No. 13 Penn State Men’s Hockey hosts No. 6 Ohio State in key series

Penn State's Chase Berger (8) is congratulated on his goal against Wisconsin in the second period on Jan. 5, 2018. No. 14 Penn State defeated No. 15. Wisconsin 5-1. Photo/Craig Houtz

UNIVERSITY PARK – The 13th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions close out their five-game homestand this weekend as they put their 10-game unbeaten streak on the line against the red hot, No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday and Saturday night.

GAMETIME DIFFERENCE

-Friday night’s contest will be a 7:30 p.m. puck-drop due to Penn State men’s basketball playing across the street at 7.

-Doors will open for Pegula at 6 p.m. and guests are advised to plan ahead as traffic may be an issue with patrons coming to this side of campus for multiple athletic events.

HOW TO WATCH

-Friday night’s contest will be available on BTN-Plus on a subscription basis while Saturday will air live across the nation on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.

THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP

-Penn State enters the weekend riding a 10-game unbeaten streak while Ohio State are winners of six-straight since a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Nittany Lions over a month ago in Columbus.

-This marks the 21st and 22nd matchups in the all-time series which is led by the Buckeyes with an 11-7-2 record.

-The Nittany Lions are just 3-4-1 all-time against Ohio State at Pegula Ice Arena after going 0-1-1 in the two games last season.

-Penn State’s 10-game unbeaten streak is the second longest in program history after going unbeaten in 13-straight games last season to close out the opening semester of play.

“FRIENDLY CONFINES”

-Penn State is just one win shy of its 50th all-time victory at Pegula Ice Arena as they are currently 49-27-9 all-time at the Peg in four-plus seasons.

-Over the last three-plus seasons, the Nittany Lions have a 45-15-7 mark at Pegula Ice Arena and are in the midst of a 68-game sell-out streak. Penn State is 18-9-1 in Big Ten games over the last three-plus seasons at home.

SEEING RED PART II

-Each having played in ten career games against the Buckeyes, juniors Andrew Sturtz and Chase Berger lead all current Nittany Lions with eight and six points, respectively, against Ohio State.

-Sturtz has tallied five goals and three assists while Berger has added a pair of goals and four helpers.

SEVEN (TENTHS) HEAVEN

-Earlier this season Sturtz fired home the game-tying goal with just 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation and scored the lone goal in a shootout as Penn State took 5-of-6 points against the Buckeyes in Columbus.

SCOUTING OHIO STATE

-The Buckeyes haven’t lost since Penn State last visited Columbus and left with a 4-0 victory. OSU has won six-straight and is 14-4-4 on the season and ranked No. 6 in the latest USCHO.com national poll.

-Ohio State stands just above Penn State in the Big Ten standings with 22 points to the Nittany Lions 20.

-Maine transfer Sean Romeo has impressed in net as he ranks second in the Big Ten in goals against average (1.94) and save percentage (.927) to rank ninth and eighth in the nation, respectively. Romeo is 12-4-4 so far this season.

-The Buckeyes rank 27th nationally in scoring offense averaging 2.95 goals per contest, but are fourth in scoring defense allowing just 2.05 goals per game. During this six-game win-streak OSU is even better scoring 3.67 goals per game and allowing just 1.50 to rank 11th and tied fourth in the nation, respectively, over that span.

-Ohio State has allowed just nine goals over its last six games, which matches the number Penn State put up during its two-game series in Columbus to open December.

-The Buckeyes possess the best penalty-kill unit in the entire country at 91.9 percent (79-for-86). They have allowed just seven power-play goals all season, which is the lowest mark in the NCAA. Their power-play, however, has struggled converting just 18-of-100 chances (18 percent) to rank 37th in the nation and fifth in the Big Ten.

-Tanner Laczynski leads the Buckeyes with 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points to lead the Big Ten and rank tied for third nationally in scoring. The sophomore also ranks third, behind Henrik Borgstrom (73) and Denis Smirnov (64), on the NCAA career scoring list for second-year players with 61 points.

SPECIAL DELIVERY

-Penn State is 33-for-35 (94.3 percent) on the penalty kill during its 10-game unbeaten streak, which ranks first in the nation over that span. Overall the Nittany Lion PK is 63-for-73 (86.3 percent) to rank third in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation.

