MHKY: PSU Looks to Take Down #3 Notre Dame in Weekend Series
George Stockburger, Eric Ohlson and Alissa Devine break down this weekends series versus Notre Dame.
For the first time in the program’s history, the Penn State Nittany Lions will be facing the Notre Dame fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana.
#3 Notre Dame is the favorite to win the weekend matchup. The Fighting Irish are 3-1 after breaking even in their series against #2 Minnesota-Duluth last weekend.
Irish forward Anders Bjork leads the country in points. His 10 points (5 assists, 5 goals) are indicative of how dominant the Irish have been on offense. Sophomore Dylan Malmquist is tied for the second most points in the country with 8 points. The Irish have outscored opponents 19-9 this season with more than half of those coming on the power play.
Penn State is looking to crack the top 20 this weekend, a goal that is probable if they can win the series. Penn State split their opening series with #12 St. Lawrence to start the season. Last Friday, the Lions shut out Mercyhurst 7-0.
The young Lions, with most of the team being underclassmen, have demonstrated excellent poise at the start of the season.
Captain David Goodwin has set the tone on the ice. Although his stats do not demonstrate his impact, the senior has helped manage the Lions in-game pace.
Many notable freshmen have already made their impact felt. Forward Nate Sucese scored two goals against Mercyhurst.
“I’m just getting more comfortable,” Sucese told GoPSUSports.com. “Learning from the older guys… just trying to take it all in and get better every week.”
Forward Denis Smirnov has demonstrated incredible stick skills to help open offensive lanes.
The defense has performed well, stopping opponents on every power play this season (15). Sophomore Kevin Kerr been one of the defense’s most impactful players. His intelligent play has helped limit opponents shots on goal.
One player Penn Staters will be keeping their eye on is freshman goalie Peyton Jones. Jones started the season with an excellent performance against St. Lawrence, but faltered in the second game giving up 3 goals in the first five minutes.
Mercyhurst wasn’t able to get the puck past Jones last Friday, and he will be looking to build off of that game and secure the starting position.
The determining factor in this upcoming series is the composure of the young, talented Lions. The trigger-happy Fighting Irish will present new challenges to the Penn State defense.
The series begins Friday night at 7:30. Saturday night, the puck is set to drop at 7:10. Both games can be streamed on nbcsports.com.
Paddy Cotter is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To email him, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.