|University of Vermont Catamounts
|Sunday 1 p.m. EST
|Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa
|Free Audio and Video
After a 1-0-1 split this weekend up in Alaska, Penn State (7-2-3) heads back to Pennsylvania ranked No. 20 in USCHO's latest poll. It's the first time this season that the Nittany Lions have been ranked and only the third time in program history its gained enough votes to pull into the top 20 teams.
Riding a five game unbeaten streak through the month of November, Penn State heads to Philadelphia this Thanksgiving weekend to play their annual Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff match against the Vermont Catamounts.
Getting To Know UVM
Penn State holds a 2-1-0 record in the College Hockey Faceoff over the past three seasons. This year might be their easiest matchup against a weaker Vermont team than they've faced in years past. Vermont enters the weekend with a 3-8-2 record. The Catamounts have one win in the month of November, coming back on the 13th against UConn in a 2-1 victory. Vermont is coming off a losing weekend against Maine, dropping two on the road to the Black Bears. This weekend's game is a stop-gap before their match-up against current No. 11 Boston University.
The team is led by junior forward Mario Puskarich, who leads the team in points with 12 over a span of 13 games. Puskarich's five goals on the year is only matched by sophomore forward Jarrid Privitera, who also has one assist on the year. Vermont's offense isn't anything to write home about, though they average 31.3 shots per game compared to their opponents 28.2. Limiting Penn State's absurdly high shot count is probably the name of the game for Vermont this time if the Catamounts want to keep pace with the Nittany Lions.
Vermont has used just one goaltender this season, junior Mike Santaguida. A 2.62 goals against average with a .907 save percentage might not show much, but Santaguida is second in the NCAA in minutes played with 779:14. He's played in all 13 games this season and has one shutout in the team's second game of the year versus Big Ten foe Minnesota.
The Catamounts are near the bottom of the NCAA in average goals per game with just 2.00. Their defense is better, allowing only an average of 2.77 goals per game to their opponents, clearly on the losing side of a few one-goal games. Vermont's power play is quite lacking, scoring on four of 40 attempts this year. Their penalty kill is also in the bottom half of the NCAA at 78.8 percent on the defensive side of the puck. Averaging 10.54 penalty minutes a night, Penn State's power play should look to take advantage of a weaker penalty kill.
- GoPSUSports.com writer Maria Canales wrote up a really great feature on freshman Alec Marsh that's definitely worth a read.
- More freshmen news, as Andrew Sturtz was named Big Ten's second star of the week after his two goal performance last week. It's the first honor for the freshman in hopefully a long line of awards during his time at Penn State.
- Your weekly rink-side interview from Brian Tripp is here!
- Making my triumphant return to Penn State hockey this weekend as a fan! Finally I can break the no cheering rule. Won't be as fun as a trip up to Pegula, but home ice advantage is basically assured with the city of Philadelphia.
Guy Gadowsky & last year's Philly game-winning goal scorer David Thompson are in the practice update! Watch --> https://t.co/ZTbK01ydSp
— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) November 25, 2015