The 2017 Big Ten Hockey Tournament begins Thursday afternoon and runs through Saturday evening, when two teams will face off for the conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The tournament will take place at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit and will include all six teams in the Big Ten: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
The tournament opens Thursday with a pair of quarterfinal games — the 3-seed Buckeyes vs. the 6-seed Spartans at 4:30 p.m. ET, followed by the 4-seed Nittany Lions vs. 5-seed Wolverines at 8 p.m. The top two seeds, the No. 1 Gophers and No. 2 Badgers, receive first-round byes and will play the quarterfinal winners in the semis on Friday, also at 4:30 and 8 p.m.
The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday. The winner of the Big Ten Hockey Tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
— Big Ten Hockey (@B1GHockey) March 12, 2017
Big Ten Hockey Tournament 2017 times, matchups
At Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
Thursday, March 16
Quarterfinal: No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Michigan State, 4:30 p.m. ET
Quarterfinal: No. 4 Penn State vs. No. 5 Michigan, 8 p.m. ET
Friday, March 17
Semifinal: No. 2 Wisconsin vs. Ohio State or Michigan State, 4:30 p.m. ET
Semifinal: No. 1 Minnesota vs. Penn State or Michigan, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 18
Championship: 8 p.m. ET
What TV channel are the Big Ten Hockey Tournament games on?
Big Ten Network will broadcast all five tournament games, including the championship game.
Can I watch the Big Ten Hockey Tournament online?
The Big Ten Hockey Tournament will be streamed on BTN2Go. Click here for more information on BTN2Go.
2017 Big Ten Hockey Tournament preview
The top two seeds
No. 1 Minnesota (23-10-3): The Golden Gophers enter the Big Ten Hockey Tournament ranked No. 5 in the USCHO.com Top 25 poll.
Sophomore forward Tyler Sheehy — a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the nation’s top Division I hockey player — leads the Big Ten in scoring with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists), while teammate Justin Kloos leads the Big Ten with 6 game-winning goals and 3 short-handed goals.
No. 2 Wisconsin (19-14-1): Under first-year coach and former NHL player Tony Granato, the Badgers are No. 18 in the nation, but they come into the tournament losers of four of their last five — including a season-ending sweep at the hands of the Buckeyes on March 10-11.
Sophomore forward Luke Kunin leads Wisconsin in scoring with 36 points (21 goals, 15 assists), and freshman Trent Frederic is second among Big Ten freshmen in scoring with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists).
No. 3 Ohio State (20-10-6) vs. No. 6 Michigan State (7-23-4), 4:30 p.m. ET
The Buckeyes are ranked 13th in the nation and sport the Big Ten’s most potent power play (46 goals). Leading scorer Mason Jobst (51 points — 18 goals, 33 assists) leads the conference in power-play points (27) and assists (18) while teammate Nick Schilkey leads the Big Ten with 15 power-play goals.
Sophomore forward Mason Appleton, a sixth-round pick in 2015 by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, leads Michigan State with 12 goals and 18 assists.
No. 4 Penn State (21-11-2) vs. No. 5 Michigan (13-18-3), 8 p.m. ET
Michigan is the defending Big Ten tournament champion, but after the graduation of the bulk of its starters from last season’s team, the Wolverines struggled this season. Michigan is fifth in the Big Ten in total goals (91) and the conference’s most penalized team (469 penalty minutes). The Wolverines, however, won four of their final five regular-season games. Freshman forward Jake Slaker leads the Wolverines with seven goals and 14 assists.
The Nittany Lions are ranked 15th and one of the nation’s upstart programs. Just five years after it became a Division I program, Penn State is not only nationally ranked but boasts one of the Big Ten’s most dynamic freshmen in forward Denis Smirnov. He leads Penn State — and all Big Ten freshman — with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points. Michigan, however, closed the regular season last weekend with a two-game sweep of the Nittany Lions. These two now make it three in a row, but this time on neutral ice.