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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 11/28/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Week 9 Hockey Release

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• The first weekend of December finds six Big Ten teams looking to gain ground on front-runner No. 8/7 Michigan State, which is idle. No. 6/8 Wisconsin and rv/20 Notre Dame are tied for second, seven points behind the Spartans. Wisconsin plays host to rv/rv Ohio State and Notre Dame entertains No. 13/12 Michigan at Compton Family Ice Arena. No. 7/6 Minnesota travels to No. 18/18 Penn State with Saturday’s contest being carried by Big Ten Network. 

• Big Ten teams went 6-2-1 against nonconference opponents over Thanksgiving weekend. On the season, the Big Ten owns the best nonconference record of any conference in college hockey, compiling a 36-14-4 mark (.704) against the other five conferences and independent teams.

• Former Wolverine and Seattle Kraken Matty Beniers captured the Calder Memorial Trophy as the top rookie in the National Hockey League last year. A look at NHL rookie statistical leaders (as of Nov. 28) finds several Big Ten players contending for this year’s Calder. Arizona’s Logan Cooley (MINN) stands second in rookie scoring with 13 points on the strength of 11 assists through 20 games while New Jersey’s Luke Hughes (MICH) is tied for third in rookie scoring (2-10—12). Adam Fantilli (MICH), who went third in the Draft to Columbus last summer, leads rookies with 23 games played and is tied for seventh in scoring (4-6—10) along with Toronto’s Matthew Knies (MINN), who tops newcomers with a 24.0 shooting percentage, having scored six goals on 25 shots. Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber (MINN) and Anaheim blueliner Jackson LaCombe (MINN) rank one-two in ice-time with 23:08 and 19:58 averages respectively. 

• It was a good Thanksgiving weekend for Minnesota graduate student Bryce Brodzinski, who totaled three goals and two assists against Michigan State to earn the Big Ten First Star of the Week Award. In the process, Brodzinski completed a hat trick of the weekly honors adding a First Star to his Second Star (Feb. 4, 2020) and Third Star (Nov. 15, 2022) awards received during previous seasons. The Blaine, Minnesota native also became the NCAA’s career active leader for goals, netting his 54th marker in game number 160, which also leads current players.  

• Notre Dame will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland to compete in the 2024 Friendship Four, to be held at SSE Arena, home of the Belfast Giants. The Irish will be making their debut in the only college hockey tournament held outside the United States, joining Boston University, Harvard, and Merrimack. The Friendship Four, which began in 2015, is designed to promote education, social welfare, and community interaction, building on the sister cities agreement between Belfast and Boston.

• As the college hockey season enters its third month, the Big Ten teams continue to draw large crowds. Five Big Ten schools rank in the Top 11 in NCAA home attendance with Minnesota standing second (9,784 average), Wisconsin third (8,670), Michigan State seventh (6,399), Penn State eighth (6,290), and Michigan 11th (5,762).