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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 1/17/2024, Last updated: 1/19/2024
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Week 14 Hockey Release

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• Having completed nonconference action, Big Ten schools turn their attention to conference games the remainder of the season, starting with three conference series this weekend. The most played college hockey rivalry resumes when No. 7/5 Michigan State and No. 15/14 Michigan square off for a home-and-home starting Friday in the 343rd meeting between the schools. The Spartans are one of two teams in the nation unbeaten at home (9-0-1). In other action, Penn State travels to Notre Dame in a rematch of a closely contested November series that produced two ties and split shootout decisions. Ohio State, winners in four of its last five, takes on Minnesota which returns to Big Ten competition for the first time since a Dec. 9 road game at Ohio State. Saturday’s contest will be carried on BTN. 

• No. 4/4 Wisconsin is idle this week. The Badgers saw their 10-game winning streak snapped with a 3-3 overtime tie against Lindenwood on Jan. 13. The string of wins was UW's longest in 34 years dating to the 1989-90 season. Wisconsin will take an 11-game unbeaten streak into a series at Michigan next week.

• Four Big Ten goaltenders were recently named to the Mike Richter Award Watch List. Candidates for the top goaltender in the nation award include Michigan State’s Trey Augustine, Notre Dame’s Ryan Bischel, Minnesota’s Justen Close and Wisconsin’s Kyle McClellan. The NCAA’s youngest goalie, Augustine backstopped Team USA to World Junior Gold and has yet to lose a Big Ten game in regulation (9-1-2). Bischel was a Richter semifinalist last year en route to capturing the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Award. He has started 61 straight games for the Irish. Close is one shutout away from becoming the Big Ten’s career leader in conference play — his seven shutouts are tied with Michigan State netminders Jake Hildebrand (2013-16) and John Lethemon (2016-20). Close also stands fourth with 32 conference wins, two behind Golden Gopher Eric Schierhorn (2015-19). McClellan, in his first season as a starter for Wisconsin, leads the nation in goals-against average (1.67), save percentage (.939), shutouts (6) and wins (17).  

• A five-assist weekend nudged Michigan defenseman Seamus Casey into the overall scoring lead among Big Ten players. Casey is averaging 1.40 points per game with four goals and 24 assists in 20 contests. Just a point behind is Penn State freshman Aiden Fink, owner of 27 points in 22 games. Fink skates alongside rookies Matt DiMarsico and Reese Laubach on the “Kid Line”, which has accounted for 18 goals and 29 assists for 47 points.

• Michigan’s Gavin Brindley and Wisconsin’s Quinn Finley recorded hat tricks on Jan. 12, giving the Big Ten 11 hat tricks this season, the most of any conference. Brindley’s four goals against Stonehill was a season-high for a Big Ten player while Finley completed his hat trick with 35 seconds left in regulation.