Penn State men’s hockey winger Denis Smirnov was named the national first star of the week by the NCAA for his standout performance during the Nittany Lions’ sweep over Robert Morris.
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) December 12, 2017
Smirnov is beginning to find his stride after missing six games due to an undisclosed illness. The Russian scored three goals and added two assists during the Robert Morris sweep, including a four-point effort on Saturday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
Since returning to the lineup, Smirnov, who was selected in the sixth round by Colorado in the 2017 NHL Draft, has tallied four goals and two assists in four games. He was held to just one goal in two games against Ohio State, but his scoring outburst against Robert Morris is a return to form for Penn State’s star.
The No. 15 Nittany Lions will return to action on the first weekend of the new year; No. 13 Wisconsin will come to Pegula Ice Arena on January 5 and 6 for the teams’ first meetings since last season’s Big Ten championship game. The puck drops at 7 p.m. on both nights.