Wednesday, July 16, 2014

College Hockey returns to Philadelphia in January

Photo courtesy of the Collegian
For the fourth time in the last two calendar years, and for the third season in a row, Division I men's college hockey will find a home at Wells Fargo Center.

On Saturday, January 31, the third annual Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff pits the Penn State Nittany Lions of the Big Ten against Hockey East's Vermont Catamounts.

That's according to the Nits' 2014-15 schedule, released in full last week. 

In 2013, on the same day the NHL returned with a Penguins-Flyers tilt, PSU claimed a 4-2 victory over their northern foes. Last season, in a late October matchup, Vermont got even by emerging with a 5-2 decision.

The event will be the first for the NCAA here since the semifinals and final of the Frozen Four were contested in the building on April 10-12, with Union College taking out Minnesota by a 7-4 count for its first-ever D-I championship in any sport.

Despite high hopes, the inaugural national hockey tourney held in Philadelphia was not a sellout, drawing just 18,742 for the title game and 36,503 for three games combined over two days of competition.

The first two meetings between relatively local programs drew roughly half a house.

Penn State completed its inaugural season in the Big Ten with an 8-26-2 record overall, finishing last in the conference. However, the Nittany Lions knocked off Michigan in a one-game playoff to end the Wolverines' hopes at gaining a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Vermont ended up 20-15-3 overall, but tied for seventh with Notre Dame in Hockey East. The Catamounts beat UMass in a one-game playoff before falling to eventual conference champion UMass-Lowell in a three-game quarterfinal.

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