Penn State (17-11-2) will host Wisconsin (10-15-5) in the final regular-season series of the season at the Pegula Ice Arena. The game on Friday night will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network starting at 6:30 p.m.
Guy Gadowsky’s squad has a chance to move up in the Big Ten standings. Currently in fifth place, the Lions could be anywhere from 2nd to last in the conference standings by Saturday night. This is a very important weekend for the team.
Wisconsin is holding the 31 spot in the current PairWise Rankings, so this will be a good chance for the Lions to add wins against a quality opponent. The Badgers played well during the first half of the season but have faltered in the second half.
Since January Wisconsin is just 2-9-2, struggling to score goals, having yet to score more than 2 goals in a game this month through 6 games. Star defenseman and leading scorer K’Andre Miller has been sidelined with an injury that he took a couple of weeks ago. It was initially reported that Miller could miss the remainder of the regular-season but we will find out later tonight whether he will be in the lineup.
This may be the final game at home for players such as Chase Berger, Alec Marsh, Derian Hamilton and others who may leave the team with eligibility remaining at the conclusion of the season. For fans and players alike, it will be a special weekend. Six seniors will be honored on Saturday night.
For the purposes of conference and NCAA tournament positioning, the series this weekend is critical to the Lions. A sweep in their favor would keep hope alive of gaining an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament with a strong finish to the season. A split would make that dream a long-shot. Anything less would end the chances of the team making the post-season for the third consecutive season, short of winning the automatic bid that comes with winning the Big Ten Tournament.