Penn State vs. St. Thomas Series Preview

Story posted November 23, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Christopher Hess

With two games down in its four-game Minnesota road trip, Penn State (7-6, 1-5-0) will travel to St. Paul to challenge the nation’s newest program, St. Thomas (1-13, 1-9-0), in a two-game set at St. Thomas Ice Arena.

The Nittany Lions were able to salvage a split in its series at Minnesota last weekend and will look to keep its offensive momentum going after scoring seven total goals.

Kevin Wall leads all Nittany Lions scorers with 13 points (eight goals, five assists) and registered a goal and an assist against the Gophers.

Ben Copeland has seemingly gotten better and better each time he steps out onto the ice and has tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 13 games alongside Connor MacEachern, who has 11 points (seven goals and four assists).

Ryan Kirwan is also another player to watch in the upcoming series against the Tommies. The first-year player cracked the scoresheet in both games with Minnesota and has begun to find his game at the collegiate level.

Jimmy Dowd Jr and Clayton Phillips will be instrumental in keeping the Nittany Lions afloat on the back-end.

The duo has combined for 15 points so far and has the ability to change the course of the game in a matter of seconds.

Oskar Autio started both of the games last weekend and played rather well against a potent Minnesota offense.
The Finnish netminder has a record of 5-4 in nine games played to go along with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.

St. Thomas is in just its first year of division one play and it’s safe to assume that head coach, Rico Blasi, has his work cut out for him.

The Tommies have scored just 22 goals in 14 games, have not scored a goal in three games and have surrendered 17 goals in that span.

Christiano Versich is the points leader with eight (three goals, five assists) and Ohio State transfer, Matthew Jennings, isn’t far behind with seven (two goals, five assists).

It hasn’t just been tough sledding offensively, St. Thomas has been abused in its first handful of games giving up 69 goals and the defense isn’t doing goalie Peter Thome any favors.

Thome, a North Dakota transfer, has seen action in 12 games with a 1-11 record, a goals-against-average of 4.55 and a save percentage of .870.

Two of the younger programs will square off in a series just a few days before the start of the holiday season and Penn State will likely not be in a very giving mood.

Guy Gadowsky’s troops saw quite a bit of improvement in its play against Minnesota and will look to continue that streak against a non-conference foe.

Look for the Nittany Lions to put a hurting on the Tommies early and often before heading back home to play Michigan State on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.

This has the potential to get out of hand fast, but that’s why you play the game.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps

Christopher Hess is a fifth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email christopherhess22@gmail.com.