-Penn State has only allowed 10 power-play goals all season to rank fifth best in the nation in PPG’s allowed.

-The Nittany Lion power-play has also been functioning well as of late as Penn State has scored at least one power-play goal in five straight games. PSU is converting at a 24.4 percent (10-for-41) clip with the man-advantage during this current 10-game unbeaten streak to rank seventh in the nation during that timeframe.

-At 19-for-88 (21.6 percent) overall, Penn State ranks third in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation with the man-advantage.

HOCKEY VALLEY

HAT-TRICK

-Last Friday sophomore Nate Sucese became the sixth Nittany Lion in program history to register a hat-trick as he scored a goal in each period including the game-winner during a 5-1 victory over No. 15 Wisconsin.

GIDDY UP 4.09

-A year after leading the nation in goals per game with a 4.10 average, Penn State is right back atop the nation averaging 4.09 through the first 22 games this season.

-The Nittany Lions also lead the nation in goals (90), assists (159), points (249), shots on goal (895) and shots on goal per game (40.68) just one year after setting single-season program records for each category.

THE STATE OF NATE

-With his three goals last week Sucese was named the Big Ten Conference Third Star of the Week and he moved into a tie with Andrew Sturtz for the team lead with 10 goals on the season, good for tied fourth in the Big Ten.

-Sucese’s 19 points this season rank tied for fourth on the team and 14th in the Big Ten.

-In 58 career games, Sucese now has 55 points on 27 goals and 28 assists as is now tied for ninth all-time on the Penn State goal scoring list with Tommy Olczyk ’16 just one goal behind classmate Denis Smirnov for eighth. Sucese is also just two points shy of cracking the top-10 for all-time scoring at Penn State.

-Sucese is currently riding a four-game point-streak and ranks seventh in NCAA career scoring amongst sophomores with his 55 points.

-His six goals in his last four games lead the Big Ten and rank third in the nation during the time only behind C.J. Suess of Minnesota State and Darien Craighead from Northern Michigan, a pair of players who have played double the amount of games he has.

CHASING THE

RECORD BOOKS

-Junior forward Chase Berger hasn’t missed a single game in his entire Penn State career and Friday will mark his 100th, making him the first Penn State player to reach 100 games without missing a single game to start his career.

-Berger is also riding a career-high four-game goal streak, which ties the Penn State all-time record for consecutive games with a goal.

-Last weekend, Berger moved into fifth all-time on the Penn State goal list with 33 for his career and he also moved past Casey Bailey for third on the all-time points list with 81. Berger’s 48 assists remain second all-time in Penn State history behind the 84 of David Goodwin ’17.

GREEN EGGS

AND HAMILTON

-With 20 points this season, senior Trevor Hamilton leads the Big Ten and ranks tied for fourth in the entire nation in defensemen scoring. His 16 assists also tie for the Big Ten lead and for second in the nation among defensemen.

-Hamilton’s 51 blocks lead the Big Ten and rank fourth in the nation just five behind the national leader.

-With a pair of assists last week, Hamilton also tied Vince Pedrie for third on the Penn State all-time assist list for defensemen with 36 in 61 career games wearing the Blue and White. His 46 points also rank fourth all-time for a Penn State blueliner.

FINNISHING STRONG

-Speaking of records, senior Erik Autio returned last weekend after missing six games due to an injury and he is just a single assist shy of tying Luke Juha ’16 for first on the Penn State all-time assist list for defensemen at 45.

-Also, with a single point he will tie long-time defensive partner Vince Pedrie for second on the all-time points list for Penn State defensemen at 52. Juha leads the way at 60 points.

-Autio is also tied with Curtis Loik ’16 for fourth on the all-time games played list with 124.

CAREER STREAKS

CONTINUE

-During this ten-game unbeaten streak no one has been hotter than sophomore Brandon Biro and junior Andrew Sturtz. Each have combined for three goals and 11 assists for 14 points which ranks second in the Big Ten and tied for 11th in the nation during that span.

-Biro is currently riding a career-high six-game point streak (1-7-8) and has registered at least one point in nine of the last ten games.

-Sturtz is also in the midst of a career long point-streak of eight games (3-9-12), registering multiple point efforts in four of those eight games.

NEXT UP

-Penn State begins back-to-back road weekends with a trip to Ann Arbor to battle Michigan in a pair of contests.

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