Hockey Preview: Penn State vs. Niagara
Ryan Berti, Alissa Devine, and Eric Ohlson preview this weekend's matchup between Penn State and Niagara at Pegula Ice Arena.
Penn State men’s hockey takes to the road for just the second time this season after hosting three home series. Last weekend against 15th ranked St. Lawrence, the Nittany Lions (4-2-1) tied the first game and lost the second, marking the first series all season that Penn State walked away without a win. This Friday, however, they look to turn things around in a single game against the Niagara Purple Eagles (0-5-1, 0-1-1 AHA) in the battle of the Olczyk brothers. Tommy, Penn State’s senior forward, faces off against older brother Eddie, the newly appointed Purple Eagles assistant coach.
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Purple Eagles, who are Penn State’s fourth first-time opponent so far this season. Niagara is allowing 4.5 goals per game and only scoring 1.7, while averaging 25.2 shots on net. Last weekend against Cornell, the Purple Eagles dropped both games, the first 3-2 in overtime and the second a 4-0 shutout.
The Purple Eagles haven’t had much scoring success so far this season. Nick Farmer and Dan Koldenda share the team lead with two goals each while Ryan Kuhn and Vinny Muto both lead the team with four points apiece. Guillame Therian will most likely get the start in net for the Purple Eagles in Friday night’s matchup. He averages 4.74 goals against and has an 88.2 save percentage.
The Nittany Lions look to return to their winning ways. Most likely in net for Penn State will be senior goaltender Matthew Skoff, who has been splitting starts with Eamon McAdam. Skoff has posted a 4.26 goals against average as well as an 83.3 save percentage and will be looking to record the team’s first shutout of the season.
Penn State also looks to regain their power play prowess. Just two weeks ago, the Nittany Lions had the best power play in the nation, scoring on seven of sixteen chances, but in last week’s series, they were a dismal one for fifteen. Their penalty kill on the other hand was fantastic, killing eight of nine St. Lawrence opportunities. In addition, the Nittany Lions look to continue to add to their nation leading average of 44.7 shots per game.
David Goodwin looks to continue his seven-game point streak, which is good for second in the Division-I history of the team, just two games shy of Taylor Holstrom’s nine-game streak last year.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. at Dwyer Arena in Niagara, New York.
Brandon Pelter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org