Around the Big Ten (Hockey): NCAA Tournament Edition
With the Frozen Four fast approaching, the Big Ten conference is well represented with two teams set to head down to Tampa Bay.
Michigan and Minnesota were both No. 1 seeds in their respective regions and had very different journeys to get to the Frozen Four.
Starting out with the Wolverines, they opened the 2023 tournament with an 11-1 win over Colgate. Defender Luke Hughes led the team with an impressive five-point day with two goals and three assists.
That brought the Wolverines head on with a matchup against a fellow Big Ten team in the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Penn State had an impressive game in the opening round as well with a shutout 8-0 win against Michigan Tech.
Each goal was scored by a different Nittany Lion, while goaltender Liam Souliere saved all 24 shots fired at him.
At the start of their regional final, it was the Nittany Lions who led for a majority of the contest after a second-period goal from Connor MacEachern.
That lead held up until there was seven minutes left in third period where Adam Fantilli scored on the power play.
The score stayed tied at one a piece until the end of regulation, then just 50 seconds into overtime, Mackie Samoskevich sent the Wolverines to the Frozen Four.
Joining them in that elite group are the Minnesota Golden Gophers who had a much easier path to get to this spot.
The Golden Gophers started their run off with a 9-2 win over Canisius. While Canisius kept things close through the first two periods only being down 3-2, the Golden Gophers erupted with a six-goal third period.
Bryce Brodzinski ended the day with a hat trick while freshman phenom Logan Cooley had three assists.
Then in the regional final, the top-overall seed cruised to a 4-1 victory over St. Cloud State.
Brodzinski scored his fourth goal of the tournament while Cooley had a two-point day with a goal and an assist.
Those three teams weren’t the only ones to find postseason success however as the Ohio State Buckeyes also made noise in the tournament despite being a No. 3 seed in their region.
Like the three teams before them, the Buckeyes began things off right with a blowout 8-1 win against Harvard.
The effort was led by a four-point day from Jake Wise as well as two-goal games from both Cole McWard and Cam Thiesing.
Ohio State’s run came to an end the following round, however as after Joe Dunlap scored the first goal less than two minutes into the game, the Buckeyes fell 4-1 to the Quinnipiac Bobcats to end their season.
That Bobcats team will now play Michigan in the Frozen Four while Minnesota faces Boston University in Tampa Bay.
If all goes right for the Big Ten, there could be a national championship game featuring two opponents from the conference.
Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.