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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Set To Face Denver In First Round Of NCAA Tournament

by on March 18, 2018 12:30 PM

Penn State hockey's second straight NCAA Tournament appearance will include a familiar foe as the Nittany Lions are set to face Denver --the defending national champs-- in the first round of the tournament in Allentown. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM airing on an ESPN network.

Officially, Penn State enters the regional bracket as No. 3 seed with Big Ten Tournament runner-up Ohio State as the 1-seed facing Princeton. Penn State went 2-1-1 against the Buckeyes this season scoring four or more goals in three of the four games. The Nittany Lions are one of four teams in the postseason, Notre Dame and Michigan are in separate regionals around the bracket. 

Penn State learned its fate during the ESPNU broadcast while having a team brunch at Pegula Ice Arena. The Nittany Lions faced Denver in the second round of last year's tournament falling 6-3 in a game that was a bit closer than the final score.

Denver will be a slightly different looking team this time around, star defensman Will Butcher is now with the New Jersey Devils but the Pioneers still boast a deadly combo of  US Olympian forward Troy Terry, goaltender Tanner Jaillet and forward Henrik Borgström who is fifth in the nation in scoring with 50 points.

Denver finished second in the NCHC behind No.1 overall seed St Cloud State. The Pioneers won the NCHC Tournament over St Cloud State 4-1 on Saturday night.

A win against the Pioneers would either set up a meeting with Big Ten foe Ohio State or Princeton, the former team of now Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky. Princeton enters the tournament after ECAC Tournament title run that included an upset victory over No. 2 Cornell.

First round games begin on Friday around the bracket with the Allentown regional starting at 3:30 on Saturday. 

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