Hockey East-Big Ten Challenge: Hockey East takes 9-4 lead after first weekend

Johnny Gaudreau (13) and Sam Warning (11) lead their teams against one another next weekend - Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan State and Wisconsin being swept on the road helped give Hockey East a 9-4 lead in the inaugural Hockey East-Big Ten Challenge. Seven games are on tap next weekend.

In one weekend of play in the Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge, Hockey East has made the most of its home-ice advantage.

Hockey East leads the October 18-27 challenge in points 9-4 after all six games this weekend were played in HE rinks. Two points are awarded for a win, with one point for a tie regardless whether or not a Big Ten school utilizes a shootout after 65 minutes. Teams will receive a bonus point for a road win.

Massachusetts swept Michigan State with 3-1 and 5-2 victories in Amherst. Wisconsin did not fare any better. In fact it was a weekend to forget. The Badgers, without starting goalie Joel Rumpel, gave up 16 goals in losses to Boston College (9-2) and Boston University (7-3).

Only Michigan, tying and winning in overtime against New Hampshire on the road, was able to break the Hockey East dominance.

This is the first year of the Hockey East-Big Ten Challenge, which features 17 schools that combine to claim 33 national championships between them. The hope between the two conferences is that it is not the last.

"The college hockey landscape is going through a major change this season and each conference needs to look beyond its familiar boundaries," said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna last month. "We have great respect for the hockey-playing institutions in the Big Ten and we hope to develop this concept to allow all of our programs to participate in this competition in future years."

Seven more games will be played next week. Six are at Big Ten arenas while the seventh - a contest between Penn State and Vermont - is at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. If the two conferences are tied in points, the results of the of Penn State-Vermont game will serve as the tie-breaker.

Additionally, the Big Ten won two games opening weekend against Hockey East teams. Michigan defeated Boston College 3-1 at Yost Arena while Minnesota beat New Hampshire 3-2 to win the season-opening Ice Breaker tournament at Mariucci Arena. These games do not count towards the Hockey East-Big Ten Challenge, though.

A Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge Cup will be presented to the conference that records the most points from the 13 games.

Games:

Friday, October 18
Wisconsin at Boston College - BC wins 9-2 (2 points for HE)
Michigan State at Massachusetts - UMass wins 3-1 (2 points for HE)
Michigan at New Hampshire - Tie 1-1 (1 point for HE, 1 point for B1G)

Total: 5-1 Hockey East

Saturday, October 19
Wisconsin at Boston University - BU wins 7-3 (2 points for HE
Michigan State at Massachusetts - UMass wins 5-2 (2 points for HE)
Michigan at New Hampshire - Michigan wins 3-2 (OT) (3 points for B1G)

Total: 4-3 Hockey East (9-4 total)

Games Next Weekend

Friday, October 25
Boston College at Minnesota
Boston University at Michigan
UMass Lowell at Michigan State

Saturday, October 26
Boston University at Michigan State
UMass Lowell at Michigan
Penn State vs. Vermont in Philadelphia (tie-breaker game)

Sunday, October 27
Boston College at Minnesota

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter --

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