|Follow PSU Men's Hockey:||Follow @PennStateMHKY|
GAME DAY CENTRAL
Video ($) | Audio | Live Stats
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 15 Penn State resumes Big Ten Conference play as they welcome the University of Michigan to Pegula Ice Arena this weekend for a pair of contests on Friday and Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. This marks the middle series of three consecutive home weekends for the Nittany Lions.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
- Penn State resumes conference play with its Big Ten home opening series against the Michigan Wolverines at Pegula Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday evening. This marks the 20th and 21st meetings in the series, which dates back to the 2013-14 season.
- The Wolverines hold the 10-9-0 all-time advantage over the Nittany Lions since their first contest on February 7, 2014.
- Penn State defeated Michigan in 3-of-5 meetings last season including both games at Pegula and the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal round at Joe Louis Arena. The Nittany Lions outscored the Wolverines 17-10 during the five games last season.
- Junior Andrew Sturtz leads all Nittany Lions with five goals and one assist for six career points vs. Michigan while sophomore Denis Smirnov recorded one goal while adding five assists for six points last season in five games vs. the Wolverines.
- Michigan enters the 2017-18 without head coach Red Berensen for the first time in 33 years as the longest tenured NCAA coaching legend retired last April.
- The Wolverines are now under the guidance of Mel Pearson and have compiled a 3-1-0 record to begin the season. This marks the beginning of Big Ten play for the Wolverines.
- Michigan finished last year fifth in the Big Ten with a conference record of 6-12-2 and an overall record of 13-19-3. Penn State defeated the Wolverines 4-1 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals to end their season.
- The Wolverines return their top five scorers from last season including leading point man Jake Slaker who registered 21 points on seven goals and 14 assists and their only double-digit goal scorer in Tony Calderone who potted 15 goals in 2016-17. Will Lockwood also returns as the only other 20-point scorer from last season’s team.
- So far this season, the Wolverines are paced on offense by freshman sensation Josh Norris with two goals and two assists for four points. Norris was selected in the first round, 19th overall, by the San Jose Sharks during June’s NHL Entry Draft. Jake Slaker is the only other Wolverine so far with multiple goals as he also has two through four games.
- Between the pipes, Michigan returns two of its three goalies who saw substantial time last season in Hayden Lavigne and Jack LaFontaine. With the graduation of Zach Nagelvoort, both Lavigne and LaFontaine have equally split time early in the season.
- LaFonataine has turned in the slightly better numbers in his two starts with a 2-0-0 record, a .950 save percentage and a 1.01 goals against average.
- Michigan has 10 total NHL draft picks on its roster in 2017-18 including six forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender.
- Michigan has struggled so far this season with the man-advantage as they have converted just 2-of-22 (9.1 percent) power-play chances to rank 51st in the nation and second to last in the Big Ten. The Wolverine PK has fared a little better ranking 21st nationally at 83.3 percent (15-for-18) good for fifth in the Big Ten.
- Freshman Cole Hults registered his first collegiate goal and his first career multi-point effort during a 7-5 victory over AIC last Thursday. He followed that with a power-play goal to open the scoring on Friday night.
- Hults is currently riding a four-game point/assist streak and a two-game goal streak.
- The freshman’s five points (two goals, three assists) are also good for second among Big Ten rookies and the most for freshman defensemen in the conference.
- Through just six games this season sophomore Denis Smirnov has already reached 10 points, which is the most in the Big Ten and tied for third in the nation. Last season Smirnov hit the 10-point mark in his eighth game.
- Smirnov’s four goals and six assists are also tops in the Big Ten and the sophomore is currently riding a five-game point streak and has registered multiple points in four of six games this season and two straight.
- After tying his career long four-game goal streak on Thursday night, the sophomore couldn’t find the back of the net on Friday and remains one goal shy of tying Taylor Holstrom for 10th on the Penn State all-time goals list with 24. He is also one assist shy of tying Casey Bailey for 10th on the all-time assists list with 35.
- Smirnov did vault himself into the top-ten on the Penn State all-time career scoring list as he currently sits at No. 10 with 57 points in just 45 games played.
- After registering three shorthanded tallies in each of his first two seasons, junior Andrew Sturtz collected his first of the 2017-18 season during a 7-5 victory over AIC on Thursday night.
- The shorty was the seventh of his career, which is an all-time Penn State record he already holds.
- Penn State had nine shorthanded goals to lead the Big Ten during the 2016-17 season and rank tied for fourth nationally. Sturtz’s goal on Thursday was the Nittany Lions’ first of the 2017-18 season as a team.
- After a single goal against AIC over the weekend, Penn State junior Andrew Sturtz currently ranks third on Penn State’s all-time career goals list with 43. He sits just behind David Goodwin ‘17 (44) and Casey Bailey (45).
- The junior also moved past Taylor Holstrom ‘15 and is now tied with David Glen ‘16 for fifth on the career points list with 69 after securing the 20th multi-point game of his career on Thursday.
THE FABULOUS FINN
- Senior alternate captain Erik Autio is currently riding a four-game point-streak and ranks tied for second on the team with five assists for five points.
- Each of Autio’s five helpers on the year have come on the power-play where he leads the team with five power-play points.
- Autio is closing in on the all-time defenseman points record of 60, held by Luke Juha ‘16. Autio currently has 49 points and is just three behind former d-partner Vince Pedrie (52) for second on the list.
- Autio is currently second on the Penn State all-time assists list for defensemen with 43 just two shy of Juha’s program record of 45.
- After going just 1-for-9 with the man-advantage to open the season, Penn State is 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) in its last four games.
- The Nittany Lions have scored at least one power-play goal in the last five games and have scored multiple man-advantage goals in three of their last four games.
- Penn State is currently fourth in the nation with the man-advantage, 8-for-23 (34.8 percent), and rank second in the Big Ten just behind Notre Dame, 7-for-20 (35 percent).
- Penn State also ranks 14th nationally on the penalty kill, 19-for-22 (86.4 percent), good for third in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (95.2 percent) and Notre Dame (88.9 percent).
- Penn State’s combined special teams ranks tied for sixth in the nation and is second in the Big Ten behind Notre Dame.
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
- After falling to AIC 3-2 in overtime on Friday, the Nittany Lions are now 0-2-0 in games decided by a single goal so far this season. The Nittany Lions dropped their season opener at Clarkson, 2-1.
- If you include the exhibition against Ottawa Penn State is 0-3-0 in games decided by one goal and 0-2-0 in overtime this season.
- So far this season Penn State has held the faceoff advantage for an entire game just once during a 6-3 loss to Minnesota.
- Penn State currently ranks 48th in the nation and last in the Big Ten in faceoff win percentage at 44.4 percent.
- Last season Penn State led the entire nation in faceoff percentage finishing the year at 54.9 percent including having all five main contributors over 50 percent and three players with better than a 55 percent win margin.
- So far this season only Nate Sucese (51.4 percent) is above 50 percent on the draw.
- Penn State remains home as they welcome Mercyhurst to Pegula Ice Arena for a non-conference series next Friday and Saturday.