June 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM
When the official Penn State men's hockey twitter retweeted a story from Penn Live about Bill O'Brien's thoughts on the potential for an outdoor hockey game at Beaver Stadium, it got hockey fans — not just in Happy Valley — abuzz.
It then led to WJAC-TV confirming that Penn State was "seriously considering" the thought.
The idea of the outdoor hockey game appears to have turned into a matter not of if, but when. And the matter of when seems to work better in the 2015-2016, instead of the 2014-2015.
Ruling out the 2013-2014 season as a possibility namely because all of the games have been announced, it would make more sense for an outdoor game to be played in front of 110,000 fans in 2015-2016 due to the Penguins and the upcoming hockey programs.
While it's almost a no-brainer that the game would be played between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers — intrastate rivals since the 60s — the fact that the Penguins are playing in an outdoor game in the 2014 season would be a major reason to wait another year.
While it would be the Flyers third outdoor game (playing in Boston at Fenway Park in 2010 and hosting at Citizens Bank Park in 2012), it would be the Penguins fourth outdoor hockey game. Pittsburgh will take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Stadium Series at Solider Field next season.
It just doesn't seem fair to have a team in an outdoor game for back-to-back years before teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild even get a shot.
The Wild and Avalanche are two teams rumored to be possibilities for the 2015 Winter Classic. These two teams deserve an outdoor game ahead of teams that would repeat because the NHL's Western Conference has only had one Winter Classic game. Both Minnesota and Colorado are huge hockey markets, and those teams deserve a game.
While the Penguins do have one of the game's biggest stars, the game would become stale if Pittsburgh played in outdoor games in back-to-back years, 2014 and 2015. No Beaver Stadium outdoor game in 2014-2015 would also allow two years to go by before Philadelphia was in another Winter Classic.
Along with the time differential between the two teams appearing in an outdoor game, it would be the perfect amount of time to let the Penn State hockey team grow.
Penn State's men's team, and possibly women's team, would both get to play on the ice at Beaver Stadium, while it wouldn't be as popular around the country. Having the game in 2016 would allow time for the program, which is already doing well with several NHL draft picks, to build up and take on better opponents like Notre Dame, Yale or Boston College. Penn State will want the best competition in the game for a larger draw.
Also, the novelty of the new Pegula Ice Arena may start to be wearing off by then. An outdoor game in 2016 would be the perfect time to re-spark the intrigue in the team.
Even though hockey fans will always love their teams, some of the non-hockey, but Penn State, fans may not care as much. Having the game in 2016 would bring back the interest in 2016, right around the time the team would truly start to be making an name for itself among the NCAA.
In addition, 2016 is a much better date for the logistics. Joe Battista, who has been one of the cornerstones in the hockey program for years, told WJAC that parking would be the major concern. Two years would give the school plenty of time to prepare.
An outdoor game at Beaver Stadium is going to happen. Local hockey fans have always known it. It's just a matter of time, and that time should be January 1, 2016.
June 7, 2013 at 5:43 PM
After 17 seasons at the helm of Penn State's softball program, head coach Robin Petrini announced her resignation on Friday, according to an Athletic Department press release.
Penn State immediately began a nationwide search to replace Petrini's fiery personality within the Nittany Lion dugout.
Supported by 11 winning seasons and eight Big Ten tournament appearances, Petrini's 489-437-2 record makes her the winningest coach in program history.
Her tenure also saw the making of two National Professional Fastpitch players, four All-Americans, and Penn State's first invitee to a USA national team tryout, Cassidy Bell.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to have coached at Penn State. I would like to thank all of the wonderful student-athletes I have coached over the years, as well as [associate head coach] Jen McIntyre and assistants who have contributed so much to the success of the Penn State Softball Program," Petrini said according to the press release.
June 3, 2013 at 6:14 PM
The Big Ten isn't sitting idle during the offseason.
On Monday, the New York Yankees, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and the Big Ten announced an eight-year partnership. It’s the conference’s first bowl commitment on the east coast.
The Big Ten will have significant advertising and branding presence throughout Yankee Stadium during the regular season, starting in 2014.
The conference has made it clear through its recent actions that it wants to expand its brand from its traditional Midwest roots. It recently added Rutgers and Maryland, hoping to tap into the New York and Washington television markets.
“Once we saw the success of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, it became obvious - especially with the Big Ten’s growing East Coast footprint - that being in the media capital of the world at one of sports’ most renowned venues was a natural pairing,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a press release.
The bowl has been held at Yankee Stadium for the last three seasons, and partnered the Big 12 and Big East. Last season, Syracuse topped West Virginia, 38-14.
Penn State hasn’t played a game in New York City since 1947 when they stomped Fordham, 75-0, at the Polo Grounds.
June 3, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Hockey won't be the only sport added to the Big Ten in the coming years.
