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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 11/9/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Week 6 Hockey Release

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• The second full week of conference action will take place in the bordering states of Michigan and Indiana with three conference series starting Friday evening. No. 6/5 Minnesota travels to No. 8/9 Michigan in a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Tournament Championship Game. No. 17/16 Penn State hits the road for the first time in nearly a month to visit No. 11/11 Michigan State and No. 19/19 Ohio State plays host to rv/rv Notre Dame with both schools looking for their first conference wins.

• First-place Wisconsin, which has moved up to third in the national polls, is idle this week. The Badgers have maximized their early opportunities, going 4-0-0 in conference games and winning nine of 10 games overall. Over the past two weeks, Mike Hastings’ squad has swept series from the defending Big Ten Champions (Minnesota) and Big Ten Tournament Champions (Michigan). With two more wins, Wisconsin can match its conference win total from last season.

• Penn State Head Coach Guy Gadowsky, in his 12th season, is one win away from reaching 200 victories at Hockey Valley. In terms of coaching milestones, Mike Hastings recently recorded his 300th career win in Wisconsin’s season opener on Oct. 7. Other coaches approaching significant marks include Jeff Jackson, who is four wins shy of 400 at Notre Dame and Minnesota’s Bob Motzko, who needs seven wins to hit 400 overall for his career.

• The stars aligned in Plymouth, Minnesota this week as natives Gavin O’Connell and Rhett Pitlick received Big Ten weekly awards. O’Connell, a freshman at Michigan State, earned First Stars honors following back-to-back two-goal performances against Ohio State and Rhett Pitlick, a junior at Minnesota, received Second Star honors with a four-point weekend against Minnesota Duluth.

• Veteran and rookie goaltenders are producing stellar performances for Big Ten teams this season. This past weekend saw 24-year-old Ryan Bischel of Notre Dame stop 76-of-81 shots for a .938 save percentage in a pair of ties versus Penn State. Not to be outdone, 18-year-old Trey Augustine recorded his first shutout while compiling a .941 save percentage in Michigan State’s two wins at Ohio State — the Spartan’s first conference road sweep since 2016. Veterans occupy the top three spots in overall goals-against average with Wisconsin’s Kyle McClellan, age 24, sporting a 1.79 GAA, followed by Bischel’s 2.23 average and Minnesota’s Justen Close, 25, who owns a 2.36 GAA.

• A pair of Big Ten players ranked prominently among career active leaders in the NCAA. Graduate students Bryce Brodzinski of Minnesota and Trevor Janicke of Notre Dame stand one-two in games played with 154 and 152 appearances respectively. Brodzinski also shares top honors (with North Dakota’s Riese Gaber) for career goals among active skaters with 50 markers.