MHKY: No. 10 Penn State vs No. 13 Princeton Preview
The Penn State hockey team continues its eight game home stand to start the season this
Friday by welcoming the Princeton Tigers to Pegula Ice Arena. Although this is
already Penn State’s third series of the year, it will be Princeton’s first game, due to Ivy
League rules that teams play a maximum of 29 games -- whereas the rest of college hockey
plays around 35 -- as a way of emphasizing academics over athletics. This is partially why
Penn State and Princeton will only be playing one game this weekend, instead of the usual
two game series that most college hockey teams play each weekend. Additionally, Penn
State prohibits home hockey games on the same day as home football games, so Penn
State and Princeton cannot play Saturday.
Princeton will be making its second ever visit to Happy Valley, with the other being a 6-3
Penn State win in 2015. The Tigers and Nittany Lions played each other during Penn State’s
Big Ten championhip season of 2016-17 as part of the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. In this matchup,
Princeton upset the then-ranked No. 4 Nittany Lions. They will play again in this same
event against each other this December in the last game of the semester.
The No. 13 ranked Tigers will be led by their lethal combination of senior forwards Max
Véronneau and Ryan Kuffner, who finished third and fourth in the country in scoring last year. Even with playing with the shortened Ivy League schedule, both legitimate Hobey Baker candidates this year. Véronneau and Kuffner, both Ottawa natives, have been playing
together since 2011, when they were teammates on the Ottawa 67’s Midget Minor AAA team.
No. 10 Penn State comes into the game with a 4-0 record after impressive sweeps over a
ranked Clarkson team and a Niagara squad that they outscored 12-3 over two games. The
Lions have two more non-conference series after this: The aforementioned Philadelphia
College Hockey Face-off as well as hosting a two-game set with Arizona State and a home
and home series with in-state rival Robert Morris. The Nittany Lions will then start play in what is arguably the best
conference in college hockey, the Big Ten.
Penn State will be led by the “three B’s”: The sophomore-junior-senior trio of Evan Barratt, Chase
Berger and Brandon Biro, who each have six points through four games. Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky is quite familiar with the
Princeton hockey program, as he coached there from 2004-2011 before leaving to
become Penn State’s coach in their inaugural season at the NCAA Division I level.
Although Penn State and Princeton is a very enticing matchup between two top-15 teams,
there are many other huge games this weekend. In an all-Ohio matchup, No. 15 Bowling
Green State heads to Columbus to take on a fourth-ranked Ohio State team following a
disappointing 1-1 split at UMass last weekend. However, nothing comes close to the hype of
the No. 1 team in the country, Notre Dame, hosting the No. 3 team (and defending national
champion) Minnesota-Duluth. With each team holding national championship aspirations,
this nationally televised series (NBCSN) is one to watch.
Jeremy Schooler is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism and business. Reach him
via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.