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GAME DAY CENTRAL
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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s ice hockey team returns to Pegula Ice Arena on Thanksgiving weekend for a pair of Big Ten Conference games against the Michigan State Spartans on Friday and Saturday evening.
HOW TO WATCH
- Both games this weekend will be provided by Penn State Athletics for free via LionVision online.
- Friday’s game starts at 7 p.m. while the puck drops on Saturday at 8 p.m.
- Doors open 90 minutes prior to puck drop and the Penn State football game will be streamed live on the videoboard prior to Saturday night’s contest.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
- Penn State resumes conference play by hosting Michigan State for a pair of B1G contests on Friday and Saturday evening. PSU holds the 9-6-3 advantage in the all-time series.
- This is the first meeting of the season for the two squads with Penn State having swept the season series last year outscoring the Spartans 18-8 over the four games.
- Michigan State hasn’t beaten the Nittany Lions in the last two seasons as Penn State holds the 7-0-1 record over the last eight games. The Spartans last win in the series was a 3-2 victory at Munn Ice Arena on Valentine’s Day 2015.
- Penn State is 5-1-2 all-time versus Michigan State at Pegula Ice Arena including 5-0-1 in the last six meetings in Happy Valley.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
- Michigan State has already won as many games as it did all last season as they stand at 7-5-0 under the guidance of first-year head coach Danton Cole. The Spartans went 7-24-4 last season winning only three Big Ten games.
- MSU is without the services of four of their top seven scorers from a year ago including leading scorer Mason Appleton (12-19-31) who is currently in his first season for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.
- Sophomore Sam Saliba returns as the only other Spartan to reach double-digit goals last season as he had 10. So far this season Saliba ranks tied for second on the team with four goals.
- Freshman Mitchell Lewandowski leads the team with nine goals and 17 points to rank second and third in the conference, respectively. His goal and point totals also rank tied for sixth and tenth in the nation.
- Sophomore Taro Hirose ranks second on the team with three goals and a team-leading 12 assists for 15 points. His assist total ranks third in the Big Ten and tied for eighth nationally.
- Between the pipes, sophomore John Lethemon has stepped up as the primary net-minder for the Spartans posting a 7-4-0 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average to rank third in the Big Ten in each category and top-20 in the nation.
- Lethemon faced the Nittany Lions once last season in East Lansing during a 4-2 Penn State victory. The sophomore allowed three goals while stopping 35 shots on the night.
- Michigan State is just 1-4-0 so far this season away from Munn Ice Arena with its only win coming last time out at Ferris State, 3-1. The three goals scored doubled their season output on the road as the Spartans are averaging just 1.2 goals per game away from Munn Ice Arena.
- MSU has the worst penalty kill in the Big Ten at 78.7 percent (37-for-47) while their power-play ranks second only behind Wisconsin at 22.6 percent (12-for-53).
HOW SWEEP IT IS
- After a program record eight weekend sweeps last season, the Nittany Lions secured their first of the 2017-18 campaign last week at Arizona State.
- Of those eight sweeps last season, two came at the expense of the Spartans as Penn State outscored Michigan State 18-8 averaging 4.5 goals per contest in 2016-17.
EVERYDAY A STAR IS BORN
- Sophomore Brandon Biro is coming off the best weekend of his career as he scored a pair of goals while adding three assists for five points to lead the conference and tie for the national lead over the weekend.
- Biro received the first Big Ten weekly honor of his career as he was named the conference’s Third Star of the Week.
- The sophomore scored in each game this past weekend in the desert marking the first time in his career he has scored in back-to-back contests. His two-game point/assist streak also tie career-high’s while his three-point effort Friday night matched his career-best.
MOVIN’ ON UP
- Junior Andrew Sturtz collected a pair of assists last Friday night giving him nine on the season to go along with his seven goals for a team-best 16 points. His nine assists tie for the team lead.
- Sturtz now has 80 career points to tie Casey Bailey for second on the Penn State all-time points list only trailing David Goodwin ‘17 (128).
