Saturday, January 19, 2013

Penn State-Vermont preview

The Wells Fargo Center will host Division I college hockey for the first time in the building's 16-year history on Saturday evening.

At stake, bragging rights between the "local" Penn State Nittany Lions who will join the new Big Ten conference next year and the Vermont Catamounts of Hockey East.

It's an 8 PM puck drop, pushed back from the original start time due to the start of the 2013 NHL season.

The matchup will be an appetizer for the main course of the 2014 Frozen Four, and the dessert for tomorrow's heaping entree of NHL hockey between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins which kicks off at 3:25 PM local time.

Here's a quick sneak preview of both sides.

Penn State Nittany Lions
Head Coach: Guy Gadowsky
Record: 8-12-0 (3-4-0 home, 4-8-0 away, 1-0-0 neutral site)
Streak: Lost four of last five games
Key Win(s): December 29 vs. Ohio State (5-4) in Pittsburgh
Key Loss(es): Back-to-back vs. Union (0-2, 1-4 on Nov. 24-25); vs. US National Under-18 team.
Leading Scorer: Casey Bailey, David Glen (18 pts. in 20 games)
Leading Goal Scorer: Bailey, Glen with 10 goals each.
Last game: 3-2 loss at home to Neumann College...Bailey and Glen each light the lamp, but despite a 46-17 shot advantage, Jon Low won it awith 53 seconds left in the extra session.

Vermont Catamounts
Head Coach: Kevin Sneddon
Record: 6-11-4 (3-8-4 in Hockey East)
Streak: Lost three in a row, all in conference
Key Win(s): Catamount Cup (as host) on December 29-30, beating Union (2-1) and Princeton (6-3)
Key Loss(es): at Minnesota on November 23-24 (1-5, 1-3); UMass-Lowell at home January 11-12 (2-4, 3-6)
Leading Scorer: Chris McCarthy (18 points in 21 games)
Leading Goal Scorer: McCarthy, Jacob Fallon with six goals each
Last game: 6-3 loss at Gutterson Field House one week ago...Lowell led 4-1 in the third period before strikes from Kyle Reynolds and Caylen Walls pulled Vermont to one, but the RiverHawks scored twice more before the end of the contest.

These schools have never before met on the rink on the men's side. Penn State's women claimed a 5-3 victory at Vermont on October 6 in the first game in that program's history.

On Vermont alone, McCarthy, Nick Luukko, Colin Markison, and Kyle Mountain were born within the confines of the Delaware Valley.

Penn State boasts five players with local connections: Rich O'Brien, Connor Varley, Peter Sweetland, Dominic Morrone, and Brian Dolan.

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