Five years ago, Penn State did not have a Division I hockey team. Today, it came in at No. 1 in the USCHO Poll.
The Nittany Lions received 964 voter points and 30 first place votes in their first-ever No. 1 ranking. They swept Michigan State over the weekend, while Denver, Harvard, and Minnesota-Duluth lost matches to fall from the top spots. Peyton Jones also became the winningest goalie in Penn State history with his 14th victory on Saturday (Penn State typically had goalies split time in the net before him.)
Penn State (16-2-1)’s had the best season start in program history and clawed its way from being unranked at the beginning to this week’s No. 1 spot. Depth at every position and improvement on defense are among reasons for the recent success. Denis Smirnov doesn’t hurt, either.
Other Big Ten foes cracking the Top 20 are No. 7 Minnesota and No. 11 Ohio State. Penn State split its first series with Ohio State two weeks ago and has yet to face Minnesota. The Nittany Lions are back at Pegula for their second series with Ohio State this weekend.