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Gameday Observations: Penn State Hockey At Madison Square Garden

No. 15 Penn State men’s hockey got back on track in a big way by beating Michigan 5-2 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions participated in the Big Ten’s Super Saturday for the second time and exacted revenge for their 6-3 defeat against the Wolverines at The World’s Most Famous Arena in 2016.

Here are some observations from our staff’s hockey road trip:

  • We went to Stout, a bar and restaurant just a few blocks away from the Garden, for a pre-game meal. Penn State’s presence there set the tone for an evening dominated by the Nittany Lions. There were a few Michigan fans as well as a sprinkling of Maryland and Illinois fans hanging around after the Illini and Terps’ basketball game, but the bar’s basement was nearly all blue and white two hours before puck drop.
  • The only way I can describe walking around Madison Square Garden is getting smacked in the face with New York sports history. Sitting at nearly eye level with the Knicks’ championship banners and retired jerseys on the way to the press box was really cool. I’m not the biggest basketball fan, but it was hard not to appreciate seeing names like Patrick Ewing and Clyde Frazier hanging from the rafters.
  • No. 7 overall draft selection Quinn Hughes was directly responsible for three of Penn State’s goals on Saturday thanks to total carelessness with the puck. To make matters worse, Hughes allegedly asked Penn State center Evan Barratt if he was going to do anything on Saturday night, according to the Big Ten Network’s broadcast of the game. Barratt scored a goal and two assists, including a clean strip of Hughes in the buildup to Liam Folkes’ eventual game-winning goal.
  • Saturday’s announced attendance at Madison Square Garden was 9,271. I’d guess that the crowd was split 60/40 in favor of Penn State. My dad said some Penn State alumni sitting around him hadn’t seen the Nittany Lions play at the D-I level in person before Saturday night. Pegula Ice Arena is cool and all, but fans like those alumni are exactly why the Big Ten’s Super Saturday promotion is so great.
  • The Roar Zone was absolutely phenomenal on Saturday. The students were packed in the corner behind Peyton Jones’ goal for two periods, but that didn’t stop them from belting out their signature chants at Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne (No relation to Avril — he’s a hockey guy, not a Sk8er Boi).

  • The Michigan band was in full force, blasting the Wolverines’ infuriatingly-catchy fight song quite a bit. Singing “Hail! Hail! To Michigan!” in your head while trying to type a recap is way more fun than it may sound. It’s even funnier to hear the band playing that song while Penn State celebrated at the end of the game.

All in all, Saturday night was a great night to be a Penn State hockey fan, and Madison Square Garden was an excellent venue for a much-needed Nittany Lion victory.

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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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