It was announced Monday that the Big Ten will be forming its own men's and women's lacrosse conferences. The announcement comes on the heels of Johns Hopkins' own announcement, which said the Blue Jays will join the Big Ten in men's lacrosse.
The Blue Jays made the announcement official, as its men's team will no longer be an independent, but its women's team will remain an independent.
"We look forward to continuing to build partnerships with the other Big Ten schools sponsoring lacrosse," Penn State Director of Athletics Dave Joyner said in a statement. "It's a great pleasure to welcome Johns Hopkins as an affiliate member; an institution with tremendous academics and lacrosse achievement."
The men's conference will be made up of Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Maryland, Rutgers and Hopkins.
Maryland and Rutgers will join in all sports in the Big Ten on July 1, 2014.
The six teams will give the conference an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
On the women's side, Penn State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan, Rutgers and Maryland will all begin play in the six-team women's Big Ten in 2015, as well.
"We're grateful to the ALC for providing our program the opportunity to compete against the best teams in the nation and we're looking forward to embracing our new role as a Big Ten program," Penn State Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Missy Doherty said in a statement.
Penn State's men's team finished 2013 season with one of its best records in recent history, going 12-5 and 6-0 in the CAA conference. Penn State also advanced to the NCAA tournament when it lost to Yale in the first round.
The Penn State women's team also advanced to the NCAA tournament but was bounced out by Northwestern in the NCAA quarterfinals.
The women's team is currently in the ALC, which will also lose the Buckeyes and Wildcats in order to form the Big Ten.
Penn State's men's team will be the only one leaving the CAA. Ohio State and Michigan will be leaving the ECAC.
May 30, 2013 at 3:18 PM
Penn State finished the 2012-2013 academic year with a record 296 Academic All-Big Ten members, according to a release from the university Thursday.
The 296 total was 56 more than last year's total of 240, and this year smashed the previous record of 261 set in the 2007-2008 year. In its 20th full year in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions have had 4,477 honorees total.
Three athletes finished the year with 4.0 GPA's including men's hockey sophomore captain Tommy Olczyk, women's lacrosse sophomore Tatum Coffey and women's track sophomore Katie Rodden.
In the spring, women's track had 21 honorees, the most, and men's lacrosse had the most from a men's team with 14.
On the men's side, the baseball and track and field teams both had 12, hockey had eight and fencing had seven. Men's golf and tennis both had seven, and men's volleyball had four.
On the women's side, the lacrosse team had 10 honorees in the spring, softball had nine and women's golf had eight. Also, hockey finished with six, tennis with five and fencing with four honorees.
Click here to see a full list of athletes who were named Academic All-Big Ten in the spring: http://www.gopsusports.com/genrel/052913aac.html
May 28, 2013 at 4:13 PM
Penn State women's ice hockey released its schedule for the 2013-14 season, its first in the new Pegula Ice Arena on Tuesday.
The Nittany Lions, who played their inaugural season as a Division I program in 2012-13 at Greenberg Ice Pavilion, are set to play their first two games at the new arena Oct. 18 and 19 against Union.
Penn State finished its first season as a varsity team 7-26-2, posting a 1-17-2 College Hockey America record.
The Lions will begin their second season as a program with a two-game away series at Vermont, on Oct. 4 and 5. Last season, the Lions also kicked off their season on the road against the Catamounts, winning their first-ever game, 5-3.
There are several new non-conference opponents on the Nittany Lions' calendar in 2013-14, perhaps most notably a two-game set against Ohio State. The series will be played in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 3 and 4.
Other non-conference additions include Quinnipiac, New Hampshire, Maine and Colgate.
The Lions kick off their CHA schedule when they host Robert Morris on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. CHA contests, which also include games with Lindenwood, Mercyhurst, Syracuse and RIT, will again span 20 regular season games for the Lions.
After the regular season wraps up, the Lions will play in the College Hockey America Tournament, which begins Feb. 28.
May 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM
While the date and opponent of the first women's hockey game of the 2013-2014 campaign is yet to be determined, the roster with which the team will play with in its inaugural season inside Pegula Ice Arena was announced on Sunday.
Fifteen of the unprecedented 17 freshmen who made Penn State's first ever Division I roster last season will return for a sophomore season. Defender Taylor McGee and forward Katie Zinn transferred.
The roster also reflects last November's four recruit signings with Williamsville, N.Y., defender Kelly Seward and three products of the infamous Minnesota high school hockey gauntlet: forwards Sarah Neilsen, Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman.
Petersen and Bowman are former linemates who propelled Minnetonka High School to three consecutive Minnesota state championships.
Naturally, with an NCAA season under their belt, the Nittany Lions will enter the program's second season a more experienced squad, especially on the blueline, where veteran defender Lindsay Reihl will return as a graduate student.
Except the incoming freshman, Seward, all eight Penn State defenders will have at least a year of collegiate experience.
