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Jan. 24, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team will travel to Big Ten country for the for the first time when it faces off against Michigan State for a two-game series Jan. 25-26. Opening faceoff for Friday night's contest is set at 7:05 p.m., while Saturday night's game, which will broadcast live on BTN, is scheduled at 6:05 p.m.
The Nittany Lions (9-12-0), who are competing as an independent during their first NCAA Division I season, will join the Spartans, as well as Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin for the first season of Big Ten play in 2013-14.
In its last game, Penn State snapped its three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory against Vermont in front of a record crowd of 19,529 at Wells Fargo Center Jan. 19. Juniors Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Justin Kirchhevel (Brookings, S.D.) led the Nittany Lions with a goal and an assist each, while freshman netminder Matthew Skoff (McKees Rocks, Pa.) turned aside 34 shots for the win.
The Spartans, who were swept by Ferris State Jan. 11-12, will enter the weekend at 6-15-3 overall and 5-12-1 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Leading scorer Matt Berry, who will miss the series opener after receiving a game disqualification penalty against the U.S. National U18 Team Jan. 22, paces the squad in goals (11) and points (20). In net, freshman Jake Hildebrand has compiled a 4-10-2 record with a 2.02 goals-against average and .937 save percentage.
Fans can listen to both games on the Penn State Sports Network and through the All-Access channel at GoPSUsports.com. In addition, the weekend finale Saturday will broadcast live on the BTN with Dan Kelly (play-by-play), Rob Andringa (analyst) and Kara Lenz (reporter) on the call.
Live stats will also be available for both games, while fans can follow in-game updates through the team's Twitter account (@PennStateMHKY).
BIG TEN OPPONENTS
The Spartans will represent the second future Big Ten foe on Penn State's 2012-13 schedule. The Nittany Lions are 1-0-0 against Big Ten teams after defeating Ohio State, 5-4, at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center Dec. 29.
With 19,529 in the stands at Wells Fargo Center Jan. 19, the Penn State vs. Vermont game was the most attended college hockey game in an NHL arena.
The Nittany Lions have played in both Pennsylvania-based NHL arenas, as well as the Penguins' AHL venue in Wilkes-Barre. Penn State, which is 3-1-0 at professional arenas in the Commonwealth, will also play in Hershey Feb. 1. Including a 3-2 victory against RIT at the home of the Rochester Americans, Penn State is 4-1-0 at NHL or AHL arenas this season.
With Penn State's 4-2 victory against Vermont Jan. 19, head coach Guy Gadowsky set a new personal best as a first-year bench boss. During his first seasons with Alaska and Princeton, he guided the squads to six and eight victories, respectively, before leading the teams to program highs.
Gadowsky led Alaska to its only 20-win season as a CCHA member in 2001-02 and guided Princeton to a program-best 21 victories in 2007-08 before garnering 22 victories the following season.
Since being placed on the same line against Fredonia State Dec. 11, freshman Casey Bailey (6g, 3a), sophomore Max Gardiner (5a) and junior Taylor Holstrom (4g, 3a) have combined for 21 points to lead the Nittany Lions. Bailey is currently on a team-best five-game point-scoring streak (5g, 3a).
Two Nittany Lions - sophomore forward Jacob Friedman (West Bloomfield) and freshman defenseman Mark Yanis (Grosse Pointe Woods) - will return home to Michigan for this weekend's games.
SACRIFICING THE BODY
Seven Nittany Lions have blocked at least 10 shots this season. Freshman defenseman Luke Juha, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season, leads the team with 24 blocks. Connor Varley (16), Nate Jensen (14), Joseph Lordo (16), Peter Sweetland (15) and Rich O'Brien (14) are among the team's top shot-blocking defensemen. Michael Longo leads the Nittany Lion forwards with 15 blocked shots.
IN THE CIRCLE
Freshman David Glen leads the team with a .590 faceoff percentage (241-of-414) with at least 75 draw attempts. Eric Steinour (.542), Max Gardiner (.541), Taylor Holstrom (.538) and Casey Bailey (.500) round out the team's top-five centermen.
MAKING IT COUNT
The Nittany Lions are 8-4-0 when David Glen records at least one point and 7-5-0 when Casey Bailey reaches the scoresheet. Penn State is also 5-3-0 when sophomore Max Gardiner registers an assist.
Both Penn State and Michigan State have played Ohio State in 2012-13. The Nittany Lions edged Ohio State, 5-4, in the Three Rivers Classic consolation game Dec. 29, while Michigan State dropped a two-game series to the Buckeyes Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Several players on Penn State and Michigan State were teammates during their junior careers.
|Jensen||D. Chelios||Cedar Rapids (USHL)|
|Lordo||Darnell||Sioux Falls (USHL)|
|Keller||Sioux Falls (USHL)|
|Morrone||D. Chelios||Chicago (USHL)|
|Olczyk||Hildebrand||Sioux City (USHL)|
|Walsh||Sioux City (USHL)|
|Yanakeff||Sioux City (USHL)|
|Skoff||Hildebrand||Sioux City (USHL)|
|Walsh||Sioux City (USHL)|
|Yanakeff||Sioux City (USHL)|
Following this weekend, Penn State will face off against the ACHA's Ohio Bobcats for a two-game series Feb. 1-2. The teams will square off at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pa., Friday, Feb. 1 before returning to the Greenberg Ice Pavilion Saturday, Feb. 2.
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