Penn State vs. Wisconsin Men’s Hockey Series Preview

Story posted December 9, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Evan Popalis

Back to the frigid north go the Nittany Lions.

Penn State strolls into Madison, Wisconsin, for a two-game series against the Badgers in a matchup that features two teams trying to re-establish themselves in the Big Ten conference.

The blue and white don a 10-7-0 overall record accompanied by a 2-6-0 mark in conference play. Penn State is coming off its most competitive series in a battle versus Michigan State.

“It’s nice to see us growing and moving in a way that feels like us and an identity,” coach Guy Gadowsky said.

Junior forward Connor MacEachern continues to be a force on both ends of the ice for the Nittany Lions. He has ten goals and 15 points in total.

A new goalscorer broke through for the Nittany Lions. Fourth-line center freshman Carson Dyck found the back of the net in his 14th collegiate game.

The 2021-22 campaign has not treated the Badgers too kindly thus far. Wisconsin provides a 4-11-1 (2-6-0) record as it gets set to host the Nittany Lions. The Badgers’ last regular-season series came against Clarkson. Wisconsin went 0-1-1 in that series.

Typically, Wisconsin sits in a decent position come postseason play, but this year may be a different story for the team from Madison.

Special teams have been the main weakness for the men in red and white sweaters. Wisconsin is a staggeringly low 62.8% on the penalty kill this season. The Badgers have allowed 16 tallies by the opposition on the man advantage.

Regarding the powerplay for itself, Wisconsin is 11.5% through its first 16 games. The best opportunity for the Badgers will have to be playing a solid game during 5-on-5 action and staying out of the box.

The Badgers have relied on a tandem in net this season. Junior Jared Moe and sophomore Cameron Rowe have split the duties between the pipes. Moe may be called upon twice in a massive series for both clubs.

Moe possesses a 2.54 goals-against average that pairs up with a .924 save percentage. He has allowed nine powerplay goals along with a short-handed tally.

None of the Wisconsin skaters on the roster have a positive plus-minus on the season. The leading scorer for the Badgers is senior forward Brock Caufield, with three goals and seven points.

“One thing that you are always concerned about with them is their explosiveness,” Gadowsky said. “They have been able to be opportunistic.”

The Nittany Lions provide a fast-tempo style of play that can give the Badgers fits. Wisconsin will attempt to slow down the attack of Penn State to provide it an opportunity to knock off the visiting Nittany Lions.

If penalties become prominent from both sides, expect Penn State to have the upper hand in the series.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps

Evan Popalis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email epopalis83@gmail.com.

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Evan Popalis

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Evan Popalis is a third-year from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer, analyst, and play-by-play commentator for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include weekly NHL betting previews along with power rankings for the NHL and NFL. He appears weekly on the NHL Podcast as a host and analyst reviewing the previous week’s action. If you would like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).