Coming off a very satisfying sweep of Clarkson to open the season, Penn State hockey hosts Niagara for a weekend series. Coach Guy Gadowsky will have a chance to gain a second pair of wins if his team can play to its potential.
Niagara finished 11-22-3 last season but the Purple Eagles won’t simply hand over the games to the home team. In 2015 Penn State finished 21-13-4 but suffered a tie at the hands of Niagara, in Niagara Falls, in early November. There are players on the squad that can remember that let-down and hopefully it will remind the team to give maximum effort for 120 minutes this weekend.
Niagara is expected to finish in the bottom ten or so spots nationally while Penn State is currently ranked No. 10 in the USCHO.com poll. Six out of seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 15. Michigan State, still in a rebuilding project that may take another year or two, is the only team not expected to make a run at making the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year.
The game on Friday night will have a typical 7 p.m. start time. On Saturday the game starts at 3:30 p.m., which runs at the same time as the Penn State football game versus Indiana. A sold-out Metallica concert is scheduled for later Saturday night at the Bryce Jordan Center, so the hockey game was moved up to avoid the typical traffic issues that result during concurrent events.