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Penn State Hockey To Take On Minnesota In First Round Of Big Ten Tournament

No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey will host No. 8 Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament after sweeping the Golden Gophers at Pegula Ice Arena in the final series of the regular season.

The Nittany Lions took all six points from the Golden Gophers this weekend and won the season series over Minnesota, taking three of the four meetings between the two teams. The first series between the teams was played in October; Penn State took game one by a final score of 3-1 before Minnesota earned a split with a 6-3 victory in game two.

Although the Nittany Lions have gotten the better of the Golden Gophers this season, Minnesota’s squad is still stocked with talent in every part of the ice. Forward Casey Mittlestadt was a top-ten draft pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, while defenseman Ryan Lindgren has put together an extremely solid season on the back end.

The team’s goaltending situation is slightly more complicated; Eric Schierhorn was the regular starter earlier in the season, but a stretch of extremely strong play from sophomore Mat Robson has seen him take command of the starting job. Robson allowed eight goals against Penn State this weekend, so it will be interesting to see who head coach Don Lucia decides to start in goal.

This is the first season of the Big Ten’s new format for its postseason tournament. The No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds in the conference will host the No. 7, 6, and 5 seeds, respectively, in a best-of-three series from March 2 to 4. Notre Dame earned a bye to the single-elimination semifinals, which will be played on March 10. The final will be played on St. Patrick’s Day at the home rink of the highest remaining seed in the tournament.

In years past, the tournament has been held at either the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit or the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. Penn State will not have to play three games in as many nights as long as its quarterfinal series against Minnesota doesn’t go the distance.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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