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GAME DAY CENTRAL
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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. -- The tenth-ranked Penn State men's ice hockey team will travel north to begin its 2017-18 regular season as they battle Clarkson and St. Lawrence in back-to-back nights this weekend.
THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP
- Penn State begins the 2017-18 campaign with it's first-ever trip to the North Country, New York to battle Clarkson and St. Lawrence on back-to-back nights.
- This marks only the second meeting between the Nittany Lions and Golden Knights as Penn State handled Clarkson with ease, 5-1, during the team's first-ever meeting in 2015-16. It was a neutral site game as part of the 2015 Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center.
- Penn State will meet St. Lawrence for the third straight season, but the first meeting between the two schools at Appleton Arena.
- The Nittany Lions trail the all-time series against the Skating Saints, 1-2-1, with their lone win coming in last season's home opener a 4-2 victory.
- This marks just the second time in Penn State's six-year history that they will begin a season on the road and second time in the last three seasons. PSU defeated Canisius, 6-1, to open the 2015-16 season at the HarborCenter.
- Penn State is 3-1-1 all-time in season openers and defeated St. Lawrence, 4-2, to begin last season at home.
- The Nittany Lions' lone opening game loss came in their first-ever NCAA Division I game, a 3-2 overtime loss against AIC at Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
- The Golden Knights finished last season 18-16-5 and were bounced from the ECAC Tournament in the first round by Cornell. After taking the first game 6-2 they lost the next two games each by the score of 2-1.
- Clarkson begins the season unranked, but is receiving votes in both major polls.
- Clarkson enters 2017-18 without its top four scorers from a season ago as they return just one player who recorded 10+ goals in sophomore Sheldon Rempal who found the back of the net 11 times last season while adding 12 assists for 23 points as the Golden Knights top returning scorer.
- The Knights will be strong in goal as they return sophomore Jake Kielly who impressed during his first season at Clarkson. Kielly started in 35 games compiling a 16-15-5 record with a .911 save percentage and a 2.56 goals against average. He was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team for his efforts.
- Clarkson is led this season by captain Nic Pierog and alternate captains Brett Gervais and Devin Brosseau. Brosseau, only a sophomore, tied for sixth on the team last season with 21 points on seven goals and 14 assists. Pierog and Gervais are both seniors and added 11 points each last season.
- Clarkson has yet to win a single contest against a Big Ten Conference opponent since the league was created in 2013-14. The Golden Knights are 0-4 with losses to Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State.
SCOUTING ST. LAWRENCE
- The Skating Saints enter the 2017-18 season after a 17-13-7 finish a year ago. St. Lawrence close their 2016-17 season in the opening round of the ECAC Playoffs falling to Quinnipiac in three games.
- Lawrence will have to find a replacement for ECAC Goaltender of the Year Kyle Hayton who graduated early and has moved on to Wisconsin to complete his final year of eligibility. Hayton compiled a 16-12-7 record last season with a .929 save percentage and a 2.28 goals against average. For his career Hayton played 104 games for the Saints compiling a 54-37-13 record with a .934 save percentage and a 2.09 goals against average.
- Lawrence returns seven of their top-eight scorers from last season. They will be without the services of Gavin Bayreuther who led the team with 29 points last season on eight goals and 21 assists. Bayreuther was a two-time First Team All-ECAC selection.
- Mike Marnell and Joe Sullivan return as the leading goal scorers from last year's team and the only two players to register double-digit goals with 15 and 12, respectively.
- Joe Sullivan will serve as team captain for the 2017-18 season and Ryan Lough, Nolan Gluchowki and Michaely Laidley will be his assistants.
- Lawrence had the strongest penalty kill in the ECAC last season allowing just 25 power-play goals in 183 chances (86.3 percent). However, the Saints power-play ranked second to last in the conference scoring just 25 goals in 182 chances (13.7 percent).
- Junior Andrew Sturtz opens the 2017-18 campaign just 6 goals shy of breaking Casey Bailey's Penn State record for career goals of 45. Sturtz registered 18 goals as a freshman and last season tied Bailey's single-season Penn State record with 22.
- Sturtz is also just 17 points away from passing Bailey for second on the Penn State all-time points list behind all-time leading scorer David Goodwin `17. Sturtz currently sits seventh on the all-time points list with 64 points. Classmate Chase Berger is close behind with 62 points.
- Sturtz has also had great success in his career against St. Lawrence registering two goals and two assists for four points in four career games. Sturtz is currently riding a three-game point-steak against the Skating Saints.
SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS
- Penn State paced the entire nation last season in many offensive categories including goals (160), assists (265), points (425), goals per game (4.10), shots per game (44.08) and face-off percentage (.549).
- Each of those numbers were also one of 65 total Penn State records that were broken or tied last season.
- Penn State's 2016-17 freshman class led the entire nation in scoring last season registering 64 goals and 93 assists for 157 points. All three totals topped the entire NCAA.
- Now sophomores the class didn't disappoint in the exhibition contest against Ottawa scoring a pair of goals and adding three assists for five points. Denis Smirnov led the way with one goal and one assist and has now registered three goals with a pair of assists for five points during his two exhibition contests in Hockey Valley.
- Smirnov led the entire nation in freshman scoring one year ago with 47 points on 19 goals and 28 assists all being Penn State freshman records. His 47 points and 28 assists were also all-time Penn State single-season records.
- Smirnov led the team with 13 multi-point efforts last season and began his Penn State career riding a 10-game point streak, which was later tied by David Goodwin and stands as a Penn State record for longest point streak.
- Classmate Nate Sucese added 10 multi-point efforts as a freshman and a career-best nine-game point-streak. He finished the season fourth on the team in scoring with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists)
- Last season the Nittany Lions were third in the nation in defensemen scoring with 117 points including second in goals with 32 and in goals per game by defensemen averaging 0.82 per contest.
- Kris Myllari and Vince Pedrie each found the back of the eight times to tie the single-season Penn State record for goals by a defenseman, which Pedrie already held.
- With the departure of Pedrie following his sophomore season, Penn State will have to replace one of the best defenseman in program history. Pedrie holds single-season Penn State records for goals (8), assists (22) and points (30) all which he set last season. He is also the career leader in goals with 16 and is second in points with 52 and third in assists with 36.
- Pedrie also led the team the past two seasons in shots on goal with 118 and 167, respectively. He led all defensemen nationally last season with his 167 shots, well for third overall, and was first in shots per game with 4.28, seventh overall.
- The early season pick to replace Pedrie's offensive production is freshman Cole Hults. Also a left-handed shot, Hults didn't disappoint in the International Game as he scored the first goal for Penn State on the power-play and later added an assist for two points.
- Penn State will travel to Minnesota to open Big Ten Conference play against the Gophers next Friday and Sunday. Puck drop will be at 8 p.m. and 4 p.m. eastern time, respectively.