Men’s hockey set for first NCAA game Friday
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –The Penn State men’s hockey will team will begin its first NCAA Division I season Friday, Oct. 12, when it welcomes American International College to the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. Opening faceoff is set at 7:30 p.m.
The Nittany Lions, who fielded a varsity team for five seasons in the 1940s (1940-44, 46-47), will play the 2012-13 campaign as an independent. Friday night’s contest will mark the first-ever home game in the history of Penn State varsity hockey, as all games during the 1940s were played away from Happy Valley.
The two-game series will conclude Saturday (Oct. 13) at 7 p.m. as the teams will travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and face off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Casey Plaza, home of the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
PENN STATE (0-0-0) VS. AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE (0-0-0)
FRIDAY, OCT. 12, 2012
NCAA DIVISION I HOCKEY
• With the addition of Penn State to the NCAA Division I ranks, there are now 59 schools that sponsor NCAA Division I men’s hockey.
• The last school to establish NCAA Division I hockey was Robert Morris in 2004-05.
• In 2011-12, head coach Gary Wright led the Yellow Jackets to an 8-26-3 overall record and a 6-18-3 conference mark.
• The Yellow Jackets return seven of their top 10 leading scorers, including senior forward Adam Pleskach, who recorded 16 goals and 14 assists last season.
• Senior defenseman Jeff Ceccacci anchors the blue line after an 18-point season (4g, 14a).
• Senior Ben Meisner returns between the pipes. Last year he led AIC with an 8-22-3 record, a 3.37 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
• Sophomore forward Tommy Olczyk was named Penn State’s first NCAA Division I captain.
• Junior defenseman Nate Jensen and senior forward George Saad will serve as assistant captains.
• All captains were chosen through a team vote.
• Five players — Max Gardiner (Minnesota), Taylor Holstrom (Mercyhurst), Nate Jensen (Mercyhurst), Bryce Johnson (St. Cloud State), Justin Kirchhevel (Alaska Anchorage) — on Penn State’s 27-man roster have previous NCAA Division I experience.
• All five student-athletes played for their respective teams during the 2010-11 season.
• Holstrom was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year that season.
NEUTRAL SITE GAMES
• Penn State will play at four neutral site venues during the 2012-13 season.
• The Nittany Lions will also play at two NHL arena’s — CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh (Three Rivers Classic Jan. 28-29) and Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center (vs. Vermont Jan. 19).
FOR ALL TO SEE
• All of Penn State’s games during the 2012-13 season will air on The Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.
• The Nittany Lions will also have two contests on The Big Ten Network — Jan. 26 against Michigan State and Feb. 25 against Wisconsin.
• The Nittany Lions will play games against teams from all five NCAA Division I conferences — Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, WCHA — and fellow independent Alabama Huntsville.
• At least three teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA tournament appear on Penn State’s schedule. The Nittany Lions will host Air Force (Nov. 9-10) and will visit Michigan State (Jan. 25-26) and Frozen Four participant Union (Nov. 24-25).