No. 6 Penn State Hockey Faces Off Against No. 17 Michigan State for Weekend Series

Penn State Hockey
Penn State Hockey takes the ice at Pegula Ice Arena (Image via Patrick Sweda, Nittany Central)
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No. 17 Michigan State Spartans enter Happy valley this weekend for a Friday/Saturday series against No. 6 Penn State Hockey.

The Nittany Lions hold a 20-14-4 record against the Spartans, with a commanding 11-4-3 record in Pegula Ice Arena. Penn State Hockey has also won seven of the last 12 appearances dating back to 2019-2020.

Conner McMenamin ended the series in dramatic fashion the last time they met, scoring an overtime game-winner, and splitting the series by scores of (2-4 L) and (2-1 W). It should be a very competitive fast-paced series as the Nittany Lions lead the big ten with a 4-2 conference record, with a 10-2 overall record. The Spartans are not far behind, establishing a 4-1-1 conference record with an 8-3-1 record overall.

Early on, the preseason coaches poll had both teams finishing bottom two in the conference, now hungrier than ever to continue proving everyone wrong.

Notable conference foes either team has beaten recently include Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State.

Strength vs. Weakness

Michigan State has the second-best penalty kill in the Big Ten at 87.2%, good for eighth in the nation. This will challenge Penn State heavily, the Nittany Lions have a disappointing 11.8% powerplay despite being ranked fifth in the country in goals per game. Over the past two weeks, they are on an 0-12 powerplay drought.


Goaltending Battle

This series will see the two hottest goaltenders in the Big Ten.

Spartans’ netminder Dylan St. Cyr leads the Big Ten with an outstanding .936 save percentage, only above Liam Souliere’s .932 save percentage. Liam also has an impressive 1.81 goals against average, with eight big ten victories, good enough to lead the conference.

Series Prediction

Overall, the Nittany Lions win hockey games with timely saves from Souliere and a high-flying offense.

The Michigan State Spartans have one of those key elements in goaltending, but rank outside the top 20 in goals per game scored.

The only way the Spartans could stop a Penn State Hockey sweep is to slow down the pace of play and rely heavily on Dylan St. Cyr. A veteran presence should thrive in an opponent like the Spartans. Ture Linden and Kevin Wall should combine for a few points in another vital conference matchup.

Series Prediction: Penn State Sweeps 2-0