Penn State Men’s Hockey vs. Army Game Preview
After a couple of weeks off, Penn State is looking to start the new year right in a one-off matchup with the Army Black Knights.
Despite struggling in Big Ten play this campaign, the Nittany Lions have remained above .500 with an 11-8 record thanks to an 8-1 non-conference record.
On the other hand, Army has just two non-conference victories. The Black Knights will be looking to move above hockey .500 with a win against Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are looking for consistency in 2022 as they split three of their last four series to end 2021. Penn State will certainly want to begin stockpiling wins beginning with a victory against Army building off its thrilling overtime win against Wisconsin back on Dec. 11.
Upfront the Nittany Lions have been led by junior forwards Kevin Wall and Connor MacEachern. The two forwards are by far Penn State’s leading goal scorers with 11 goals each, more than double that of any other Nittany Lion.
Army finished 2021 on a three-game winning streak, but like Penn State, has not played since early December.
The Black Knights are led by their man between the pipes in sophomore goaltender Gavin Abric. The 6’ 3” goalie has a remarkable 2.074 goals against average and .934 save percentage this season.
Over its current three-game winning streak, Army has outscored opponents 14-4.
In their only other matchup with a Big Ten team this season, the Black Knights were swept by Wisconsin back in October.
Army could only manage one goal against a Badger team that has had a losing record for most of this season.
Despite the concerning numbers against another Big Ten opponent, Army struggled as a whole early this season, not winning its first game in regulation until Oct. 30 against Princeton.
The last time Penn State played a non-conference opponent the Nittany Lions swept St. Thomas with some wide margins of victory.
There is still a long way to go before conference tournaments are played and the NCAA tournament begins. Both Penn State and Army will need to put together impressive victories in 2022 if they hope to still be in the race in a few months’ time.
For Penn State, the conference schedule only gets more challenging with matchups against Notre Dame and Michigan on the horizon.
It should be an intriguing defensive battle on New Year’s night with one team getting off on the right foot after a long break.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.