- His 80 career points are also the 26th most out of active NCAA Division I players and the seventh most by anyone in the junior class. Dylan Gambrell of Denver leads all juniors nationally with 106 points.
WELCOME TO GOOD BERGER, CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER?
- Junior Chase Berger registered a goal and an assist last weekend to move into a tie for sixth on the Penn State all-time goals list with 29 and fourth on the all-time assists list with 44. He is tied with David Glen ‘16 in goals and current teammate Erik Autio in assists. His 73 points place him sixth on Penn State’s all-time points list.
WEEKEND FULL OF FIRSTS
- During last weekend’s sweep over Arizona State, the first sweep this season for the Nittany Lions, four different players recorded the first goals of their collegiate careers
- Freshman Evan Barratt came just a pipe shy of a natural hat-trick as he scored the first two goals of a 7-0 victory Friday night marking the first two of his career.
- After getting what looked to be his first collegiate goal against Mercyhurst, later having it credited to Alex Limoges, taken away freshman Sam Sternschein lit the lamp officially for his first career goal on Friday night.
- Junior Derian Hamilton fired home the game-winning goal and the first of his career on Saturday night and sophomore Brett Murray followed with an empty net tally for the first of his career to seal the 4-2 victory and weekend sweep.
- On the current roster only freshman classmates Alex Stevens and Adam Pilewicz remain scoreless in their collegiate careers each having played in just three games combined.
AUTIO, TURN IT UP
- With his eighth career goal this past weekend senior Erik Autio passed current teammate Trevor Hamilton and tied Connor Varley ‘16 for fourth on the Penn State all-time goals list for defensemen. His 44 career assists are also just one shy of Luke Juha ‘16 for first on the Penn State all-time assist list for defenseman.
HAM IT UP
- Senior Trevor Hamilton collected a pair of assists this past weekend moving into a tie with current teammate Kevin Kerr for fourth on the Penn State all-time assist list for defenseman with 29. His 0.55 assists per game as a Nittany Lion is the best ratio for all defensemen in program history while his 0.68 points per game ranks second only behind the 0.73 points per game of Vince Pedrie.
FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN GOALS AGO
- Last Friday during a 7-0 victory over Arizona State, Penn State scored three four-on-four goals giving them seven goals of that variety so far this season.
- Penn State’s seven four-on-four goals and plus-six goal scoring margin during four-on-four ice time both lead the nation. Northeastern and Colgate have both scored five goals during four-on-four ice time.
- Penn State only had five four-on-four goals all last season.
SIX-FOOT, SEVEN-FOOT, EIGHT-FOOT SCORE
- Standing six-foot, seven-inches tall, sophomore Nikita Pavlychev is the second tallest player in college hockey and so far this season his game is matching his size.
- Pavlychev has scored six goals including five in his last seven games and ranks second on the team and tied for seventh in the Big Ten with his six goals. The sophomore has already matched his entire goal output from last season in just 14 games.
- Going back to last season Pavlychev has scored nine goals in his last 18 games as he finished the 2016-17 campaign scoring in three of the final four games.
- Last Friday junior Chris Funkey secured his second career shutout in his fifth career start. Both shutouts have come against Arizona State as the junior has stopped all 33 shots he’s seen over 120 minutes of action.
- Funkey joins Peyton Jones in a tie for second on the Penn State all-time shutout list just one behind Matthew Skoff ‘16 who holds the program record with 3.
KILL OR BE KILLED
- The Nittany Lions went a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill last weekend against Arizona State and are 10-for-10 over the last two weekends and 14-for-15 (.933) over their last five games moving into fourth in the Big Ten at 82.2 percent on the season.
- On Friday Penn State also went 2-for-5 on the power-play scoring back-to-back man-advantage goals in the second period to snap an 0-for-11 stretch.
- Penn State travels to Ohio State for a pair of Big Ten conference contests on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. in Columbus.