MINNEAPOLIS – In Michigan, the Spartans recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of the 2007 NCAA title, which they won at the last minute of regulation at the heart of a strong team from Boston College. With the MSU program continuing with a new coach and an impressively revamped home track, it was an important look back at their program.
And with the Big Ten entering its 10th season as the first major multi-sport conference to include hockey, the celebration serves as a reminder to Big Ten hockey haters out there — and there are plenty — that it’s been 15 years since a team at the moment last was on the ice on Saturday night in April.
Twice, including last season, the Big Ten sent two teams to the Frozen Four, and twice the Conference sent a team to an NCAA game, but none of them lifted the most coveted trophy in the game to date. .
The Minnesota Gophers are the defending Big Ten champions and dominated the conference game’s first nine years, winning five regular season titles and just losing sixth place when a sports formula was used to crown Wisconsin in 2021 after COVID-19 wreaked havoc with schedules. In pre-season polls, Minnesota League coaches chose repetition.
As the Gophers begin their Big Ten title defense in Ohio this weekend, here’s a quick look at the league’s seven contenders, in alphabetical order:
Records 2021-22: 31-10-0 overall, 16-8-0-0-3-0 Big Ten (2nd place). The coaches predicted the end: the third.
Yost Ice Arena, the old stone barn of corn and blues and a frenzied fan base, can be a bustling place. For the Wolverines in 2022-23, one of the goals could be to get rid of the off-season noise and just focus on hockey. Despite marshaling the Big Ten and Frozen Four titles last season, Michigan fired coach Mel Pearson over the summer after an in-depth investigation into his show revealed cultural issues that needed resolving.
Wolverine’s team started 5-1-0 as they deal with a first-round loss to Frank Nazar until February due to injury. A recent death occurred in the Wolverine family as longtime equipment manager Ian Hume lost a long battle to cancer. While many members of last season’s squad went straight to the NHL, interim head coach Brandon Norato, the former Wolverine coach beloved by his players, has inherited a slew of returning talent and is arguably the best goalkeeper in the conference in Eric Portillo. .
Records 2021-22: 12-23-1 overall, 6-18-0-1-0-0 Big Ten (7th place). The coaches predicted the finish: seventh place.
It’s a new era of hockey in East Lansing, with former racer Adam Nightingale taking over the reins of the program after Danton Cole was fired in April. In five seasons at the helm of the Spartans, Cole’s teams produced outstanding individual talent but failed to reach 0.500. Nightingale had internships on Shattuck Street. Mary’s and with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program – two notable sources for college hockey talent.
This season, the Spartans start with a 4-2-0 start and are led by three new faces. In goal, Dylan Saint-Cyr transformed from the Big Ten teams after four seasons at Notre Dame and one with Quinnipiac. Offensively, new signings Daniel Russell and Carsen Duwart were the main sources for goal-scoring at the start of the season. Those eyeing the future of college hockey point to the importance of Nightingale hiring Jared DeMichel as assistant coach after DeMichel was the recruiting force behind the 2021 NCAA title won by UMass.
Records 2021-22: 26-13-0 overall, 18-6-0-1-2-0 Big Ten (1st place). Coaches predicted the end: 1.
Govers coach Bob Mutzko has a problem, one that most competitors would envy. When Blue Line stars Brock Faber, Ryan Johnson and Jackson LaCombe decided to return for another season of college hockey, instead of taking paychecks from Wild, Sabers, and Ducks, respectively, the Gophers were left with an abundance of talent in the field. Defense. This trio, along with goalkeeper Justin Close, accounted for the fewest number of goals allowed last season, helping the team to a 4-2-0 start and the highest rating in the country.
Then you add newcomers like striker Logan Cooley – the third overall pick in last summer’s NHL draft – into the mix and you can see why expectations haven’t been higher than ever as Motzko’s fifth season kicks off with the Gophers. Over the summer, Mutzko added assistant coach Steve Miller to the mix, after Miller played a major coaching and recruiting role in two NCAA titles won by Denver and another by Providence, as well as Ohio’s only Big Ten title in 2019.
