The Face-Off Tackle Empire: Jockeying for Position

Gregory Shamus

A look at the home stretch and how each team will set up for the inaugural B1G tournament.

Here are this week's updated B1G hockey standings.

CONFERENCE OVERALL
PTS GP W L T SOW GF GA GP W L T GF GA
Minnesota 32 14 10 2 2 0 40 24 30 21 4 5 106 59
Wisconsin 31 16 10 5 1 0 48 34 30 19 9 2 96 73
Michigan
23 14 7 6 1 1 44 44 28 15 10 3 82 72
Ohio State
20 14 5 6 3 2 39 36 28 15 10 3 95 74
Michigan State
19 16 3 7 6 4 29 37 31 9 15 7 65 73
Penn State
7 14 2 11 1 0 30 55 28 6 20 2 65 106

Okay, here we go, it's the final push of the regular season, the teams have six, and in some cases less, conference games left. Let's take a look who will take the coveted top two bye spots and who will battle who in the first round.

Minnesota: The Gophers have six games left, and are pretty much a lock for one of the top two spots, if not the top spot. Unless, of course, disaster happens and they drop 4 or 5 of them and that is unlikely to happen because they are just too strong. They have PSU this weekend for two games at home on the big ice at Mariucci Arena, followed by a two game series away at OSU and Michigan. Things are looking Golden for the Gophers.

Wisconsin: The Badgers only have four games left, so if Minnesota takes care of business, Wisconsin will have a hard time catching them. Wisconsin plays very well at home but has had some road struggles this season. They are idle this weekend but hit the road for their final four games, at PSU and then at MSU. We'll see if they can get over their road woes and hold onto the second bye spot that they currently sit in.

Michigan: While eight points behind Wisconsin for that second bye spot, Michigan has six games left and if they were to roll with 3 points for a win, it's conceivable that they could catch the Badgers. They do not play Wisconsin, so there is no chance of losing ground from head to head losses. Michigan finishes with two home and home series with OSU and MSU, and then hosts Minnesota for two. Four out of six games left at home. Michigan could easily end up in second place.

Ohio State : The Puckeyes have six games left and are only three points back of Michigan and it will be interesting to see if they can catch them. OSU is certainly capable of playing good hockey and should not be overlooked. and they are right in the mix to finish third overall and inevitably take on PSU in round one. OSU has a home and home with Michigan this weekend, then host Minnesota, and wrap up the regular season at PSU.

Michigan State : Sparty sits in the back of the three through five bottleneck, but certainly are still within striking distance to take third overall. It will be tough for them as they only have four conference games left, however. They'll need to win at least three to gain any ground. No conference action for them this weekend, but they do get a chance to stay sharp with a game against the US National Developmental team (Some of the best 18 year old players the country has to offer) at home this weekend. They finish up with a home and home series with Michigan and then wrap the season at home hosting Wisconsin.

Penn State : Well the D1 noobs will most certainly finish last in the conference. They do have six games left, so they can finish off on a positive note. They are big, physical and kind of dirty (my kind of hockey) so while not winning a ton they do seem to be no fun at all to play against. They get to play on the big ice in Minnesota this weekend (this will be tough) and then they have their last four games at home against Wisconsin and OSU.

It will be interesting to see how it shakes out the next three weeks as who will play who in the tournament will slowly reveal itself. Well see if the top dogs will remain top dogs and who in the tight pack behind can play spoiler.

Join us as always for this weeks featured games.

Ohio State @ Michigan, Friday Feb 28. 6:30pm. TV : BTN

Penn State @ Minnesota, Friday Feb 28. 9:00pm TV : BTN

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