Penn State Hockey Ranked No. 1 In Big Ten Preseason Poll
For the first time in program history, Penn State men’s hockey earned the No. 1 ranking in the Big Ten’s preseason rankings.
The Nittany Lions topped the conference’s rankings, which were decided by the coaches of each program. Notre Dame — the defending conference champion that beat Penn State in last season’s Big Ten title game — checked in at No. 2, Wisconsin and its exciting freshman class were ranked third, and Ohio State, the Big Ten’s regular season champions in 2018-19, came in at No. 4.
Penn State has always been known for its high-flying offense, and most of its stars from last year are back. Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt — who earned preseason first team All-Big Ten honors — are back for their third season in Hockey Valley, and they’ll once again be flanked by alternate captain Liam Folkes on the right wing. Limoges became the first Penn State hockey player to lead the nation in scoring and post 50 points in a single season last year, and Barratt followed that up by scoring 43 points in just 31 appearances.
Guy Gadowsky’s program will also return star blueliner Cole Hults, who earned second team All-Big Ten honors. Sophomore Paul DeNaples, Hults’ partner for most of last season, wasn’t honored by the conference after finishing as a finalist for the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year award last year. Senior defenseman and alternate captain Kris Myllari was named as an honorable mention.
Last year, Penn State entered the season ranked No. 5 in the Big Ten’s preseason poll, and the team checked in at No. 4 two seasons ago. Expectations are clearly sky-high in Hockey Valley, and the Nittany Lions definitely have the talent to meet and exceed those.
In addition to the Big Ten’s preseason poll, Penn State checked in at No. 13 in the USCHO’s first top 16 rankings of the year. Guy Gadowsky’s team will be back at Pegula Ice Arena for an exhibition game against Ottawa on October 6 before opening the regular season against Sacred Heart on October 11 and 12 in Hockey Valley.
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With barely six weeks until the first ball is kicked for the 2020 campaign, let’s see how the Nittany Lions might line up.
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