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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions To Host 2020 NCAA Regional In Allentown

by on April 19, 2019 1:00 PM

Penn State hockey will host an NCAA Tournament regional for the third straight postseason, once again in Allentown at the PPL Center.

The NCAA announced regional sites for the 2020 and 2021 postseason on Friday morning.

Penn State hosted both the 2018 and 2019 Midwest regionals at the PPL Center, the NCAA requiring regionals to be played at off-campus neutral sites.

If the Nittany Lions were to make the NCAA Tournament following the 2019-20 regular season, it would automatically play in Allentown as a host program. The Nittany Lions made the trip in 2018 but fell in the first round 5-1 to Denver in front of a crowd of 7,491 fans. Penn State's previous NCAA Tournament appearance, the program's first, was played in Cincinnati in 2017. The Nittany Lions beat Union in the first round before falling to Denver in the regional final.

As previously reported, Penn State bid to host a regional site in Allentown for three additional years, but the NCAA will move the midwest regional site to Fargo, North Dakota in 2021. The NCAA only announces regional sites in two-year chunks, so Penn State's pitch to take the tournament back to Allentown in 2022 is theoretically still on the table following Friday's announcement.

For the Nittany Lions it will provide the program with one last friendly path the Frozen Four. While April is far too early to project how the 2019 edition of Penn State hockey will look, all eligible-to-return players are slated to do so. That could change, but with the NHL Playoffs well underway and the main thrust of NCAA signings already on the books, it seems likely the stay that way.

In turn that would mean Penn State its scheduled to see the bulk of its offensive firepower on the ice in 2019 with Evan Barratt, Brandon Biro, Liam Folkes, Denis Smirnov, Nate Sucese, Nikita Pavlychev and the nation's leading scorer Alex Limoges -among others- expected to return. Coach Guy Gadowsky will also welcome at least four new skaters to the fold in the coming months as well.

Penn State is still reportedly deciding whether or not goaltender Liam Souliere will come to campus or spend another year in the CCHL.

The Nittany Lions' roster will solidify sooner rather than later, but in the meanwhile, a path to the Frozen Four in Detroit is quite clear.

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