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Big Ten suspends Wisconsin's Aidan Cavallini and Eddie Wittchow

Both players were suspended for hits on Tommy Novak in Saturday's 9-2 loss to Minnesota.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Big Ten announced Monday that Wisconsin junior forward Aidan Cavallini and senior defenseman Eddie Wittchow were suspended for respective hits in Saturday's 9-2 loss to Minnesota.

Cavallini. who has an assist in 11 games this season was given a one-game suspension for his first period check from behind on Minnesota freshman Tommy Novak. The hit incurred a five minute major for the Badgers, already trailing 3-0 at the time, and game misconduct for Cavallini.

(s/t to @cjzero for both videos)

Wittchow will miss Wisconsin's next three games - a two-game home series against Alaska January 29-30 and a home game against Michigan February 12th - for his third period open-ice hit on Novak with 15:46 remaining.

Wittchow was given a five minute major for contact to the head and a game disqualification, meaning he was already slated to miss at least one game. It's the second game DQ Wittchow has received against the Gophers. The Burnsville, MN native was given one at the end of a game last season that began with a similar hit on Minnesota's Leon Bristedt.

(He did miss out on the "public reprimand" Michigan's Cutler Martin got last week for punching a held down Brandon Kearney.)

"You can't do that. The open ice hit was something you can't make that hit anymore," said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia Saturday, adding that Novak was alert postgame after laying on the ice without moving for a couple minutes. " Both majors were him. I don't know if they were targeting or what. Just those are not good plays."

This is the third straight series between Minnesota and Wisconsin where at least one player was suspended. Wittchow and Minnesota forward Vinni Lettieri were each given one game for their roles in a bench-clearing brawl last January in Minneapolis. Badgers redshirt sophomore Corbin McGuire received a one-game suspension for a knee-on-knee hit in Madison that ended Connor Reilly's season.

Wisconsin hosts Alaska next weekend as part of a 10 year anniversary reunion for the 2006 men's and women's hockey championships. Besides missing Cavallini and Wittchow, the Badgers were without freshman and 2016 NHL Draft eligible forward Luke Kunin, who missed the game with an upper body injury. Badgers head coach Mike Eaves is hopeful that Kunin, who leads the team in goals, will be able to play.


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 --