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Isles Prospects Go-pher Big Ten Title

Two Isles prospects - and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers - get set for the Big-Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 4:11 PM ET / News
By Cory Wright
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Isles Prospects Go-pher Big Ten Title

With three native Minnesotans on the Islanders roster in Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Kyle Okposo, the State of Hockey is well-represented on Long Island. When the Xcel Energy Center in Minnapolis, MN hosts the inaugural Big Ten Tournament this week, the Islanders will be well-represented, as prospects Jake Bischoff and Taylor Cammarata look to continue the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers winning tradition. The tournament began Thursday afternoon, but Minnesota has a first round-bye and will meet Ohio State on Friday night at 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Eastern Time).

Islanders’ fans will have a keen eye on Cammarata and Bischoff, two freshmen selected by the Islanders in the 2013 draft. Cammarata showed some of the offensive explosiveness that made him a third-round pick scoring 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 34 games for the Gophers and finishing eighth in team scoring.

“I’m getting more accustomed to the college game,” he said. “Everybody is stronger and it’s a more defensive game. So I am just trying to get used to that… The most important thing is to move quickly and get open.”

Cammarata contributed on a consistent basis by playing on the second line and earning some power-play minutes.

Bischoff, a defenseman, had three goals and four assists in his rookie campaign, but finished with a plus-15 rating, good for sixth on the team.

“Offensively and defensively, Jake has been solid,” Cammarata said. “He’s been one of the top freshman defenseman, so he’s done well.”

The Gophers enter the tournament as the nation’s top team, boasting a 25-5-6 record. They are assured a spot in the NCAA tournament beginning next week, but are looking to add a Big-Ten playoff title to their achievements this season. They’ve already claimed their third straight regular-season title (winning this year’s Big-Ten and the two Western Collegiate Hockey Association titles before that).

Minnesota’s success can be attributed to their tight defensive play, as they’ve allowed the fewest goals in the country. Goaltender Adam Wilcox is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and was named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year. Wilcox is nearly unbeatable when on his game, with a 1.91 goals against average and a .934 save percentage this season – both ranked third in the country. The Gophers goaltender is also up for the Mike Richter Award for college hockey’s top goaltender.

The Gophers’ top scorer, Kyle Rau, has 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) in 36 games – but Minnesota has gotten contributions from up and down the lineup. Nine players on Minnesota’s roster have 20 or more points, with another five scoring at least 10.

“We’ve had scoring from almost everybody on the team,” Cammarata said. “The wealth is spread around.”

Big Ten Tournament Schedule:

Quarterfinals:
#3 Michigan vs. #6 Penn State | Thurs., March 20 | 2 p.m.

#4 Ohio State vs. #5 Michigan State | Thurs., March 20 | 7 p.m.

Semifinals:
#2 Wisconsin vs. Michigan/Penn State | Friday, March 21 | 2 p.m.

#1 Minnesota vs. Ohio State/Michigan State | Friday, March 21 | 7 p.m.

Championship:
Semifinal Winners | Saturday, March 22 | 7 p.m.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 51 21 24 -3 45
K. Okposo 52 15 29 -10 44
F. Nielsen 54 15 20 -2 35
B. Nelson 54 20 11 -2 31
M. Grabovski 54 9 16 2 25
N. Leddy 54 4 21 -11 25
A. Lee 54 9 15 0 24
J. Bailey 53 9 15 3 24
R. Strome 43 6 15 -5 21
C. Cizikas 54 5 13 4 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 13 12 4 .914 2.42
T. Greiss 15 6 2 .930 2.21
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