Staff Predictions: Penn State Men’s Hockey’s 2021-22 Season
Hockey season is almost here, folks.
Penn State men’s hockey kicks off its season on Sunday with a home opener against Long Island University.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a disappointing season with a 10-12 record but have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season. As the team has a talented incoming class and returning most of its key players from last year, our staff predicts the Nittany Lions will rebound and have a solid season.
Gabriel Herman: 22-10-3
I like this Penn State team heading into this season more than I like what its record shows from last season. However, last season was a building block in this decade-old program, and there is a renewed energy heading into this season.
One of the main reasons for this winning record prediction is that the team is not alone. The best fans in college hockey will pack Pegula every game, which will rejuvenate the Penn State puck program.
The player to watch this season will be Connor McMenamin. He was coming off of his best season last year, and I think a more typical college hockey season with fans and his team backing him will only boost his performance on the ice.
Frankie Marzano: 18-13-4
The Big Ten won’t be an easy conference to play in, either. Michigan owns the No. 1 and No. 2 picks and four of the top five picks in the 2021 NHL Draft, and all four of them are returning to the team this season. With more talented teams such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, it won’t be an easy year for the Nittany Lions.
However, last year’s freshmen now have a year of experience under their belt, and Oskar Autio and Liam Souliere have the potential to serve as the perfect one-two punch at goalie for the Nittany Lions. Kevin Wall and Connor McMenamin are coming off career seasons and are expected to lead the scoring for Penn State.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky also seemed adamant about not forgetting about last season and learning from the team’s shortcomings. If Penn State can score like it’s known for and fix some of the defensive issues from last season, I expect the Nittany Lions to produce a solid season.
Nolan Wick: 22-13
Penn State has an interesting but difficult schedule for the 2021-22 season. Series against teams like Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Minnesota, and Michigan will be huge tests that might make or break the Nittany Lions this year. I think the Nittany Lions will fare decently against those teams as the program continues to be on the rise.
Sarah Sacker: 22-10-3
I think the Nittany Lions are going to have a pretty strong season. Coming off last year and all of their issues, they lost a lot of playing time due to COVID-19 that they shouldn’t lose this year. The offense did lose three key players, but I am excited to see how the upperclassmen step up and to see new transfer Ben Copeland play.
On the defensive side, the team still has most of its key players, and I am interested to see how freshman Simon Mack will play. I also would like to see a better penalty kill percentage this year. The men’s hockey team has its work cut out for it this season, but I think it will be a good season overall compared to last year.
Gabe Angieri: 19-13-3
I expect Penn State to bounce back after last year’s disappointing 10-12 pandemic-shortened season. However, playing in a tough Big Ten conference, the Nittany Lions will certainly have their work cut out for them. There will be ups and downs, but I think with another year of experience under his belt, Oskar Autio will be an anchor in the net for Guy Gadowsky’s squad and lead the team to a winning record.
Led by Paul DeNaples, Connor McMenamin, and Kevin Wall, the Nittany Lions will prove last season was a fluke and return to their winning ways in 2021-22.
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About the Author
Nittany Lions old and new have received new jersey numbers ahead of the 2022 season.