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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Looking For Another Upset Friday Night Against No. 5 Badgers

by on March 07, 2014 1:00 PM

Penn State hockey has made huge strides in the first year of Big Ten play and in many respects the first season of Division I play.

While victories have been few and far between, the Nittany Lions have given each opponent a run for their money with plenty of games not being decided until the final period of play.

In fact, Penn State has played played the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12 and 15 ranked teams in the nation. The Nittany Lions have fallen in six conference games by a single goal.

So as the Nittany Lions take the ice at the Pegula Ice Arena for the first game of a two game series against the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers on Friday, Penn State will look to avenge two road losses against the Badgers earlier in the season.

A much different team than it was in December, Penn State will try and prove to the Badgers that progress has been made over the past few months. A 7-1 defeat opened the last series but Penn State finished off its first-ever Big Ten series with a 4-3 loss, proving the gap wasn't so wide after all.

“The last time we played them, it didn't really go in our favor,” Defenseman Patrick Koudys says. “But I think we're a completely different team and I'm really excited to have them in here and show them what we have accomplished as a team.”

Coming off of a one goal loss to now No. 1 Minnesota, Penn State has plenty of positive momentum to work with. The Nittany Lions have won two games in conference play this season -- both against Michigan -- so Penn State will look to Friday and Saturday night as a chance to pick up Big Ten win No. 3 against a team not based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One number working in Penn State's favor; the Badgers average 3.8 goals per game, while only allowing 1.8 goals per game at home. On the road, the numbers stand at 2.0 and 3.7, respectively.

The Nittany Lions won't have a student body behind them though as spring break reaches a not so spring-like Happy Valley on Friday, even so Pegula Ice Arena is expected to be near sell-out capacity for both games of the weekend series.

Both Friday and Saturday's contests are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. with the action being aired live on Video.BTN.com.

Penn State will then close out the regular season next weekend with a rematch series against the Ohio State Buckeyes in State College.

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