Staff Predictions: Penn State Men’s Hockey’s 2022-23 Season

Penn State men’s hockey begins its 2022-23 season on Friday, October 7, with a home series against Canisius. The Nittany Lions are trying to bounce back after a 17-20-1 record and a second-round elimination against eventual Big Ten champion Minnesota last season.

Although Penn State was ranked sixth in the Big Ten preseason poll, our staffers believe the Nittany Lions could surprise some people this season.

Devon Craley: 21-13

After a deeper run in the Big Ten Tournament than most expected last season, the expectations are higher for Penn State this season. With a lot of familiar faces returning to the lineup from a year ago, I predict that the Nittany Lions will finish above .500 for the first time since 2019. The key this season will be the play of goaltender Liam Souliere. If the junior can pick up where he left off a season ago, I think this could be a special season in Happy Valley. Despite the Big Ten hockey preseason poll placing the Nittany Lions as the sixth-best team in the conference, I think Penn State will finish much higher than that.

Will the Nittany Lions win the Big Ten? Probably not. Will they make another deep tournament run? I wouldn’t be shocked. I remain confident enough that head coach Guy Gadowksy and Souliere will lead the way toward a productive season in Happy Valley. Penn State will finish above .500 — book it.

Frankie Marzano: 22-11-1

I still don’t understand how the Nittany Lions were ranked near the bottom in the Big Ten preseason poll. This team is going to be good. Last season, we saw the team show flashes of greatness in a few stretches, as it was literally one goal away from making it to the Big Ten Tournament finals.

Now, pretty much all of that talent from last year is returning with another year of experience. Captain Paul DeNaples, heading into his fifth year, will bring tremendous value to Penn State’s locker room and blue line. The Nittany Lions also have Kevin Wall, Connor MacEachern, and Connor McMenamin all entering their senior years. The trio had a great 2021-22 season, and all three of them will only get better.

I now expect sophomore forward Ryan Kirwan and junior defenseman Jimmy Dowd Jr. to have breakout years, too, after having finally having a normal season last year. And, who could forget about goaltender Liam Souliere? The junior is a stud in the crease and should’ve gotten the nod last year way before he actually did. For all these reasons, I am very bullish on the Nittany Lions, and I think they’re going to absolutely tear up the Big Ten this season.

Nolan Wick: 21-11-2

Penn State is going to be significantly better this season. Most of the talent from last season is still on the roster, and many of those players should be much better this season. Additionally, Penn State has a promising freshman class and did a solid job in the transfer portal, too. Penn State has plenty of depth and a promising core of players emerging that will make it very competitive.

Playing in the Big Ten is not easy, but Penn State can do it. We saw how it played toward the end of last season. As Frankie mentioned, the Nittany Lions came agonizingly close to knocking off eventual conference champion Minnesota, so I expect them to play better hockey from the start.

Mikey DeAngelis: 21-13

This team will be more competitive than people think. That being said, the Big Ten is a tough conference to play hockey in, especially on the road. I think this team will have a successful season, but I don’t think they’ll win the Big Ten championship by any means.

CJ Gill: 22-12

Penn State will start the year off fast and do well during the non-conference slate. Big Ten play will be the real test for this hungry team after a somewhat disappointing previous season. A mix of young, talented players and seasoned veterans will carry this team to a solid season.

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