No. 5 Penn State on Enemy Ice for First Time in a Month Against No. 19 Notre Dame

Story posted December 7, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

Same story, different week.

The No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to South Bend to battle the No. 19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for another ranked Big Ten matchup.

That No. 5 ranking in the polls is the highest since 2018, and it comes after yet another series split with a conference opponent, this time in then-ranked No. 17 Ohio State.

It was a feeling of deja vu all over again, as Penn State moved to 9-0-0 in series openers with a 2-1 win over the Buckeyes in the first matchup.

Yet in the second game, the Nittany Lions were chasing the game all sixty minutes and couldn’t catch up, falling to Ohio State 4-3.

Despite splitting the last four Big Ten series, coach Guy Gadowsky still has a lot of faith in his squad.

“We didn’t win the last game, but there’s a lot to be happy about from a coaching standpoint,” Gadowsky said. “If we can have all cylinders firing at the same time, we could be very excited at what we have.”

This series marks the first time Penn State will be on the road since Nov. 10 and Nov. 11, where they traveled to Minnesota to battle the Golden Gophers.

Going on the road for the first time in a month is no easy task, but as one of the top teams in the nation, the blue and white have to come up big.

“The mission doesn’t change, whether we are home or away,” junior defenseman Jimmy Dowd said. “The mission is the same every single weekend and that’s to play Penn State hockey.”

The Fighting Irish are normally one of the top teams each year in the Big Ten, yet this year has not been their year.

Notre Dame is off to a mediocre 7-7-2 start, including a 3-5 record in the month of November.

Jeff Jackson’s squad has only one sweep on the season, way back on the weekend of Oct. 14 against Northern Michigan, and currently sit sixth in the Big Ten.

The blue and gold are a team very familiar with the Penn State brand of hockey, winning the season series four games to none in the previous campaign.

“They are a tough team. They’re really good defensively,” senior forward Kevin Wall said. “But I don’t think we need to change anything about our game. We know our game works, we’ve seen it.”

The Fighting Irish are led by junior Ryder Rolston, whose 11 points lead the team through 16 games.

The offensive struggles are apparent throughout Notre Dame’s lineup, with only Rolston and teammate Chayse Primeau in the double-digits in points, on a team that averages just over two goals a game.

While the blue and gold are one of the best teams defensively, averaging 2.88 goals against per game, their main weakness lies on the penalty kill, which sits at an abysmal 75.9%.

This series proves to be a prime opporutinity for the Nittany Lions to pounce on their prey, with a power play that is 6-27 in it’s last six games.

To be one of the best in the nation, you have to knock your opposition while they are down, and anything less than a sweep this weekend may raise some serious questions about this group.

Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email