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Penn State Hockey: If Nittany Lions Make Postseason, How Much Does Allentown Regional Help?

by on March 16, 2018 2:00 PM

Short of a crazy and unexpected final weekend of conference tournament results Penn State hockey will be playing in its second straight NCAA Tournament.

And while last year's appearance required a somewhat unforgiving drive across Ohio to Cincinnati, this particular postseason trip will be a much shorter journey to Allentown. As regional hosts for this season and next, as long as Penn State makes the tournament it will be playing in the Allentown regional.

On paper that sounds like a nice advantage. Allentown is as pro-Penn State as any city in the state and not a far drive from a Penn State friendly and hockey crazed Philadelphia.

So it stands to reason that the crowds themselves will be almost entirely made up of Penn State fans. A home away fro home in the postseason.

The question of course, has that been an actual advantage in the past? Have teams playing at a local regional site done better and generally made it out of their regional and on to the Frozen Four?

The answer is yes and no.

Since the 2006 NCAA Tournament, 14 teams have made the tournament while hosting a regional and nine of those teams have gone on to win their first round game. In 2016 and 2010, none of the four regional hosts made the tournament.

After that it gets a little tricky. Only four of the 14 teams have made the Frozen Four after that first round win, and only one team --Minnesota in 2014-- has gone on to the national title game beyond that.

As far as current streaks, regional hosts are 0-2 since 2016 with North Dakota and Providence both losing in the first round of the 2017 tournament. Before that though, it was a span of six years of a host team winning at least one game in the tournament, half of those teams ended up in the Frozen Four.

So does it help? It certainly doesn't hurt. But if history is any indication it'll take more than a good crowd to make it through two rounds of tough hockey.

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