First Round Series Preview: Penn State vs. Minnesota
Josh Starr, Tyler Olson and Jason Marcus preview Penn State's Big Ten Tournament first-round matchup against Minnesota:
For the second straight weekend, the Penn State Nittany Lions will look to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a best-of-three series during the quarter-final round of the Big Ten Hockey Tournament.
For the first time in team history, Penn State swept Minnesota last weekend, and it could not have come at a better time. With PairWise ranking them at No. 17, Penn State could not afford anything short of a sweep if they wanted to have hope at making the NCAA Tournament. Fortunately, senior captain James Robinson scored just eight minutes into the first period on Friday, and from that point on, the Nittany Lions never looked back.
With the improbable wins behind them, Penn State now looks to host the Golden Gophers once again, but this time the stakes will be even higher. The defending Big Ten champions looked fairly inconsistent during the regular season, but coach Guy Gadowsky hopes that his players may be heating up at just the right time.
However, just because they were successful last week, does not mean they can take Minnesota lightly. After, all Minnesota finished the regular season with a much better record than Penn State. Led by forwards Tyler Sheehy and Brent Gates, the Golden Gophers have had their moments this season where they have looked almost unstoppable. In addition, goalie Mat Robson has been the definition of consistency. Posting one of the best seasons of his career, Robson has been an absolute brick wall in the net blocking almost every shot that has come his way.
One factor that many may not have thought could come into play this weekend, however, is the crowd at Pegula Ice Arena. With the majority of the student section most likely gone for spring break, the fans and atmosphere this weekend could possibly be the deciding factor in the series. With the Nittany Lion’s riding a wave of momentum heading into this weekend, the attendance in Pegula could either make or break their hopes of beating Minnesota for the third and fourth time in two weeks.
For the seniors, these next couple of games will be some of their last, and their most important. A win in this series means that they will face the winner of the Michigan and Wisconsin Series in a single elimination match on Mar. 10.
With hopes of defending their Big Ten Championship, Penn State will face a lot of adversity over the next couple weeks. However, in a season full of adversity, the Nittany Lions are no strangers to it, and will no doubt be giving it all they got until that final horn sounds.
Jason Marcus is a junior telecommunications major. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism, Political Science
Tyler Olson is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. He is a student in Centre County Report and a news director for CommRadio. In addition, Tyler covers hockey, basketball and baseball for CommRadio and is a columnist for the Daily Collegian.
Junior / Telecommunications
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism