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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Home Sell Out Streak Could Reach 57 This Weekend

by on March 01, 2017 2:15 PM

Penn State hockey will close out its fourth season at Pegula Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday in front of what is expected to be the program's 56th and 57th consecutive sellout.

It's a streak that would continue to lead all of college hockey, although a far cry from the mark Michigan set of 323 games, snapped in 2014.

Perhaps even more impressive though, the expected attendance for this weekend's series against Wisconsin will mean 72 of the 74 regular season games in the arena will have sold out.

In turn Penn State will finish the season with an average of 104% capacity for the fourth straight year, another number which leads the nation. (For comparison, that would equate to an average Beaver Stadium attendance of just over 110,000 something that has happened just six times in the stadium's history.)

It's worth noting, that both marks come at a building that is smaller than only 20 others in a 60 team field with a recently adjusted capacity of 5,704 albeit with the likes of Ohio State and Wisconsin playing in arenas primarily built for basketball. However the vast majority of college hockey plays in smaller arenas, for example, Quinnipiac, the only other program to average over 100% capacity plays in an area that seats just 3,086.

So there is little doubt -- and little surprise -- that Penn State has established itself as a hot ticket. Prices on the secondary market hover above face value and often times reflect football prices for some of the better seats. That's assuming you can find the tickets in the first place though, fewer than 50 tickets usually sell for any given game, a number that hasn't grown as Penn State's postseason chances have.

"We hear from community members all the time," Coach Guy Gadowsky said earlier this week. "Myself personally and other coaches, we hear a lot about the program, which is really nice. It's nice to know that the community cares about the team and I think they know we're contenders to do something special which is a first. We get that sense." 

The biggest crowds? Aside from the two games that failed to officially sell out, (December 1, 2013 against No.15 Union and March 14, 2014 against Ohio State) it's fairly common to see Pegula officially listed above capacity. In fact heading into this weekend Penn State will have played in front of seven straight crowds of over 6,000 or 105% capacity.

2013 Army: 6370

2015 Sacred Heart: 6217

2013 Boston College: 6214

2013 RIT: 6211

2014 Northern Michigan: 6203

Interestingly enough Penn State has yet to break into the Top 5 Pegula Ice Arena crowds against a Big Ten team, something that could very well change this weekend as the Nittany Lions close in on an NCAA Tournament bid.

Breaking Michigan's streak will take some doing for Penn State fans though, 323 games is just over 16 years of 20 game home schedules. But with 56 and 57 almost certainly in the books, never say never.



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