Notre Dame Irish Fighting
Records 2021-22: 28-12-0 overall, 17-7-0-5-1-0 Big Ten (3rd place). The coaches predicted the finish: second place.
In a relatively unremarkable season for the Irish in 2021-22, they defeated North Dakota in the NCAA Championship and came within two goals of the Frozen Four (they knocked out Minnesota State Mankato 1-0 in the Albany Regional Finals). There is no secret to training Jeff Jackson’s formula at Notre Dame. They win puck possession and defense and will do so again this season.
The Irish started the match 3-2-1, with Ryan Bischel, former Benilde-St. Margaret and Fargo Force stand out by carrying the charge to the target. Offensively, veterans Ryder Rollston and Trevor Janick are key players for a team that was always content to go 2-1 up and then lock things in defensively. The Irish won the Big Ten in 2017-18, which was their first season as an affiliate member of the conference, and advanced to the national title game and fell to Minnesota Duluth in the final. Anything but returning to the NCAA Championship this season would be a failure to live up to expectations.
Records 2021-22: 22-13-2 overall, 13-9-2-1-1-1 Big Ten (4th place). The coaches predicted the finish: fifth place.
The Buckeyes were picked a year ago in the conference basement, and the Big Ten was the happiest until Valentine’s Day. They hit a wall late in the season, going only 1-6-0 in their last seven games, falling to Penn State in their best three-game playoff series and missing out on an NCAA Championship invitation.
The Buckeyes started with a 6-1-1 start and ranked 11th nationally in their series with Minnesota. The Buckeyes get a great goal from sophomore Jacob Dobbs, who stormed the college hockey scene a year ago after arriving from the Czech Republic via Topeka in the NAHL and Omaha in the USHL. Offensively, they got an early-season boost from rookie Stephen Halliday, the fourth-round pick for the Ottawa Senators, who played three seasons for Dubuque in the USHL averaging nearly one pass per game.
Perhaps the biggest need for St. Paul-born Steve Rolick as he enters his 10th season as head coach at Ohio State is for the school to stop talking about building a proper on-campus hockey facility for men and women (the Defender National Champions) and kicking in the ground.
Records 2021-22: 17-20-1 overall, 6-17-1-5-1-0 Big Ten (tie for fifth). Coaches predicted the end: 6.
There was some genuine anger and disappointment expressed by Nittany Lions coach Jay Jadowski Saturday night this past March in Minneapolis after he propelled Gopher’s late goal to a 3-2 win in the Big Ten semifinals, ending Penn State’s season. is over. Despite having a record under 500, the latest conference schedule has built things the right way and today is far from satisfied with anything short of an NCAA Championship run.
As the sort of Notre Dame negative that takes center stage, lions are known for their penchant for disc shooting anywhere, anytime as well as the Ruhr – a bustling student area of the Pegula Ice Arena that taking so long to travel alone is the second most difficult trip for hockey valley visitors.
After a 6-0-0 start, the Lions found a nice new offensive weapon in the Ture Linden transfer, who has been averaging better assists per game since coming from RPI in the gate.
Records 2021-22: 10-24-3 overall, 6-17-1-1-2-0 Big Ten (tie for fifth). The coaches predicted the finish: fourth.
With a 2-4-0 start, the Badgers had already swept through Minnesota Duluth on the road and swept through St Cloud State in Madison, meaning they could end up in the middle of the group in NCHC. When they finish mid-set in the Big Ten, she wonders if that will be enough to prevent Wisconsin from changing coach in six months or so. Tony Granato enters for the seventh time in his alma mater, in which time the Badgers have won a single conference title, they won the 2021 Hobey Baker and won 0-1 in the NCAA Championship.
If the Badgers want to take a step forward this season, the two switches will be for two Minnesota boys connected to the Gophers. New striker Cruz Lucius, who went to Minnesota at age 13 but switched to the other side of Border Battle last summer, leads the Badgers with three goals so far. Their player in goal is Jared Mo, who played in maroon and gold for two seasons before moving to Wisconsin at the start of his junior year.