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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 10/18/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Week 3 Hockey Release

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• The opening series of the Big Ten Hockey season takes place this week as No. 13/13 Ohio State travels to No. 7/7 Michigan. Friday’s contest will be carried by Big Ten Network. The schools last met in the 2023 Big Ten Tournament semifinals, a 7-3 Michigan victory. Ohio State’s Steve Rohlik became the first Big Ten coach to reach 100 conference wins last season and enters his 11th year behind the bench while Michigan’s Brandon Naurato is coming off a 26-win season, the most by a first-year coach in program history.

• This week’s schedule features a pair of Top-5 teams colliding with 1/1 Minnesota meeting No. 5/5 North Dakota in Grand Forks. Rv/- Notre Dame plays host to No. 6/6 Boston University and rv/rv Wisconsin renews an old rivalry against No. 17/17 Michigan Tech. No. 12/11 Penn State takes an unblemished mark into its home series against AIC and No. 8/9 Michigan State continues its Thursday-Friday schedule with a home series against Canisius. After two weeks of action, the Big Ten owns a 16-6-1 (.717) record against inter-conference opponents and independents.

• Minnesota heads into this weekend’s action as the consensus No. 1 team in the nation after sweeping a series against St. Thomas in the Twin Cities last week. In the series opener held at the Xcel Energy Center, Jimmy Snuggerud scored the game-winner 1:24 into overtime to lift Minnesota to a 6-5 win. For his efforts, Snuggerud was tabbed the Big Ten First Star of the Week. Minnesota packs plenty of firepower, returning the most goals (108) of any team in the country.

• Wisconsin sophomore Lucius Cruz was named to the all-tournament team at the Ice Breaker Tournament following Wisconsin’s road split versus Bemidji State (4-3 OT win) and No. 7/7 North Dakota (2-0 loss). A first round NHL draft pick, Cruz scored twice against Bemidji State, netting the overtime game-winner. The Ice Breaker moves to Las Vegas in 2024 with Minnesota hosting UMass, Omaha and Air Force at Orleans Arena on Oct. 11-12.

• Penn State is off to a 3-0-0 start, continuing a trend of fast starts under 12-year Head Coach Guy Gadowsky. The Nittany Lions have won their last 15 games in October going back two years and sport a 27-2 record in October dating to 2018.

• According to College Hockey, Inc., the Big Ten is home to five of the 10 youngest squads in college hockey. Michigan State and Wisconsin are the fifth-youngest teams, averaging 21.2 years, followed by Michigan, Minnesota and Notre Dame in ninth place at 21.5 years.

• Proving good things come to those who wait, former Ohio State goaltender Matt Tomkins (2013-17) made his NHL debut on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Lightning—11 years after being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. Other Big Ten alumni who have appeared in their first NHL game this season include Michigan’s John Beecher (2019-22), Adam Fantilli (2022-23) and Mackie Samoskevich (2021-23) and Minnesota’s Logan Cooley (2022-23).