For the first time since Maine accomplished the feat in 1994-95, Wisconsin capped an improbable second half of the season, completing a worst-to-first turnaround from last season to capture the Big Ten regular-season title with a 2-1 victory over Michigan State.
With a 17-6-1 mark in league play, Wisconsin finished with a .729 winning percentage, two-thousandths of a percentage point against of Minnesota, which played two less games and finished at 16-6-0.
As a result, the Badgers will have a bye through the first-round of the Big Ten tournament and play the lowest remaining seed after quarterfinal games are complete.
Hobey Baker front-runner Cole Caufield scored both Badgers goals, in a game where Michigan State jumped to a 1-0 lead on a Charlie Combs goal and held that lead until the final second of the second period.
📽️: Cole Caufield breaks the tie!
🍎: Holloway pic.twitter.com/Fg2LS3ewOD
— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) March 6, 2021
After knotting the game at 1 with 17 seconds left in the second, Caufield finished a remarkable regular-season with the game-winning tally at 7:48 of the third.
Caufield ends the regular season with 25 goals and 21 assists in 28 games, a clip of 1.64 points per game, tops in the nation.
Colgate 4, No. 11 Quinnipiac 3
Josh McKechney scored with 2:49 remaining in regulation, breaking a 3-3 tie, as Colgate upset 11th-ranked Quinnipiac to end the ECAC regular-season on a high note.
Cleaning up, takin' leads 💪 pic.twitter.com/qsZz1asWMg
— Colgate Men's Hockey (@ColgateMIH) March 6, 2021
According to league standings, these same two teams will meet in the ECAC semifinals, while Clarkson and St. Lawrence, crosstown rivals, will play in the league’s other semifinal.
Trailing 1-0 after 1, Colgate scored three times in the second, including a go-ahead goal with :07 remaining in the period.
After TJ Friedmann buried the equalizer at 7:58 of the second, McKechney played the role of hero late. The goal and victory snapped an eight-game unbeaten streak for the Bobcats (7-0-1).
No. 8 St. Cloud State 4, No. 9 Minnesota Duluth 3 (OT)
It took just 17 seconds for Easton Brodzinski to net the game-winning goal in 3-on-3 overtime as St. Cloud State earned the second seed in the NCHC tournament with a 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota Duluth.
— SCSU Men's Hockey (@SCSUHUSKIES_MH) March 6, 2021
The Huskies will face Colorado College in the NCHC quarterfinals, while Minnesota Duluth, the third seed, will take on Western Michigan.
The NCHC tournament will begin in Grand Forks, N.D., next Friday.
St. Cloud jumped to a 3-0 lead before Jackson Cates scored twice in the second period to close the lead to one. Connor Kelley had the equalizer at 7:32 of the third.
Even with the loss, the Bulldogs should be in solid position to earn an NCAA at-large bid should they not take the NCHC automatic qualified by winning the postseason tournament.