The first season under the Pegula Ice Arena roof will also be the last for senior netminder Nicole Paniccia, whose strong play in between the pipes helped backstop a youthful and occasionally sloppy team in 2012-2013. Paniccia will likely be the team's go-to goaltender with sophomores Celine Whitlinger and Brooke Meyer battling for backup minutes.
May 16, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Michigan State was too much both at the plate and on the mound for Penn State on Thursday, taking the first game of the teams' three-game series, 16-1.
Four Spartans led the way with multi-hit games as the team hit safely 13 times.
Right fielder Jimmy Pickens picked up four RBI on a 2-for-4 hitting performance, while lead-off man Cam Gibson and cleanup hitter Blaise Salter each tallied three RBI.
The blowout started early, when the Spartans (32-16, 11-8 Big Ten) put two runs on the board in the first inning with a home run by Pickens. They added six more runs in the second, which was the last inning for Nittany Lions (13-35, 3-19 Big Ten) starting pitcher Nick Hedge.
Hedge's replacement, Geoff Boylston, did not fare much better. In three innings, he gave up five runs - three earned - and walked five Spartans.
Ian Parvin provided two solid innings of relief, allowing no hits in that span with only one walk.
Then, Zach Ell, who started the game in right field, tossed the final two innings of the game. Ell allowed three runs on two hits and three walks.
The Nittany Lions did not manage as well off of the Spartans' pitching, notching seven hits.
Third baseman Elliot Searer went 3-for-4, scoring the team's lone run. Ell, who was 2-for-4 at the plate, drove him in on a fourth-inning single.
Strong pitching from starter Andrew Waszak and the Spartans' bullpen kept the Lions at bay. In seven innings of work, he gave up six hits and two walks, striking out four.
The Spartans' relief pitchers, Anthony Misiewicz and Mike Mestdagh, combined for two innings of work, allowing just one hit and one walk.
May 14, 2013 at 8:44 PM
Penn State has struggled to find Big Ten wins this season, but nonconference games have been a bit kinder recently and the trend continued Tuesday.
The Nittany Lions (13-34, 3-18 Big Ten) allowed three runs in the first inning, but they chipped away and ultimately took down Villanova (11-40) at Medlar Field, 7-4, in their final nonconference game of the season.
The Wildcats jumped all over starting pitcher Patton Taylor (1-3) in the first frame with three runs and three hits. The Lions played sloppy defense as both Taylor and third baseman Tyler Kendall had throwing errors.
Despite the early miscues, Penn State locked down its defense with no errors for the rest of the game and held the Wildcats off the scoreboard until the final inning.
The Lions wasted no time and began to claw back in their first at-bat. Left fielder James Coates and second baseman Luis Montesinos put back-to-back doubles together for the Lions first and only run in the inning.
Penn State continued the comeback in fourth inning when Coates crossed the plate for the second time in the game, but this time off of designated hitter J.C. Coban's single.
Facing a 3-2 deficit, the Lions took the lead in the fifth as Kendall and catcher Alex Farkes scored off of shortstop Elliot Searer's double to left field.
The Lions held on to the lead for the rest of the game with another run in the seventh and two more in the eighth inning.
The Wildcats added one run in the ninth, but it was not enough.
Despite Taylor's early struggles in the first inning, the sophomore starter recovered and went six strong innings, allowing just five hits and no runs outside from the first frame.
Blake Estep picked up his first save of the year by pitching three innings and allowing just two hits to close the victory for the Lions.
Penn State has one three-game series left before the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. The Lions will take on Michigan State (31-16, 10-8 Big Ten) at home with the first game of the series slated Thursday at 6:05 p.m.
May 13, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Penn State took a lead on Illinois on Sunday for the first time in the teams' three-game series, but the margin proved too little to secure a win.
The Nittany Lions (12-34, 3-18 Big Ten) saw their shutout through five innings quickly unravel, and they were ultimately swept in their final away series of the regular season by the Fighting Illini (31-15, 12-9 Big Ten) with a 5-4 loss.
The defeat came after the Illini tied the contest with a three-run seventh inning and added their final run in the eighth. David Kerian, who scored the game-winning run, was brought home from third base on a single by Reid Roper.
Ian Parvin (2-2), the Lions' lone pitcher in the decisive eighth inning, took the loss.
Before the Illini battled back against the Lions' bullpen, starting pitcher Nick Hedge dominated on the mound. He tossed a one-hitter through five scoreless innings, striking out and walking two batters.
Hedge was backed up by four runs from his offense. The Lions tallied two runs in both the second and third innings.
Leading the way for the Lions' hitting was catcher Alex Farkes, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Third baseman Tyler Kendall also had a two-RBI game, finishing 1-for-4.
Despite the fast start, the Lions cooled off at the plate after the third inning. In the final six frames, they hit safely just three times.
The Lions will try to end a four-game losing streak with a matchup at home against Villanova on Tuesday followed by a three-game series against Michigan State to close out their regular season slate.