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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 2/21/2024, Last updated: 2/22/2024
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Week 19 Hockey Release

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• The penultimate week of the Big Ten campaign features three conference series and a pair of Big Ten Network broadcasts. No. 4/4 Michigan State, which has achieved its highest rankings of the season, hosts Ohio State in East Lansing. MSU can either clinch a share or win outright its first Big Ten Championship depending on its results and that of No. 6/6 Wisconsin, which travels to Penn State. Nine different clinch scenarios exist for the Spartans, who hold a four-point lead over the Badgers with four games left and a head-to-head series on tap next week. Coming off a win over Michigan, Penn State has a chance to return to the .500 mark overall. Rv/No. 20 Notre Dame hits the road to face No. 17/16 Michigan. The Irish, who play their final conference games this week, look to hold off Michigan in a battle for home ice in the Big Ten Tournament. Both games of the series will be carried by BTN. No. 8/8 Minnesota is idle.

• The latest Pairwise Rankings include four Big Ten teams among the Top 16 — Michigan State (3rd), Wisconsin (6th), Minnesota (9th) and Michigan (16th). The Pairwise is a statistical formula that emulates the selection process for at-large bids to the 16-team NCAA Tournament. 

• Notre Dame’s Jeff Jackson coached his 1,000th collegiate game on Friday, a 6-1 win over Minnesota. Jackson previously led Lake Superior State to a pair of NCAA titles and is in his 19th season at the Golden Dome. Jackson’s 589 wins and 18 NCAA Tournament appearances are the most among active Division I coaches. 

• The Big Ten scoring title is coming down to the wire as three points separate seven players in the points race. Minnesota’s Rhett Pitlick leads the pack with 23 points (14-9), holding a slight lead over the Michigan triumvirate of Gavin Brindley (8-14—22), Frank Nazar III (9-12—21) and Dylan Duke (12-9—21). Michigan State’s Artyom Levshunov is the top-scoring defenseman (5-15—20), tied in the top five with Michigan’s Rutger McGroarty (8-12—20) and Minnesota’s Bryce Brodzinski (9-11—20). Michigan has produced a record four scoring champions while Minnesota had teammates Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud share the title last year.

• Big Ten Three Stars honors have been dominated by goaltenders in recent weeks. The last three First Star awards were snagged by Justen Close of Minnesota (twice) and Notre Dame’s Ryan Bischel as goaltenders have claimed six weekly awards in February. In Big Ten competition, Bischel and Close are tied for the lowest goals-against average (2.42) with Bischel sporting the top save percentage (.932). Michigan State’s Trey Augustine has a league-high 14 wins and three shutouts in 20 appearances. The forementioned trio, along with Wisconsin’s Kyle McClellan, are semifinalists for the Mike Richter Award, given to the nation’s top goaltender.