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GAME DAY CENTRAL
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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – No. 19 Penn State hits the road again following a six-game homestand for the front end of back-to-back travel weeks as they visit sixth-ranked Notre Dame for a crucial Big Ten Conference series this weekend in South Bend.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
- 19 Penn State resumes conference play by traveling to South Bend to battle sixth-ranked Notre Dame on Friday and Saturday evening at 7:35 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.
- This marks the first time the two schools will meet as Big Ten conference opponents and the fifth and sixth time they will meet overall. Penn State hold the 2-1-1 all-time advantage and are 1-0-1 in South Bend.
- The Nittany Lions skated to a 3-3 overtime draw and defeated the Fighting Irish 3-2 in overtime during last year’s series at Compton Family Ice Arena.
- With a No. 3 national ranking last season, Notre Dame remains the highest ranked opponent Penn State has defeated in its five-plus seasons as a Division I program.
- Junior Alec Marsh leads the Nittany Lions with four points against the Irish on three goals and one assist in four games played. He is the only current member to have multiple goals against Notre Dame in his career. Junior Andrew Sturtz scored the game-winning goal 80 seconds into the extra session last season.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
- The Fighting Irish enter their first season as an affiliate member of the Big Ten for 2017-18 after advancing to the Frozen Four last season in their final year as a member of Hockey East.
- Notre Dame finished the 2016-17 campaign at 23-12-5 overall after falling to eventual National Champion Denver in the Frozen Four.
- The Irish return eight of their top-10 scorers from last season including five players who scored 10-plus goals led by Andrew Oglevie’s 21. Even with all that fire-power returning, Notre Dame will have a new look as they are without the services of leading scorer Anders Bjork (21-31-52) and goaltender Cal Petersen (.926 save percentage, 2.22 goals against) who each opted to sign early NHL deals following their junior seasons.
- Notre Dame is led so far this season by Jake Evans with four goals and 14 assists for 18 points. Both his 14 assists and 18 points lead the nation. The Irish are also led by a pair of defensemen in Jordan Gross and Bobby Nardella who have collected 12 and 10 points, respectively.
- Between the pipes a pair of net-minders have had early season success led by reigning Big Ten Second Star of the Week Cale Morris who has posted a 5-1 record with a .925 save percentage and a 2.22 goals against average. Dylan St. Cyr has also been stellar so far this season turning in a .914 save percentage and a 3.22 goals against average.
- The Irish rank right behind Penn State in goals with 36 so far this season including an eye-popping 18 in the second period after only five goals during the opening 20 minutes so far this season. Notre Dame’s 3.60 goals per game ranks second in the Big Ten and ninth in the country.
- Notre Dame currently leads the Big Ten with a 25.7 percent power-play, good for tops in the Big Ten while their PK ranks third in the conference and 22nd in the nation at 83.3 percent.
- The Irish swept Ohio State on the road last weekend, 4-1 and 3-2, in their first-ever Big Ten Conference series. Notre Dame was just 4-8-1 against Big Ten Teams over the past four seasons since the conference was established before the 2013-14 season.
- Freshman Cole Hults has registered at least one point in a career-high eight straight contests and his 11 points (two goals, nine assists) currently rank tied for second in the Big Ten amongst defensemen and third in the nation while his nine assists place him tops in the conference and tied for second in the nation among blue-liners.
- Hults’ 11 points also rank 18th overall and are the most by a freshman in the nation either forward or defense. Last season Denis Smirnov led the entire nation in freshman scoring with 47 points.
- Hults’ eight-game point-streak is also tied for the program record by a defenseman set last season by Trevor Hamilton. The all-time program record for a point-streak is ten games held by both Smirnov and David Goodwin ‘17, each set last season.
HAPPY VALLEY HAT-TRICK
- Last Saturday senior James Robinson registered the fifth hat-trick in Penn State hockey history as he scored the first three goals of the game for the Nittany Lions on just three shot attempts.
- Robinson joins David Glen ‘16, Casey Bailey, Tommy Olczyk ‘16 and Denis Smirnov as the only Nittany Lions to score three goals in a single game.
- Ironically enough all five Penn State hat-tricks have come on home ice with all but David Glen’s coming at Pegula Ice Arena. Glen’s was registered at Greenberg Ice Pavilion during Penn State’s inaugural NCAA Division I season.
