Wisconsin’s Roman Ahcan Suspended One Game For Dirty Hit On Penn State Hockey’s Denis Smirnov

Update 5 p.m.: Denis Smirnov will not play against No. 7 Wisconsin after the hit he took from Roman Ahcan on Thursday night.

The Nittany Lions will, however, get Liam Folkes back in the lineup after he missed Thursday’s 6-1 victory due to an undisclosed injury. He’s back in his usual right wing role alongside Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt on Penn State’s big line — the spot Adam Pilewicz took in his absence. Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Kevin Wall will take Smirnov’s spot on a line with Brandon Biro and Nate Sucese.

Here’s how the Nittany Lions’ will line up in Smirnov’s absence:

Brandon Biro-Nate Sucese-Kevin Wall
Alex Limoges-Evan Barratt-Liam Folkes
Aarne Talvitie-Nikita Pavlychev-Sam Sternschein
Tyler Gratton-Connor MacEachern-Connor McMenamin
Extra: Adam Pilewicz

Defense & Goaltending:
Cole Hults-Paul DeNaples
Mason Snell-Kris Myllari
Clayton Phillips-James Gobetz
Peyton Jones

Original Story: Wisconsin forward Roman Ahcan will not play against Penn State hockey tonight after he was suspended for one game by the Big Ten, according to USCHO.

Ahcan received a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct after leveling senior wing Denis Smirnov in the third period of Thursday night’s game, which ended in a 6-1 win for the Nittany Lions.

Smirnov, who’s scored two goals and four assists in six games for Penn State this year, didn’t return to the game after taking the hit with 5:43 to play in the third period. He stayed down on the ice and was tended to by a trainer for a while before skating off the ice under his own power and heading straight into the locker room.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky didn’t have any update on Smirnov’s status at his postgame press conference, so his availability for Friday night’s series finale between the sides is unclear.

Ahcan finished the game with 23 penalty minutes, and his dirty hit on Smirnov wasn’t the first shot he took to the head of a Nittany Lion on Thursday night. The sophomore was called for contact to the head on Penn State freshman Tyler Gratton with 8:02 left in the third period, and he hit Smirnov up high 19 seconds after exiting the penalty box. He’s scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) in seven games this year.

Thursday’s Big Ten opener for Penn State and Wisconsin was very chippy and physical throughout the evening, and the two teams will close their series at 6 p.m. Friday.

Tonight also marks the Nittany Lions’ annual Teddy Bear Toss game in which fans are encouraged to bring gently-used stuffed animals to throw on the ice during one of the game’s intermissions. All toys thrown on the ice will be donated to Four Diamonds children.

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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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