Penn State Hockey Skyrockets in Buccigross Rankings After Big Weekend

Penn State Hockey
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 25: Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky reacts during the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Hockey Championship between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Union Dutchmen on March 25th 2017, at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. Penn State defeated Union 10-3. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)
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Penn State Hockey is the real deal.

The Nittany Lions’ fast start to the season continues, after sweeping Wisconsin this Halloween weekend, and improving to 8-0.

Currently ranked No. 16 in the USCHO, other reputable polls are crediting Penn State Hockey with the recognition it deserves.

John Buccigross has listed at the Lions at No. 10 in his weekly #cawlidgehockey top 16 rankings.

Bucci also has Penn State Hockey ranked higher than Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Boston University. It’s great to see the Lions start off conference play with a clean sweep, something they struggled with last season.

Here’s a look back at Penn State Hockey’s Big Ten opening weekend sweep of Wisconsin

Series Recap

Friday Night

An incredible goaltending performance by junior goaltender Liam Souliere led the Lions to a 2-1 victory.

Souliere stopped 31 of 32 shots, improving his starting record to 5-0 on the season. The Badgers struck first early on, as Dominick Mersch deflected a shot from Sam Strange. Soon after, the Nittany Lions evened up the scoring in a similar fashion.

Kevin Wall tallied his fifth of the season, deflecting a shot off his skate from Jared Crespo.

The Lions were tied due to strong defensive play on both ends until Tyler Paquette scored the game-winner at the 3:02 mark of the middle frame. It was a sneaky five-hole dribbler that he rifled from the far corner goal line, finding its way off Jared Moe’s stick and in the back of the net.

This held on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory in Kohl ice arena.

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Saturday Night

Penn State Hockey out-shot the Badgers 43-32 and had four different players contribute to the goal-scoring frenzy.

Connor McMenamin opened the scoring with a beauty Saturday night, collecting the puck off his own rebound and firing it short side top shelf to leave Jared Moe shaking his head yet again.

It wasn’t until the third period that the Lions extended the lead to make it 2-0. Coming off the powerplay, Ben Schoen and Conner McMenamin established a nifty passing sequence to then find Ashton Calder (senior forward) for the goal.

The final two goals were scored by Xanda Lamppa and Conner MacEachern leading the Lions to a 4-0 victory and a clean sweep.

MVP

Liam Souliere – Penn State – Brampton, Ontario

Souliere stopped 63 of 64 shots in the series, establishing his first career shutout on Saturday. This brings him to a .945 save percentage, good for #10 in the country.

Goaltending is going to be so vital to Penn State’s success moving forward with conference play. They will be facing off against strong offensive teams soon such as Michigan and Minnesota. In fact, out of the top 16 ranked by Bucci, four of those teams have goaltenders within the top 10 for save percentage. This includes UConn, UMass, St. Cloud St, and Umass Lowell. 

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