- The three goals and three points for Robinson are each a career-high and the 7-5 win over Mercyhurst marked his first career multi-point game.
- Penn State is 4-1 all-time in contests where one of its own scores a hat-trick. The only loss was a 5-4 overtime decision against Ohio State during Casey Bailey’s hat-trick night in 2015.
THE LEGEND OF “ANDY VALLEY”
- During a 7-5 victory over Mercyurst last Saturday, junior Andrew Sturtz broke three program records while also extending one of his own program records. He is also currently riding a three-game goal streak.
- The junior assisted on the first four goals of the game for Penn State and with those four helpers set a new single-game assist record.
- Sturtz then ripped an empty-net goal from inside his own blue-line for the 46th of his career passing Casey Bailey for first all-time in Penn State history. The goal was also the eighth shorthanded tally of his career, which is a program record he already holds.
- The five-point game while being a career-high was also a new single-game record for Penn State.
- With 77 career points, Sturtz is now tied with Dylan Richard ‘17 and Eric Scheid ‘16 for third on Penn State’s all-time points list and is just three points shy of Casey Bailey for second.
- Sturtz’s six goals this season lead the Big Ten and are tied for tenth nationally while his 13 points are good for second in the Big Ten and tied for sixth in the nation.
- Penn State is 27-11 when Sturtz scores a goal including a 4-2 record this season. The Nittany Lions are also 6-2 when he scores multiple goals.
- Sophomore Nikita Pavlychev scored the game-winning goal last Saturday against Mercyhurst and is currently riding a career-high three-game goal-streak. His three-game point-streak is also a career-high.
- Pavlychev’s four goals this season are good for third on the team and tied for sixth in the Big Ten.
THE FLYING FINN
- Senior Erik Autio has been one of the most consistent players for head coach Guy Gadowsky during his four years on campus and this season is no different. Autio is sixth on the team with seven points on one goal and six assists.
- Autio secured his first goal of the season last Friday night and it marked the seventh of his career to move him into a tie with three others, including current teammate Trevor Hamilton, for fifth on Penn State’s all-time defensemen goal list.
- Autio’s 44 career assists also place him just one shy of Luke Juha ‘16 for first on the Penn State all-time assist list for defensemen and third overall in program assists.
- Having missed only six games his entire career, Autio will move into a tie with Kenny Brooks ‘16 for seventh on the Penn State all-time games played list at 120 if he skates in both games this weekend at Notre Dame.
- Sophomore Peyton Jones has started 45 games so far in his career moving past Eamon McAdam for the second most in program history by a goaltender. With one more appearance he will also move past McAdam for the second most appearances in Penn State History. He sits behind only Matthew Skoff ‘16 in both categories.
- Jones’ 28 wins are also just four shy of tying Skoff for the most in program history of 32. He is also just 160 saves behind McAdam for second on the all-time saves list.
- With a slew of injuries in the first month of the season Penn State has been forced to jumble its lines quite a bit and Saturday night brought a new top line of James Robinson, Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz. However, the idea didn’t come from the coaching staff, but instead was a player’s suggestion.
- The line combined for 10 points on five goals and five assists and were a plus-12 overall. In just a single game that line is already the third highest scoring combination so far this season for the Nittany Lions.
- After shattering its program records for goals, assists and points in a single-season last year, Penn State is once again atop the country in goals (38), assists (69) and points (107) through the first 10 games of 2017-18.
- The Nittany Lions are averaging 3.80 goals per game, good for first in the Big Ten and seventh in the nation after leading all Division I last season scoring 4.10 goal per contest.
- After an uncharacteristically slow start to the season offensively, Penn State is now leading the country once again in shots on goal averaging 41.30 per contest and 47.84 over its last six games. Last season Penn State set a program record while leading the nation with 44.1 shots on goal per game.
- Penn State remains on the road as they travel to Arizona State for the first time in program history for a pair of contests against the Sun Devils next Friday and Saturday at Gila Arena.
- Penn State is 2-0-0 all-time vs. Arizona State after sweeping the Devils last season at Pegula Ice Arena. The Nittany Lions outscored ASU 15-4 over the two games.