Michelle McMahon, February 26, 2015
We?re entering the final stretch of the conference season and the race for first place in the Big Ten Standings is still up for grabs. The top two teams in the conference standings will receive a first-round bye at the Big Ten Tournament.
Every Big Ten team split their conference series last weekend.
MICHIGAN STATE AT NO. 17 MINNESOTA
When: Thursday, Feb. 26 9 p.m. ET; Friday, Feb. 27 9:00 p.m. ET
How to watch: Both Thursday and Friday?s games air live on BTN and BTN2Go (watch live Friday here and watch live Thursday here).
Players to watch: Michigan State?s Jake Hildebrand earned third star in the Big Ten weekly awards after a save percentage of .959 in a series split against Wisconsin. Minnesota?s All-American goaltender Adam Wilcox had 65 saves in the weekend series against Penn State.
The latest on the Gophers: Minnesota boasts the country?s best power play with a conversion rate of 29.3 percent and rank sixth in the nation with 3.50 goals per contest. The Gophers are tied atop the Big Ten Standings with 27 points.
The latest on the Spartans: Michigan State has the best penalty kill in the Big Ten conference (87.5 percent), which also ranks ninth in the nation. They?ve allowed only two power-play goals in the last 13 games. The Spartans are tied for third place in the Big Ten Standings with 25 points.
In summary: In their last meeting, Minnesota beat and lost the shootout to Michigan State at Munn Arena in early December. This time, the Gophers are at home.
WISCONSIN AT MICHIGAN
When: Friday, Feb. 27 7:35 p.m. ET; Saturday, Feb. 28 4 p.m. ET
How to watch: Friday?s game airs live on BTN2Go (watch live here) and Saturday?s game airs live on BTN and BTN2Go (watch live here).
Players to watch: Michigan?s Zach Hyman earned second star in the Big Ten weekly honors after registering six points in last weekend?s series against the Buckeyes. He leads all Big Ten players with 43 points. Wisconsin?s goaltender Joel Rumpel ranks fourth in the nation with an average of 31 saves per game.
The latest on the Wolverines: Michigan leads all teams across the nation with 3.96 goals per game. The Wolverines are tied for first place in the Big Ten standings with 27 points.
The latest on the Badgers: Wisconsin enters the weekend coming off a split last weekend against Michigan State. The Badgers sit at the bottom in sixth place in the Big Ten standings.
In summary: Michigan owned the road series sweep when these two teams first met in late January.
PENN STATE AT OHIO STATE
When: Friday, Feb. 27 6:30 p.m. ET; Saturday, Feb. 28 7 p.m. ET
How to watch: Friday?s game airs live on BTN and BTN2Go (watch live here) and Saturday?s game airs live on ASN and BTN2GO (watch live here).
Players to watch: Ohio State?s Tanner Fritz scored the momentum-shifting goal to lift his team to a 5-3 victory over Michigan last weekend. Fritz leads the Buckeyes with 19 points. Penn State?s Luke Juha ripped the game winner from the blue line in their huge overtime victory over the Gophers last Saturday.
The Latest on the Nittany Lions: Penn State averages 3.33 goals a game and allow 2.3 an outing. After an upset overtime win over the Gophers last weekend, the Nittany Lions are tied for third in the Big Ten Standings with 25 points.
The latest on the Buckeyes: Ohio State is 2-2 in its last four games and 9-17-2 overall. The Buckeyes are in fifth place in the Big Ten standings. Ohio State is coming off a weekend split with No. 15 Michigan.
In summary: Ohio State leads the all-time series with Penn State 4-3, but a new season presents new opportunities for the Nittany Lions, who are 16-10 overall in their third year as a Division I program.