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For Penn State Hockey, Goal Is Simple in Final Two Weeks: Just Win

by on February 14, 2020 2:40 PM

The only downside to a lot of hockey is a lot of rehash. So if you've heard it before, be prepared to hear it again.

Penn State finds itself in the thick of the Big Ten title race, leading said race by two points, which works out to be a point shy of a victory. So the wiggle-room is not much, but it's there.

So as the Nittany Lions take the ice on Friday and Saturday night, the task if pretty simple: gets points, get goals and get wins.

The byproduct of this is a bit two-fold. The Nittany Lions are in the hunt for a decent postseason seeding in the NCAA Tournament, but the PairWise ranking is a fickle algorithm, and defeat does not reflect well on the late-season resume. At No. 8 in the PairWise, Penn State is dead center of the 16-team field, looking to move up far more than a stumble across the finish line.

There's also the aforementioned Big Ten title race to contend with. Penn State has just four games left in the regular season, a total of 12 points on the line. The Nittany Lions have a fighting chance to pick up their first regular season crown in program history if they can finish the year with three or four victories despite being idle during the final week of the regular season with other conference opponents on the ice.

It's a tall order for a team that has been up and down for most all of the 2020 calendar year, but not such a tall order for a team that seemingly plays its best when it absolutely has to.

Oh and there's conference tournament seeding on the line. If the Nittany Lions can hold on to a Top 2 seed, they avoid the best-of-three first round and begin play immediately, hosting a Big Ten semifinals meeting and could find themselves hosting the Big Ten Tournament title game.

But first, Wisconsin, the Badgers out of the running for everything except a national scoring title, soon-to-be NHLer Cole Caulfield with 18 goals this season, just three shy of the No. 1 spot in the country.

The good news buried in the middle of all these numbers and rankings, Penn State beat Wisconsin the first time these teams met and did so with relative ease to the tune of 6-1 and 4-2 victories.

Of course a lot has changed since October.

And a lot can change in a weekend.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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