Penn State announced Thursday that it is canceling its men's hockey series against the Gophers scheduled for Feb. 27-28 because of positive COVID-19 tests within its program. Minnesota announced that the move was mutually agreed upon.
This is the third consecutive series that the Nittany Lions have had to alter because of COVID-19 issues. Their Feb. 12-13 Big Ten series against Ohio State has been postponed, with no makeup date yet announced. The nonconference series against Arizona State on Saturday and Sunday was canceled. Penn State's only remaining series on its regular-season schedule is March 5-6 at Notre Dame.
With the cancellation, the Gophers have two series remaining, both at home — Friday and Saturday against Michigan State, and March 5-6 against Michigan.
Because of differences in the number of games played by the seven conference teams, the Big Ten will use winning percentage in conference games rather than points total to determine its final standings. The Gophers (13-5 Big Ten) are in first place in the conference with 39 points, two more than Wisconsin (12-5-1). The Badgers have three series remaining — this weekend vs. Notre Dame, Feb. 26-27 vs. Ohio State and March 5-6 at Michigan State.
If all its remaining games are played, Wisconsin would end up playing 24 Big Ten games to the Gophers' 22. If Minnesota wins its final four games in non-shootout fashion, it will finish 17-5 – a .773 winning percentage – and win the regular-season title. The best Wisconsin could finish is 18-5-1, or a .750 winning percentage.
The Big Ten's tiebreaking procedures state that shootout wins will be considered a tie for the purpose of breaking ties in the standings for tournament seeding. Games that go to shootout will be considered a tie and treated that way in calculating winning percentages.