Men’s hockey set for home series with Alabama Huntsville
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State men’s hockey team will return home this weekend for a two-game series against fellow NCAA Division I independent Alabama Huntsville beginning Friday, Feb. 8. Opening faceoff for both Friday and Saturday nights at Greenberg Ice Pavilion is set at 7:30 p.m.
The Nittany Lions (10-13-0) and Chargers (3-17-1) are the nation’s only programs competing as NCAA Division I independents. Beginning with the 2013-14 campaign, both teams will have new conference homes as Penn State will join the Big Ten and Alabama Huntsville will move to the WCHA. The Chargers have played as an independent since the dissolution of the CHA following the 2009-10 season.
Last weekend, Penn State swept the ACHA’s Ohio Bobcats, rolling to a 6-1 victory Feb. 1 at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pa., before returning to Happy Valley with a 5-3 triumph Feb. 2. The Nittany Lions competed in front of 6,107 fans at the GIANT Center, marking the eighth game this season with at least 5,000 in attendance.
The Chargers will take to the ice for the first since a two-game exhibition series against the ACHA’s Oklahoma Sooners Jan. 11-12. Alabama Huntsville’s last game against an NCAA Division I opponent came on Dec. 30, a 6-1 loss to Air Force.
For five-game ticket package holders, Friday night’s game is part of Package B, while Saturday night’s matchup is part of Package C.
Following Friday night’s game, fans are encouraged to stay at the rink for a postgame autograph session.
Video and audio streams for both games will be available through the All-Access channel at GoPSUsports.com. Fans can also listen to Penn State Hockey on the radio through the Penn State Sports Network (WRSC 103.1 FM locally). Live stats will also be available for both games, while fans can follow in-game updates through the team’s Twitter account (@PennStateMHKY).
SCOUTING ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE
Led by first-year head coach Kurt Kleinendorst, the Chargers are 3-17-1 as an NCAA Division I independent. Alabama Huntsville, which has competed as an independent since the dissolution of the CHA following the 2009-10 season, has defeated Lake Superior State and Finlandia (twice) this season.
A NEW PLACE TO CALL HOME
Beginning in 2013-14, the Chargers will play in the WCHA with Alaska Anchorage, Alaska, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.
With Alabama Huntsville (WCHA) and Penn State (Big Ten) moving to new conferences next season, every NCAA Division I team will have a league home.
A look at Penn State’s and Alabama Huntsville’s common opponents in 2012-13:
*Exhibition (does not count toward records)
PROFESSIONAL ROAD TOUR
With a 6-1 exhibition victory against Ohio’s ACHA team in Hershey, Pa., Feb. 1, Penn State played its sixth game this season at an NHL or AHL arena. The Nittany Lions finished 4-1-0 (unofficially 5-1-0 including Ohio) at professional venues this season.
During their inaugural season, the Nittany Lions have played in front of at least 5,000 fans eight times. Penn State is 5-2-0 (6-2-0 including Ohio) when playing with at least 5,000 in attendance.
SUCCESS IN FIRST B1G ROAD TRIP
The Nittany Lions travelled to Big Ten country for the first time Jan. 25-26, splitting their weekend series with Michigan State. After falling to the Spartans, 5-3, in the opener, the Nittany Lions erased a 2-0 deficit in a 3-2 victory in their first nationally-televised game on BTN.
Defenseman Mark Yanis put Penn State on the board with a second-period power-play goal before Casey Bailey tied the game at 3:13 of the third period. Junior Taylor Holstrom tallied the game-winner with 4:01 left in the game, while freshman Matthew Skoff made 31 saves.
BUCKING THE TREND
Penn State’s 3-2 comeback victory against the Spartans marked the team’s first win this season when trailing after the first period.
BIG TEN SUCCESS
Penn State is 2-1-0 against future Big Ten opponents in 2012-13. The Nittany Lions defeated Ohio State in the Three Rivers Classic Dec. 29 and split their two-game series against Michigan State Jan. 25-26. Penn State will wrap up its season with a two-game set against Wisconsin Feb. 24-25.
POWER PLAY FOR THE WIN
Penn State, which went 1-for-4 on the man advantage against Michigan State Jan. 26, holds a 7-2-0 record when it scores a power-play goal.
The Nittany Lions will play their final two games at Greenberg Ice Pavilion Feb. 15-16 when they host the ACHA’s Oklahoma Sooners for a two-game exhibition series.