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March 19, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The sixth-seeded Penn State men's hockey team (7-25-2) will play postseason hockey for the first time when they open the 2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament against third-seeded Michigan (18-12-4) Thursday, March 20 at 3 p.m. ET. The first Big Ten tournament will be held at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn.
HOW TO FOLLOW
All five Big Ten tournament games will air live on BTN and BTN2go.com. In addition, Penn State's game can be heard on WRSC 103.1 and GoPSUsports.com. GameTracker will be available at GoPSUsports.com.
TOURNAMENT AND TICKET INFO
2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament information, including how to purchase tickets, can be found at BigTen.org.
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE (Tournament Bracket)
The single-elimination tournament will begin with the Penn State-Michigan matchup at 3 p.m. ET. The winner of the quarterfinal game will face second-seeded Wisconsin in the semifinal round Friday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Ohio State will face No. 5 Michigan State Thursday at 8 p.m. ET with the winner facing regular-season champion Minnesota Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
The two semifinal winners will face off for the Big Ten tournament crown Saturday, March 22 at 8 p.m. ET. The tournament champion will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
`THE OPENING OF PEGULA ICE ARENA' TO RE-AIR THURSDAY
`Hockey Valley: The Opening of Pegula Ice Arena' will air on BTN Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, immediately preceding the Nittany Lions' Big Ten quarterfinal matchup against the Wolverines. The 60-minute documentary gives fans inside access and interviews, culminating with Penn State's first game in the facility - a 4-1 victory against Army Oct. 11, 2013.
PENN STATE CLOSES REGULAR SEASON WITH WIN
Redshirt junior defenseman Nate Jensen recorded a goal and two assists for his first career three-point game and Matthew Skoff made 27 saves as the Nittany Lions defeated Ohio State, 4-2, at Pegula Ice Arena Saturday, March 15.
Jensen, who etched his name in the Penn State record books with the first goal at the facility against Army Oct. 11, 2013, opened the scoring with a power-play tally at 2:51 of the first period. Sophomore forward Curtis Loik doubled the Nittany Lions' lead and, after Ohio State made it a 2-1 game, junior captain Tommy Olczyk scored Penn State's third first-period goal for the 3-1 advantage.
After Ohio State made it a one-goal game with a second-period tally, redshirt junior Taylor Holstrom redirected a power-play strike with 13:05 left in the third to account for the 4-2 final. Freshman forward Dylan Richard recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season with two assists, while sophomore Casey Bailey assisted on Holstrom's seventh marker of the year.
Nittany Lion fans packed Pegula Ice Arena during the facility's inaugural season, filling the 5,782-seat arena with an average of 6,011 fans per game.
Penn State played to a sellout crowd in 16 of 18 home games. More than 6,000 fans filed into the arena on 11 occasions. The Nittany Lions finished the regular season as one of five NCAA Division I programs to play at more than 100 percent capacity at their home events.
The Nittany Lions scored five shorthanded goals - tied for first in the Big Ten - during the 2013-14 regular season.
The Nittany Lions enter the Big Ten tournament with at least one power-play goal in four straight games and in seven games in a 10-game span. Sophomore forward Casey Bailey leads the Nittany Lions with three power-play goals during that span.
SHOOTING FOR FOUR
Although Penn State averages 2.3 goals per game, the Nittany Lions are 5-1-0 when scoring four or more goals. Penn State only won two regular-season games in 2013-14 when scoring three or fewer goals.
LIONS SPLIT WITH WOLVERINES
Despite falling to then-No. 10 Michigan, 5-2, in the series finale Feb. 22, Penn State earned a season split with the Wolverines at 2-2-0. Backed by a 32-save shutout by Matthew Skoff, Penn State earned its first conference victory with a 4-0 win vs. Michigan at Pegula Ice Arena Feb. 8.
The Nittany Lions then earned their first league road victory with a 5-4 overtime win at Michigan Feb. 21. Freshman forward David Goodwin netted the game-winning goal after Casey Bailey evened the score with five seconds remaining. With the road win, Penn State became the first Big Ten team to defeat the Wolverines both at home and on the road.
SKOFF STANDS TALL
Sophomore Matthew Skoff earned Big Ten Second Star of the Week honors after his shutout performance against Michigan Feb. 8. The McKees Rocks, Pa., native became the first Nittany Lion honoree this season.
Goodwin netted his first two-goal and third multi-point game of the season against Michigan Feb. 21. The Des Peres, Mo., native was named Big Ten Third Star of the Week for his efforts.
COUNTING THE WAYS
In the Feb. 21 matchup against Michigan, Penn State netted even strength (twice), power-play, shorthanded and extra-attacker markers in the same game for the first time in program history.
FIGHTING `TIL THE END
Penn State twice erased two-goal deficits before defeating Michigan Feb. 21, matching the team's largest comeback in its two-year history. PSU erased a two-goal deficit vs. then-No. 16 Wisconsin before edging UW, 3-2, in overtime Feb. 25, 2013.
BACK OF THE NET
With seven goals against Union (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) and in both series against Michigan, Penn State scored its most goals in a series since netting eight markers against Alabama Huntsville Feb. 8-9, 2013.
If the Nittany Lions defeat Michigan, they will face second-seeded Wisconsin in the Big Ten semifinals Friday (March 21) at 3 p.m. ET. The game will air live on BTN, BTN2go.com, WRSC 103.1 and GoPSUsports.com.
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