Penn State Hockey Weekend Preview

Audio/Story posted January 15, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff


Alissa Devine, Marty Kassalen, Brian Donnelly, and Eric Ohlson preview this weekend's series between Penn State and the Wisconsin Badgers.


The No. 15 Penn State Nittany Lions (13-4-3, 3-1-0-0 B1G) look to continue to dominate at Pegula Ice Arena as they host the Wisconsin Badgers (4-8-6, 1-3-2-1 B1G) for a Big Ten showdown this Friday and Saturday.

The Nittany Lions have won the past four contests against the Badgers, the longest win streak against any opponent in Division I program history. While Penn State has benefitted handsomely from home ice advantage throughout the past two seasons with a record of 22-5-4, Wisconsin has a record of 2-2 while playing at the Peg.

In 20 games this season, Penn State has topped all major statistical categories from the 2014-2015 season, which was a record-breaking year itself.

The key to success for the Nittany Lions has been its explosive offense that averages 4.15 goals per game, a stat that is tied for fourth in NCAA Division I play. The impressive offensive numbers stem from the team’s ability to generate shots on net, as they lead the nation in shots per game with 44.10.

One story line all year for Penn State is their success on the power play. Their power play ranks sixth nationally with a percentage of .262, but the Badgers have the sixth best penalty kill in the country that has successfully killed 60 of 68 penalties this season including eight of nine last weekend against Ohio State. On the other side of the puck, Wisconsin only has a power play percentage of .200 while PSU has scored seven shorthanded goals, a stat that leads the country.

If Wisconsin is going to outlast Penn State, they will need junior forward Grant Besse to get back to his old ways. Besse finally ended his seven-game goal drought after finding the back of the net last Saturday. The Badgers can only hope Besse is beginning to find his stride again after being the teams leading goal scorer and point getter last season.

In addition to Besse, the Badgers freshman forward Luke Kunin leads the team with seven goals and poses quite a threat in opposing zones.

Wisconsin has already tied its win total from last season and a big reason for that is the team’s ability to stay in the game. They have scored six goals in the final minute of play this season and five of those games have led to either a tie or a win.

They also have found success in overtime going 1-0-11 in their last 12 OT contests without recording an OT loss.

Freshman goaltender Matt Jurusik has started 15 consecutive games, but will have his hands full with some of the star freshman on the Penn State side. Between forwards Chase Berger, Andrew Sturtz and Alec Marsh, the trio has scored 24 goals so far this season in their first year with the team.

While the Lions look much more equipped by the looks of the stats and depth charts, this weekend has high implications for both teams and could prove to be extremely important when shaking out the final standings in the Big Ten.

Puck drop for the first game of the series is scheduled for 6:30pm on Friday. Be sure to tune in right here on ComRadio.

Mike D’Avella is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Mike D'Avella's photo

Mike D'Avella

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Mike D’Avella is a senior from West Chester, Pa., majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in business. He is a sports director, producer, play-by-play voice, talk show personality and beat writer on the sports side of CommRadio. Mike is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He has completed internships with the Philadelphia Phillies in the summers of 2014 and 2015, Advanced Media in the spring of 2016, the State College Spikes Minor League baseball production department in the summer of 2016 and Interscope Records in Santa Monica, California. He is also the drummer in a State College based Alternative Rock band called “The New Feel” who has performed at venues such as the Bryce Jordan Center. Mike plans to pursue a career in sports media or the entertainment industry in the hopes of becoming a producer or radio personality for a sports or music station. You can reach him via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and follow him on Twitter @_mikedavella.

Eric Ohlson's photo

Eric Ohlson

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Eric Ohlson is a member of ComRadio’s sports and production staffs. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Kinesiology and is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Eric has done play-by-play for Penn State lacrosse, volleyball, softball, soccer and hockey, and has served as a producer for volleyball and hockey. A big hockey fan, Eric is the current host of ComRadio’s NHL talk show, “The Sin Bin.” One day, Eric hopes to being doing radio or TV play-by-play for lacrosse, soccer and hockey. Outside of ComRadio, Eric is the VP of the Hands For Heroes Club and spent two years in Army ROTC. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Marty Kassalen's photo

Marty Kassalen

Sophomore /

Marty Kassalen is a sophomore from Pittsburgh, PA majoring in Public Relations with minors in US History and Digital Media Trends & Analytics. He is a correspondent for ComRadio’s men’s hockey coverage and is also the host of ComRadio’s longest running talk show: The Sin Bin. Additionally, Marty is a member of Penn State’s chapter of PRSSA and College of Communications Student Council. Furthermore, Marty actively serves as a member of THON’s Public Relations committee. Marty has aspirations to become a public relations practitioner with a focus in sports. He is an avid sports fan, supporting the Pittsburgh based teams and the Montreal Canadians. You can reach him via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Alissa Devine's photo

Alissa Devine

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Alissa Devine is a senior from Fairfield, New Jersey, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor is business liberal arts. She is involved with play by play and beat writing for several Penn State sports, especially hockey. She is also a member of the talk show, The Sin Bin for Com Radio. Alissa’s love for sports and hockey has driven her to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.