway at 2 p.m. on Thursday and the Buckeyes and Spartans will drop the puck at 7 p.m. Te Badgers will play at 2 p.m. on Friday and Minnesota will play in the 7 p.m. game. The championship game will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday. All games will be on BTN.
USCHO has four writers, one being yours truly, headed to St. Paul to cover the tournament like a blanket. Paula and I will have our picks up by Thursday morning.
3. The PairWise Predictor
USCHO’s PairWise Predictor is up and running. It’s a great way to kill some time, see which ways your favorite team can get in and see some scenarios where your team’s rival would be watching from the couch.