Hockey Preview: Alaska Anchorage
George Stockburger, Eric Ohlson and Paddy Cotter bring you all you need to know about this weekend's series between No. 12 Penn State and Alaska Anchorage.
Penn State's No. 12-ranked men's hockey team will host unranked Alaska Anchorage (UAA) for back-to-back games this Friday and Saturday.
Penn State should improve their 7-1-1 record to 9-1-1 after the weekend.
UAA is 1-7 coming into the weekend. Their only win came at the hands of Canisius, whom Penn State has already beaten twice.
Lack of scoring is the problem for UAA, they have a combined 10 goals in their regular season, which is uncharacteristically low for Penn State’s usual opponents.
With Penn State's extremely tight defense and two impressive goaltenders, who will most likely split the duties for the weekend, it is going to be tough for UAA to put up many points this weekend.
In Penn State's last four games, the goaltending duo of Peyton Jones and Chris Funkey have only let up five goals. Jones, with a save percentage of .923, and Funkey, with a save percentage of .951, have been nothing but impressive for Penn State so far this season.
Hopefully they can continue their solid performances when Big Ten conference play starts at the beginning of December.
That being said, there isn't expected to be a huge offensive showcase from UAA. However, Penn State's offense is expected to continue to roll through their opponent.
In the last four games, Penn State has scored a combined 18 goals, coming from nine different players. Two of those players happen to be defensemen.
When Penn State sees all of its lines producing goals and defensemen steeping up into offensive play they become an unstoppable force, which is evident in their current five-game win streak.
UAA should especially be on the lookout for sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz, who is on a three game goal-scoring streak. Sturtz has been quite impressive all year, but has been heating up as of late.
This weekend is a great opportunity for Penn State to improve their power play and polish their penalty kill.
Last weekend against Niagara, Penn State capitalize twice during 10 power play attempts. Each week brings improvement on the power play for Penn State.
Also, the number of penalties Penn State takes continues to drop as the season goes on.
This weekend’s match-up will be a lot like Penn State’s tilts with Canisius and Niagara; total domination during Friday’s game, then Penn State will start to play down to UAA’s level on Saturday.
It will show great mental toughness on Penn State’s behalf if they don’t fall into a lull on Saturday. They need to come out strong and net a goal or two in the first period to set the tone for the rest of the game.
This is coach Guy Gadowsky’s, and captain David Goodwin’s job this weekend. They need to keep their team motivated through two games to prepare themselves for conference play that is just around the corner.
Carly Pendergast is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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