Hockey Preview: Penn State vs. Minnesota

Audio/Story posted February 4, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Sports Staff

PODCAST:

ComRadio's own Carson Brown, Bria Donnelly and Ryan Berti preview this weekend's series between Penn State and Minnesota.

After an interesting series with the Michigan Wolverines that featured a home game at Pegula and a game at Madison Square Garden, the Penn State Nittany Lions travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers in Big Ten play.

This is a pivotal Big Ten series for both teams as Minnesota is tied with Michigan atop the conference standings with 24 points, while Penn State looks to keep pace with those teams with 18 points. This series will be a little harder with forward Andrew Sturtz being suspended for the series opener on Friday.

Sturtz was given the suspension by the Big Ten after his vicious hit on Michigan forward Tyler Motte in Penn State’s loss to the Wolverines at Madison Square Garden. Motte was unprotected when Sturtz left his feet and elbowed Motte in the face.

The loss of Sturtz is huge as he leads the Nittany Lions with 13 goals this season. He is also an adept passer with five assists on the season.

Penn State is a team capable of scoring goals in bunches, but the loss of a pivotal scorer limits Penn State’s ability to score quick goals. The Nittany Lions will need players like David Glen and Alec Marsh to score goals and be productive offensively in the series opener.

The series opener is crucial for both teams as Minnesota and Penn State are on two game losing streaks and each team wants to end the streak. Coming into the game, Minnesota has won their last five games against Big Ten competition with their last loss coming to Penn State on the road in overtime.

The Golden Gophers are led by forward Hudson Fasching, the team leader in goals with 15. He did not play well in the North Star College Cup, so look for him to be involved earlier in the series.

Justin Kloos and Michael Brodzinki both played well in the loss to Minnesota State as both players had two points. Kloos is one of four Golden Gophers that have at least 20 points on the season, so look for Minnesota to involve Kloos in many offensive attacks.

David Goodwin is the key to the Penn State attack as he leads the team in points with 22. He is not the best scorer on the team, but he is adept at setting teammates up for goals and he will do that frequently against Minnesota.

The loss of Sturtz in the opener will open up numerous opportunities for Chase Berger as he is the only Nittany Lion outside of Sturtz to score 10 goals this season. Berger is at his best when he is attacking the defense in the zone, so look for Goodwin to feed Berger the puck frequently in the series.

Eric Scheid and Curtis Loik are tied for second on the team with 19 points and both players should play well against Minnesota. Loik and Scheid like attacking the net and both players will be more aggressive with the loss of Sturtz in the opener.

Penn State and Minnesota enter this series with a desire of leaving the series victorious. The loss of Sturtz in the opener will make it hard for the Nittany Lions, but they should win one of the two games this weekend.

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu.