Minnesota remains the only team to win a Big Ten regular season hockey title.
The Gophers celebrated winning the 2014-15 regular season title outright Saturday night at Mariucci Arena following Saturday' 6-2 win over Penn State. Minnesota finished with 39 points, 2 more than Michigan State. Michigan finished third with 36 points while Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin round out the conference order.
"Last year the road was pretty smooth to get there. This year we had to meander a little bit to do that. It's never easy to win a championship," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said after Saturday's game about his team, which went 4-8-2 between mid-December and mid-January. "To our guys' credit we came out of the month of January and played some pretty good hockey."
Entering the weekend tied for second with Michigan and behind Michigan State, Minnesota swept Penn State 5-1 and 6-2. The Spartans and Wolverines split a home and home series with the road team winning both games.
Despite ending where the preseason predictions had them, the longer road was rewarding.
"It's more fun when it's not all the struggles, but you see the guys there winning. I looked up in the locker room and told (associate Athletics Director) Tom McGinnis 'that's what makes coaching worthwhile.' Sometimes we've had to push and prod this group at times during the course of the season, but we had really good leadership obviously with this senior group that went through so much," said Lucia.
It's the second consecutive Big Ten regular season title for the Gophers and fourth consecutive overall. Minnesota won two titles in the WCHA (the latter shared with St. Cloud State) before leaving for the Big Ten, which began sponsoring men's hockey in 2013-14.
No other Minnesota senior class has ever won four consecutive regular season titles in the 94 years of a program which dates back to 1921-22.
"Obviously it's special," senior Seth Ambroz said. "Now it's just for us to take a step forward and hopefully win a Big Ten playoff championship."
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate