Six months ago the six Big Ten teams met for media day at Xcel Energy Center. On that day, the inaugural season was ahead. No one was out of the race. Dreams were yet to be dashed, everyone goes home in the fall and returns in the spring.
After 20 conference games, the road back to St. Paul is set.
The Big Ten conference announced Saturday the times and dates for next weekend's conference championship tournament in St. Paul after the final day of conference play. Penn State defeated Ohio State 4-2 for its third Big Ten win. Wisconsin held off a charge by Michigan to win 4-3 on the road. Michigan, a night after losing in OT, routed Minnesota 6-2.
2014 Big Ten Final Standings
|Pts||Wins||Losses||Ties||SO Wins||Goals For||Goals Against|
Point structure: 3 points for reg./OT win, 1 point for tie, 1 extra point for shootout win
All six teams will participate in the 3 day, single-elimination tournament (think WCHA Final Five the last two years minus first-round series) with the top two seeds receiving byes.
2014 Big Ten Tournament (March 20-22, 2014)
All games at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Times listed are Central.
Thursday March 20
2:00 p.m. #3 Michigan vs. #6 Penn State
7:00 p.m. #4 Ohio State vs. #5 Michigan State
Friday March 21
2:00 p.m. #2 Wisconsin vs. Michigan/Penn State winner
7:00 p.m. #1 Minnesota vs. Ohio State/Michigan State winner
Saturday March 22
7:00 p.m. Semifinal #1 winner vs. Semifinal #2 winner (no 3rd place game)
SB Nation College Hockey will be live at Xcel Energy Center covering the Big Ten Conference Tournament. Look out for that.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate