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Penn State Hockey Game-By-Game Predictions For 2022-2023 season

Penn State Hockey opens the 2022-2023 College Hockey season with high expectations the Nittany Lions take a big step as a program.

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Connor MacEachern #29 of Penn State Hockey.(Photo by Michael Longo/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State Hockey enters the 2022-23 season with high expectations that the Nittany Lions take a major step as a program.

With some returning stars, and plenty of young talent, Penn State Hockey is already garnering some national recognition, and preseason hype.

Here are our game-by-game predictions for the 2022-23 Penn State Hockey season, with insight from Adam Stay and Patrick Sweda:

OCT 7/8              vs. Canisius

Adam:

Penn State Hockey faces off against the Canisius Golden Griffins to start the season.

The win column for each squad shows as Lions (17) versus the Griffins (16) last season.

Players to lock down for the Lions include Keaton Mastrodonato (26 points in 30 games played) for the Griffins.

Happy Valley is the much deeper team all around. Playing up to Big Ten Hockey standard must start with non conference opponents to ensure consistency year-round.

Prediction: Series split 1-1

Patrick:

While the talent of Penn State Hockey should overwhelm Canisius in this matchup, that didn’t prevent the Golden Griffins from splitting the series at Pegula last season.

Canisius finished 16-16-3 getting knocked out in the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinal last season.

This series will dictate the potential for this team. If the Nittany Lions get big wins and a sweep it could be a sign of good things to come.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

OCT 13/14          vs. Mercyhurst/@Mercyhurst

Adam:

Penn State Hockey has not had to play Mercyhurst University since the 2017-2018 season. They split the series years ago with two high scoring affairs (7-5 W) and (5-7 L).

Overall record for Mercyhurst last season was (16-19-4). The only big ten matches Mercyhurst had last season were against Minnesota and Ohio State, only coming away with one win. Penn State is the more talented team and should handle business for the home/ away split.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

This is the first of a split non-conference series that Penn State Hockey will experience with the first game being played on Thursday at home and the Friday game being played in Erie.

These teams have only met 3 times with the Nittany Lions winning 2 of those matchups.

The Lakers are coming off a 16-19-4 season that saw them reach the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals. Although a smaller arena this will be the first road test for the Nittany Lions on the season.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

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OCT 20/21          vs. St. Thomas

Adam:

St. Thomas is a developing program just starting at the NCAA Division I level last season. They had an overall record of (3-32-1) last season, I predict the Nittany Lions to have over 8 goals during the series.

A perfect opportunity to beat up an opponent and get the scoring touch of Kevin Wall, Connor MacEachern, and Ryan Kirwan. Liam Souliere should also start in net for this series, building on that save percentage last season of (.905).

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

This will be only the second season for the Tommies at the NCAA Division 1 level going 3-32-1 last season. The Nittany Lions swept last year’s matchup 5-1 and 4-1 at St. Thomas and should get a similar result this season. St. Thomas is still building and having this series at home should result in easy wins to give the Nittany Lions momentum heading into Big 10 play.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0
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OCT 28/29          @Wisconsin

Adam:

The Nittany Lions average 3.67 goals a game all time against the Badgers, with an overall record of 24-18-3. They managed to go 3-1 against them last season, as Wisconsin saw a drop in statistics.

They went 10-24-3 last year due to numerous NHL talent existing in the club. I believe this big ten series will be the first real challenge for the lions, especially on the road.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 24-18-3 over the Badgers. Wisconsin is coming off a 10-24-3 season but always has a solid amount of NHL prospects on the roster.

The Badgers are receiving 15 votes in the USCHO preseason poll good for 31st in the nation.

If Penn State can carry their momentum from the non conference to this series, it could bode well. Getting a great start in conference play will be crucial in contending for an NCAA tournament bid at the end of the season.

Prediction: Series split 1-1

NOV 4/5             vs Michigan

Adam:

The Michigan Wolverines, we hate to say it, but they have a damn good hockey team.

Ideally, many of the first rounders from last year’s team make the NHL. Top 10 overall draft picks from Michigan in the 2021-2022 draft included Luke Hughes, Matty Beniers, Kent Johnson, and Owen Power.

The USCHO has them ranked at No. 6 with two first place votes. A true testament to whether the Nittany Lions should belong in the national tournament this season.

Prediction: Michigan wins 2-0

Patrick:

The Wolverines lead the all-time series 22-14-1. Michigan is coming off a 31-10 season that saw them win the Big Ten tournament and reach the Frozen 4 before losing to Denver 3-2 in OT.

The team is still littered with first rounders as well as other NHL talent. The Wolverines enter this season ranked No. 6 in the nation and have received 2 first place votes. This will be a tough game for the Nittany Lions who will need to lean on the atmosphere and home ice advantage to pull the upset.

Prediction: Michigan Wins 2-0

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NOV 10/11         @ Minnesota

Adam:

Penn State will have another hard fought big ten matchup in Minnesota. They enter the year ranked #2 in the preseason poll. Players to lock down defensively on Minnesota include Mathew Knies (33 points in 33 games played), and Logan Cooley (No. 3 overall pick to the Arizona Coyotes in the 2022 NHL draft).

Prediction: Minnesota Wins 2-0

Patrick:

Minnesota leads the all-time series 21-16-1. The Gophers finished last season 26-13 and reached the Frozen 4 before losing to Minnesota State 5-1. They return a large portion of their production this season and enter the year ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls receiving 8 first place votes. This will be a tough series and the best-case scenario would be if the Nittany Lions could avoid the sweep with a win or tie.

Prediction: Minnesota Wins 2-0

NOV 18/19         vs Michigan State

Adam:

The Nittany Lions finally get provided a weaker big ten opponent in Michigan State, overall record for the Spartans last season was 12-23-1. The Spartans only averaged 2.1 goals per game with not a single player for them averaging a point per game all season. Penn State has an opportunity here for a happy roar zone, with a sweep at home.

Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

Penn State leads the all-time series 20-14-4. Michigan State is coming off a 12-23-1 season that saw them finish towards the bottom of the league. With a difficult first 6 conference games, this series will be crucial for the Nittany Lions to get back on track. Since this series is at home a sweep needs to happen.

Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0

NOV 22/23         vs Alaska Fairbanks

Adam:

It’s completely necessary here for Penn State to take care of business at Pegula. The Ice dogs held a 14-18-2 record last season playing as an independent team. I am looking to see a Liam Souliere shutout during this weekend, along with over two points a game for Kevin Wall. Goals should be everywhere this weekend, prepping Penn State to play a much bigger opponent in Ohio State.

Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

Penn State has only faced Alaska once before back in 2010 splitting the series 1-1. That weekend saw Penn State win 7-0 in the opener before Alaska the following night won 4-0. Alaska is coming off a 14-18-2 season. This is another must sweep series if the Nittany Lions want to keep themselves high enough in the pairwise rankings to make the tournament.

Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0

DEC 2/3               vs Ohio State

Adam:

Ohio State comes in ranked #16 in the USCHO preseason poll after a 22-13-2 season. Overall conference record for the Buckeyes last season was 13-9-2. OSU has consistent offensive and defensive capabilities each year, but the primary focus will be on Jakob Dobes. Born May 27, 2001, Dobes is a Czech goaltender drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 146th overall. Earning a .934 save percentage last season in 35 games played. Penn State must test him early and often, shooting the puck from all different angles. Home ice advantage should turn the weekend into a series split for the Lions.

Prediction: Series Split 1-1

Patrick:

The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 21-15-4. Ohio State is coming off a 22-13-2 season where they had their NCAA Tournament hopes dashed after being upset by Penn State in the Big 10 Tournament quarterfinals, losing the series 2-1.  The Buckeyes enter the season ranked #16 and are going to lean on the talented goaltender Jakob Dobes to help get them back to the tournament. Penn State should get at least 4 or 5 of the 6 possible points from this matchup in the friendly confines of Pegula.

Prediction: Penn State Wins 1-0-1

DEC 9/10            @ Notre Dame

Adam:

The Fighting Irish had seven players with over 20 points last season, and naturally put together a deep squad each year.

They finished with an overall record of 28-12, with an outstanding conference record of 17-7. Compton Family Ice Arena is always a fierce environment to play in as well, Nittany Lions might have trouble coming out with a win in this series.

Prediction: Notre Dame sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

The Irish have dominated this series leading 17-7-3 all time. Notre Dame is coming off a 28-12 season that saw them reach the NCAA Tournament Regional Final. They enter the season ranked #9 in the nation. This has historically been a team that gives Penn State fits, especially on the road. Anything better than getting swept could be considered positive.

Prediction: Notre Dame Sweeps 2-0

DEC 30/31          @ RIT/vs RIT

Adam:

Penn State plays RIT after a 18-16-4 season from the tiger’s last season. The Tigers play out of the Atlantic hockey conference, falling to Air Force (3-4) in the semi finals last year. RIT should be an easy opponent for the Lions, but I predict the fatigue from playing Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Notre Dame early on will make the legs move a bit slower this series.

Prediction: Series split 1-1

Patrick:

This will be the first meeting between the two teams in 10 years. Penn State leads the all-time series 1-0-1. The Tigers are coming off a 18-16-4 season that saw them reach the Atlantic Hockey Semifinal. Despite the split home and home series, this is one that Penn State will need to get a sweep. Getting a road win will be great for Penn State’s quest for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0

JAN 13/14          @ Michigan State

Adam:

The Lions come into the second half of the year after a much-needed break. Like the start of the season, the schedule won’t be any easier. If my predictions are correct, Michigan State will be fired up after getting swept in the first series of the year. Pierce Charleson is the steadiest thing about the Spartans, a junior goaltender earning a .904 save percentage last season. The Spartans also play a series against Ohio State the weekend prior to this. I believe Michigan State will sneak out a win after all this time off for the Lions.

Prediction: Series Split 1-1

Patrick:

The Nittany Lions kick off the second half of their Big 10 slate with a trip to East Lansing. This is not going to be a good Michigan State team so getting a minimum of 4 points on the road is a must. Penn State should certainly be the more talented team.

Prediction: Penn State Wins 1-0-1

JAN 20/21          vs Notre Dame

Adam:

The Fighting Irish must come into Pegula this time around, a great opportunity for a big upset. Later in the year is typically when you see some younger talent start to step up, something the Lions will desperately need to make the tournament. Keep an eye out for Ryan Kirwan and Ben Schoen to put a couple points on the board.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

Anytime you get a top 10 team at home it is a great opportunity to get points in the conference standings and strengthen your pairwise ranking. Penn State has had much more success against the Irish at home and this series should be a clean split.

Prediction: Series Split 1-1

JAN 27/28          @ Michigan

Adam:

Yost Ice Arena is an iconic college hockey barn, and a tough one to play in. While Penn State fans do travel well, it’s difficult to see a scenario where the Lions get a point this weekend. The Wolverines come into this year as a favorite to win another national championship.

Prediction: Michigan Sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

This will be the most difficult road environment that Penn State will face all season. Outside of Pegula, Yost Ice Arena is arguably the toughest place to play in the Big 10. The Nittany Lions will be lucky to get out of Ann Arbor with any points against what will be a Top 10 Michigan team.

Prediction: Michigan Sweeps 2-0

FEB 3/4               @ Ohio State

Adam:

The Lions have a 9-11-2 away record in Ohio State all time. This should be a very competitive series with plenty of greasy goals. Bounce back points after playing Michigan the weekend prior is a must. Mason Lohrei, the big six-foot four-inch puck moving defenseman for OSU is a player to stop. Jake Wise fits in that category as well, (10 goals, 18 assists) in 35 games played last season. Wise was selected in the third round (No.79th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Prediction: Penn State Wins 1-0-1

Patrick:

Penn State has had decent success playing at Ohio State over the years. This could be a series where the Nittany Lions could pick up a surprising road win that could push them towards the tournament.

Prediction: Series Split 1-1

FEB 17/18           vs Minnesota

Adam:

Penn State playing the Gophers in Pegula is always must-see hockey. They are 9-8-1 at home, a very strong record against a team that has been ranked very highly the past few seasons. Paul DeNaples needs to bash some Gopher heads in throughout the series. It seems that when things start to get physical in Pegula, the Lions typically handle business on the scoreboard. Most likely, due to a rowdy home team environment.

Prediction: Series Split 1-1

Patrick:

Playing against a Top 5 team at home sounds extremely difficult. However, for whatever reason the Nittany Lions have played very well against the Gophers in recent years at home. It wouldn’t be out of the question if Penn State won a game, at the very least taking a tie.

Prediction: Minnesota Wins 1-0-1

FEB 24/25           vs Wisconsin

Adam:

The Nittany Lions hold a home record of 14-6-1 against the Badgers. Wisconsin was a very top heavy team last season, having Cole Caufield (52 points in 31 games played), Linus Weissbach (41 points in 31 games played), and goaltender Cameron Rowe (.93 save percentage). Now that all three of those players left, it’s time for a Badger beatdown to end the season.

Prediction: Penn State sweeps 2-0

Patrick:

These two teams are evenly matched based on talent level in the preseason. This game being in Pegula to end the regular season should benefit the Nittany Lions. This will be a great opportunity to give one last push for an NCAA tournament at large bid before the Big 10 Conference tournament begins.

Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0

Season Prediction

Adam:                  20-13-1

Patrick:                19-12-3

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