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Penn State Hockey Ranked No. 4 In John Buccigross’ Preseason Top 16 Rankings

College hockey’s 2019-20 season is right around the corner, and SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross is showing Penn State men’s hockey a lot of love in his preseason rankings.

Buccigross ranked Guy Gadowsky’s program at No. 4 in his first BucciMane #CawlidgeHawkey Top 16 rankings of the season.

Penn State is the highest of three Big Ten teams ranked in Buccigross’ preseason poll. Wisconsin, which is bringing in a stacked freshman class that includes 2019 first-round NHL Draft picks Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield, checks in at No. 9, and Ohio State is ranked No. 14 after getting bounced in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament by Denver.

The Nittany Lions truly have the potential to be one of college hockey’s best teams this season. Gadowsky will have the services of nearly his entire forward group back, and that includes the dynamic top line of Alex Limoges, Evan Barratt, and alternate captain Liam Folkes. Limoges finished the 2018-19 season in a tie for the most points in college hockey with 50 while Barratt and Folkes combined for 85 points of their own.

Additionally, senior captain Brandon Biro is back for his final season of collegiate eligibility, and he’ll serve as the leader of a strong senior class that includes Folkes, Denis Smirnov, Nikita Pavlychev, Nate Sucese, alternate captain Kris Myllari, and fourth-year starting goalie Peyton Jones. Rising sophomore forward Aarne Talvitie is expected to return from a knee injury that ended his 2018-19 season, and Gadowsky said he’ll make the shift over to center earlier this summer.

Penn State will lose a few seniors — including 2018-19 captains Chase Berger and Kevin Kerr — but some new additions could offset those losses. Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Kevin Wall headlines the Nittany Lions’ incoming recruiting class that also features smooth-skating defenseman Mason Snell. Cole Hults and Paul DeNaples — the team’s top defensive pairing — will also return this season.

Buccigross’ rankings may not have the voting panel of a poll like the one issued every week by the USCHO, but they are a pretty good indication of how each team stacks up. The SportsCenter anchor is a well-informed stan of college hockey and regularly advocates for the sport on social media.

Penn State will open its season with a home series against Sacred Heart on October 11 and 12.

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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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