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GAME DAY CENTRAL
Video | Audio | Live Stats
Video | Audio | Live Stats
PENN STATE MINNESOTA
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Fresh off their first-ever sweep over No. 11 Minnesota last weekend the 15th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions will host those same Golden Gophers in a Big Ten Quarterfinal best-of-three series this weekend March 2-4.
Single-game tickets for each game remain available for as low as $18 on ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-NITTANY. Each game is slated for a 7 p.m. puck drop.
HOW TO WATCH
Each game will air live on Fox Sports North and will be available for streaming on BTN2Go. Check your cable providers for availability.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
- Penn State enters the weekend winners of three-in-a-row after going winless in eight games prior. The Nittany Lions are also coming off their first-ever sweep over Minnesota as they get ready to face the Gophers once more.
- Minnesota holds the all-time series advantage at 14-7-0 including a 6-4-0 mark at Pegula Ice Arena, but Penn State has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools including winning the season series for the first-time ever this season taking three-of-four games and 9-of-12 points against the Gophers.
- Sophomore Denis Smirnov has registered at least one point in six of his last seven games against the Gophers and has five goals and six assists for 11 career points in nine games against Minnesota. The sophomore scored a goal in three of the four games this season against the Gophers.
- Junior Andrew Sturtz is tied with Smirnov for the most points by current Nittany Lions against the Gophers with 11 career points on four goals and seven assists.
- The Gophers were swept for the fourth time this season and the third time on the road as they are just 4-10-1 away from Marriucci Arena this season. Overall Minnesota is 19-15-2 and ranked No. 11 in the latest USCHO.com poll.
- Minnesota’s offensive numbers are down significantly in 2017-18 compared to last season as they are averaging 1.10 goals per game less and rank 45th in the nation averaging 2.61 goals per contest.
- With the decrease in offensive production the defense has been forced to step up on occasion and has done so allowing 0.27 goals per game less than in 2016-17 and rank 16th in the nation allowing 2.47 goals per game this season.
- A big reason for the recent surge by the Gophers is sophomore goaltender Mat Robson who has posted a 7-4-1 record this season with a 1.95 goals against average and a .939 save percentage to rank tenth and fourth in the nation, respectively, among goalies with at least 10 games played.
- On offense the Gophers are led by Rem Pitlick with 26 points on 11 goals and 15 assists while Brent Gates Jr. and Tyler Sheehy lead the team with 12 goals.
- Gates Jr. enters the weekend having scored a goal in four of the last five contests and a point in five of the last six. His 26 points this season are a career-high while his 12 goals and 26 points each tie for the team lead.
- Tommy Novak has a team-best 23 assists and Casey Mittelstadt has added eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points.
- Minnesota has struggled all season on the power-play, including going 0-for-6 last week at Penn State and rank 54th in the nation at just 13.3 percent (19-for-143). On the other side the penalty kill has been much better ranking 13th in the nation at 83.7 percent (118-for-141).
B1G TOURNAMENT HISTORY
- In this the fifth year of the Big Ten Tournament, Penn State is 5-3-0 all-time and has won at least one tournament game in three of the previous four tournaments including the magical run last season to capture the Championship.
- The Nittany Lions are 1-0 all-time against Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament after securing a 4-3 victory last year in double-overtime during the Big Ten Semifinals in what is now the longest game in Big Ten history lasting 93:33 to rank 40th all-time in NCAA history.
- Senior Erik Autio fired home the game-winning goal in double-overtime while junior Andrew Sturtz collected three assists.
- The 2017 Big Ten Tournament was the coming out party for then freshman Liam Folkes as he doubled his entire season goal total by scoring three goals in the three games including both goals during a 2-1 double-overtime victory against Wisconsin in the Championship game.
- This season Folkes has scored 11 goals to tie for fourth on the team and tied for 18th in the Big Ten. Folkes is currently riding a three-game point-streak (1-2-3).
- Last year’s Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Peyton Jones, was unbeatable at Joe Louis Arena. The then-freshman played all 240:16 minutes making 118 saves on 123 shots and posting a 1.25 goals against average and a .959 save percentage.
- Last weekend against Minnesota, Jones was also strong earning the Big Ten Second Star of the Week posting a 2-0 record with a .945 save percentage and a 1.51 goals against average after stopping 52-of-55 shots during the two game sweep.
- Earlier this season Jones also became the all-time wins leader at Penn State and has a career record of 38-21-6.
- Jones is 3-1-1 over his last five games this season with a 1.99 goals against average and a .934 save percentage to rank first and second in the Big Ten over that span and 13th and 16th nationally.
- Freshman Alex Limoges is currently in the midst of the best stretch of his young career riding a three-game goal streak having scored four of his seven goals this season over the last three games including three goals last weekend against Minnesota.
- Limoges has added 11 assists to go along with his seven goals for 18 points this season to rank just a single-point behind classmate Cole Hults for the team lead in freshman scoring.
- During this current three-game win-streak no line has been hotter than the line of freshmen Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt and sophomore Liam Folkes.
- Out of the 13 goals Penn State has scored over the last three games, this line has six of them while adding three assists for nine points. Both Limoges and Folkes are riding career-long three-game point streaks during this stretch.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
- Last weekend captain James Robinson put an exclamation point on his career at Penn State as the senior scored the opening goal of the weekend and the final goal of the weekend during the sweep of the Gophers.
- The goals for Robinson marked the first in 22 games for the senior after scoring a hat trick against Mercyhurst on November 4.
- The goals in back-to-back games mark just the second time Robinson has achieved that during his time at Penn State dating all the way back to December 5-6 of his freshman year in 2014 when he scored in both games during a weekend sweep at Wisconsin. Those were just the 11th and 12th games of his career while this past weekend he played in games 91 and 92.
ZERO TO 100
- Friday night’s victory over Minnesota marked the 100th win in the history of the program and also served as Head Coach Guy Gadowsky’s 100th win as the Nittany Lion Bench Boss. Penn State is now 101-93-17 under the guidance of Gadowsky.
- After scoring five goals in each game last weekend, Penn State has now scored at least five goals 12 times this season and are 11-0-1 when hitting the five goal mark.
- It was also the first time in nine games the Nittany Lions have reached five goals since a 5-2 victory against Ohio State on January 12.
- All-time Penn State is 50-0-2 when scoring at least five goals in a game and 51-93-15 when scoring less than five goals.
- In 73 career games, senior Trevor Hamilton has blocked 198 shots setting a new Penn State record after surpassing the 181 of Luke Juha ‘16, which he compiled over 104 career games.
- Hamilton’s 91 blocks on the year lead the NCAA a year after he set the Penn State single-season block record and also led the nation with 107.
- Hamilton is averaging 2.68 blocks per game and has 10 games with at least four blocks with a season-high eight against St. Lawrence.
- Hamilton also leads the Big Ten and ranks tied for 12th in the nation in defenseman scoring with 26 points, to tie his career-high from last season, on five goals and 21 assists.
- His 21 assists are also just one shy of the Penn State single-season defensemen record set last season by Vince Pedrie. Hamilton has also tied his own mark for the second-most single-season points by a defenseman and is just four shy of the program record of 30 set by Pedrie last season.
- The winner of the series will move on to the single-elimination semifinal round of the Big Ten Tournament next Saturday.
- After receiving a first-round bye, Notre Dame will host the lowest remaining seed while the next highest seed will host the lone remaining team and the two winners of the semifinal game will meet at the location of the higher seed the following Saturday and play for the Big Ten Championship.