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Hockey Preview: Niagara

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The Lions head north for a Friday night match with the Niagara Purple Eagles.

Niagara Falls, NY
Niagara Falls, NY
Chris Taylor

Who: Niagara
When: Fri 7 p.m
Where: Dwyer Arena, Niagara Falls, NY
TV: None
Stream: Free Audio Video for $6.99
Live Stats: Gopsusports.com

For the second time this season Penn State will venture away from Pegula Ice Arena. The team will play a single game on Friday night in Niagara Falls, New York. The team opened the season just a few miles away from Niagara's Dwyer Arena when it matched up with Canisius in Buffalo.

The Lions are currently ranked #25 in the USCHO.com rankings after a series with #15 St. Lawrence where it tied one game and lost the second. The team is slowly regaining its health and with just one game over a 14 day period, this will be the longest rest it will get until the winter break. The team skated with just 11 forwards instead of the regular 12 due to multiple injuries, forcing forwards to mix and match lines and play additional minutes. A full set of skaters will be a great relief for the team.

It's always hard to win on the road and it's a dangerous game to play when you start expecting a team to win a game. That being said, this is a game that PSU should win. It will be interesting to see if the team can come out of the gate ready to play. If it does it should return to Hockey Valley on Friday night with a win and eight days to prepare for the next series.

Know Your Foe

Niagara (0-5-1) has gotten off to a tough start this year after winning only seven games in 2014. Guillaume Therien has played every game in net for the Purple Eagles and has a goals against average of 4.74 with a save percentage of .882. Vinny Muto and Ryan Kuhn lead the team with four points each. The team averages 21 shots per game and 1.7 goals per game.

There isn't much positive news to report on the side of Niagara. The team was one of the bottom five teams in the country last season and looks like the trend will continue this year.

Notes:

  • Eddie Olczyk, the older brother of Penn State's Tommy Olczyk, is an assistant coach for the Purple Eagles.
  • Matt Skoff will get the start in net on Friday. Skoff played a great game on Thursday for the 2-2 tie with St. Lawrence and is looking to shake off the slow start he had this season.
  • The Lions will play at home versus Sacred Heart on November 13-14 before making the trip to Alaska to take on Alaska-Anchorage the following week.
  • Check out Guy Gadowsky's interview with Brian Tripp. Coach talks about the series with St. Lawrence and what it will take to match a team as aggressive and fast as SLU in the future.