Series Preview: Penn State vs. Clarkson
Carolyn Sistrand, Jordan Mansberger and Paul Toth talk Penn State's season series opener against Clarkson:
College hockey is back. The No. 17 Clarkson Golden Knights travel to take on the No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lions in one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the early nonconference season. With the first game of the year around the corner, Penn State is looking to start the season strong. Similarly, Clarkson is looking to repeat a fantastic 2017-2018 campaign. Game one of the series will be played Thursday while game two will be played Friday.
Penn State and Clarkson played last season with the Golden Knights winning 2-1 despite being outshot 39-21.
While the season isn’t officially underway, Penn State did participate in an exhibition matchup vs Brock University. The Nittany Lions dominated most of the game, particularly in the first two periods but started the third sluggish allowing Brock to score two unanswered to tie up it up. Penn State forward Brandon Biro scored the game-winner on the power play with just under three minutes remaining in the contest. They went on to win 3-2.
Longtime Nittany Lions Andrew Sturtz and Trevor Hamilton are no longer with the club, but new faces such as Aarne Talvitie, Oskar Autio, and Max Sauvé are looking to make an impact.
Coming into his first season, Talvitie, a native of Finland, is still adjusting to the smaller ice. The 2017 NJ Devils sixth-round pick plays a gritty all-around game including both powerplay and the penalty kill. In addition, he is responsible in his own end and uses his strength to push forecheckers off the puck. In the exhibition matchup he recorded three shots, but he wasn't satisfied.
“I should have scored from those chances,” Talvitie said. When asked if he was nervous he only said two words: “not really.”
With some veteran departures, there have been changes to the leadership team for the 2018-2019 campaign. Senior Chase Berger was named the sixth captain in program history. Senior Kevin Kerr and Biro will serve as alternates.
Starting in net for the Nittany Lions is junior Peyton Jones. Jones is looking to return to what was a very impressive freshman year giving up only 2.60 goals per game and achieving a Penn State record 23 wins. He is coming off a season in which he put up a .905 save percentage and 3.3 goals-against average, numbers he hopes to improve.
Last season was incredible for the Golden Knights. In the middle of the season, they went on a 14-game winning streak, which is the third longest in school history. Last season Clarkson qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008 but was unable to get past Providence in a tough 1-0 defeat. This season they return 17 men from their 2017-2018 squad.
Penn State forward Denis Smirnov is looking to continue his dominance for the Nittany Lions. In his first two seasons, Smirnov recorded 74 points in 69 games. He is a 2017 sixth-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche.
This series, while early in the season, will send a message to the rest of the NCAA. Both teams would love to sweep the series and start there season off with a bang. Both games will be played at 7 p.m.
Kyle Cannillo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.