Hockey Team Set To White Out Pegula Friday Night
One of Penn State’s great traditions, the Whiteout, is coming to Pegula Ice Arena on Friday night. When Penn State takes on Wisconsin to kick off its remaining Big Ten schedule, a packed rink will be raining down its cheers and showing off its cleanest apparel.
The Whiteout has been a staple of Beaver Stadium since 2007, but for the second time in as many seasons it will cross the road to support the hockey team. Already established as one of the most unique and breathtaking sights in college sports, the coupling of fans decked out in white, the snow outside, and the ice inside will provide a very, very bright environment.
“This was determined long ago,” said team information director Jeremy Fallis. “The marketing staff identified a Friday night against a big-name program in the second semester. Last year it was Minnesota, this year it was Wisconsin. The ‘wear white’ was printed on the season tickets back in September as well.”
Unfortunately, not everyone bought into the “wear white” aspect in last year’s iteration against Minnesota. Still, the excitement of the event isn’t lost on the team.
“Something like a whiteout, if it’s successfully done, would be tremendous to us,” said coach Guy Gadowsky. “It would be a big benefit.”
With the program staff prepared for months and the team excited for the matchup and environment, all that’s left is the fans. If the Roar Zone has shown anything over the first two-thirds of the season, it’s that the student section will be ready.
“Bring your cameras to our Friday night game against Wisconsin coming up in a few weeks,” Roar Zone president Kyle Hoke told Onward State last week. “We might be teasing more leading up to it, but expect something great.”
That’s that. The Peg is going to be rocking Friday night, so let’s take a look at the game itself.
Penn State (13-7-4) has a clear advantage over Wisconsin (2-16-4) on paper, but sports can be a cruel mistress. The Badgers also have one of the most talented goaltenders in college hockey in senior Joel Rumpel.
A quick look into the identity of the Badgers’ team can be found in its early January matchup with No. 5 Michigan Tech. Wisconsin was outshot 47-19 (!) in the game, but Rumpel stood on his head and earned a shutout win, 2-0.
In the meantime, Penn State has had itself a very nice season. It saw its first ranking in program history, sat atop the Big Ten for a short time, and swept Wisconsin in their first two meetings. Penn State averages 3.5 goals for and 2.8 goals against per game, substantially better than Wisconsin’s respective marks of 2.0 and 4.0.
While logic dictates that Penn State should win this game and sweep the two-game weekend series handily, the previous two successful whiteouts have seen a combined six overtimes, and seeing that total build would be fun. The two games will likely be decided by whether or not Casey Bailey and the high-octane Nittany Lions can solve the very talented Rumpel.
No matter what happens, the environment should be fantastic. And remember, Penn State fans: roar responsibly. The Whiteout game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with the series’ second game at 2 p.m. on Saturday.