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Oct. 11, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey will team will begin its first NCAA Division I season Friday, Oct. 12, when it welcomes American International College to the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. Opening faceoff is set at 7:30 p.m.
The Nittany Lions, who fielded a varsity team for five seasons in the 1940s (1940-44, 46-47), will play the 2012-13 campaign as an independent. Friday night's contest will mark the first-ever home game in the history of Penn State varsity hockey, as all games during the 1940s were played away from Happy Valley.
The two-game series will conclude Saturday (Oct. 13) at 7 p.m. as the teams will travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and face off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Casey Plaza, home of the American Hockey League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
PENN STATE (0-0-0) VS. AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE (0-0-0)
FRIDAY, OCT. 12, 2012
NCAA DIVISION I HOCKEY
With the addition of Penn State to the NCAA Division I ranks, there are now 59 schools that sponsor NCAA Division I men's hockey.
The last school to establish NCAA Division I hockey was Robert Morris in 2004-05.
In 2011-12, head coach Gary Wright led the Yellow Jackets to an 8-26-3 overall record and a 6-18-3 conference mark.
The Yellow Jackets return seven of their top 10 leading scorers, including senior forward Adam Pleskach, who recorded 16 goals and 14 assists last season.
Senior defenseman Jeff Ceccacci anchors the blue line after an 18-point season (4g, 14a).
Senior Ben Meisner returns between the pipes. Last year he led AIC with an 8-22-3 record, a 3.37 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Sophomore forward Tommy Olczyk was named Penn State's first NCAA Division I captain.
Junior defenseman Nate Jensen and senior forward George Saad will serve as assistant captains.
All captains were chosen through a team vote.
Five players -- Max Gardiner (Minnesota), Taylor Holstrom (Mercyhurst), Nate Jensen (Mercyhurst), Bryce Johnson (St. Cloud State), Justin Kirchhevel (Alaska Anchorage) -- on Penn State's 27-man roster have previous NCAA Division I experience.
All five student-athletes played for their respective teams during the 2010-11 season.
Holstrom was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year that season.
NEUTRAL SITE GAMES
Penn State will play at four neutral site venues during the 2012-13 season.
The Nittany Lions will also play at two NHL arena's -- CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh (Three Rivers Classic Jan. 28-29) and Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center (vs. Vermont Jan. 19).
FOR ALL TO SEE
All of Penn State's games during the 2012-13 season will air on The Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions will also have two contests on The Big Ten Network -- Jan. 26 against Michigan State and Feb. 25 against Wisconsin.
The Nittany Lions will play games against teams from all five NCAA Division I conferences -- Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, WCHA -- and fellow independent Alabama Huntsville.
At least three teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA tournament appear on Penn State's schedule. The Nittany Lions will host Air Force (Nov. 9-10) and will visit Michigan State (Jan. 25-26) and Frozen Four participant Union (Nov. 24-25).