Series Preview: Mercyhurst
Josh Starr, Joe Esquivel-Murphy and Travis Sutton break down this weekend's series between the No. 17 Penn State Nittany Lions and the Mercyhurst Lakers.
No. 17 Penn State will look to do something that it has not done this season: it will look to win both games in a series.
Penn State has taken the ice four straight weeks this season, and every weekend the Nittany Lions have won and lost a game.
The Nittany Lions will face off with Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Mercyhurst is a small liberal arts university with around 2,800 students located in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Mercyhurst hockey team will enter Pegula Ice Arena with a 2-2-2 record and most recently the Lakers split a series on the road against Bentley University.
Mercyhurst picked up its other victory of the season in the previous series against Ferris State, after the Lakers were unable to pick up a victory in their first three games of the season.
The Lakers are averaging 2.7 goals per game and 38.2 shots per game.
11 of the 16 goals Mercyhurst has scored have come on the power play. The Lakers are converting 33 percent of their power plays into goals.
Mercyhurst is playing its strongest hockey in the third period this season, outscoring opponents 8-4 in the crucial final period.
Taylor Best and Matthew Whittaker lead the Lakers in goals with three apiece.
All three of Whittaker’s goals have been when Mercyhurst was on the power play.
Les Lancaster leads Mercyhurst in points with six, five of those six coming from assists.
All five of the assists that Lancaster has this season have come when Mercyhurst is on the power play.
The Laker defense is averaging 2.2 goals allowed per game.
Mercyhurst has had a strong power play defense this season, only allowing four goals on the 25 times the Lakers were shorthanded.
Brandon Wildung will be in between the pipes for the Lakers, and he is the only goalie to see the ice this season for Mercyhurst.
Wildung has 182 saves this season and has a .933 save percentage.
Penn State comes into this weekend’s matchups against the Lakers with a 4-4 record on the season.
The Nittany Lions bounced back from a disappointing series against American International, and split a series with Michigan last weekend.
This will be the third straight series at Pegula Ice arena for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State has a high-flying offense scoring an average of 3.4 goals per game and 37.8 shots every time the Nittany Lions take the ice.
Penn State has not done anything special on power plays this year, scoring eight goals on its 33 power play opportunities.
The Nittany Lions have been struggling in the third period as Penn State has been outscored 11-8 in the crucial final period of the game.
Denis Smirnov leads Penn State in goals with five and in points with 11.
Smirnov has had three game-winning goals for the Nittany Lions this season.
Penn State has struggled on defense this season as the Nittany Lions have allowed 3.4 goals this season.
Peyton Jones starts between the pipes for the Nittany Lions.
The sophomore goalie has 174 saves this season and a save percentage of .879.
Ben Ferree is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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