Penn State is heading into its first Big Ten series of the season against Michigan after playing all but one of its nonconference games.
The Nittany Lions last remaining nonconference game will come on Dec. 15 against Princeton at the Wells Fargo Center.
But Penn State is quickly heading into conference play as the highest ranked team in the Big Ten at No. 5 with its impressive 8-1-0 record, but there is much more to this team than just its record. Here is a look into the figures and statistics as the team prepares for Michigan.
5.78 – Goals per game
The offensive side of the ice is always a strength for the Nittany Lions as coach Guy Gadowsky’s style of play places an emphasis on putting shots on net and scoring goals, but normally Penn State doesn’t score at this rate.
Penn State leads the nation with its 5.78 goals per game. Harvard, Princeton and St. Cloud State are all tied for second in goals per game this season with 4.20.
In addition to leading in goals per game, Penn State also leads in assists per game averaging 2.48 more per game than any other team with 10.56.
Then, in what is becoming a yearly event for Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions is that Penn State is once again leading the country in shots with 42.67 per game, which is 6.17 more than any other team in college hockey.
The Nittany Lions scored a program record 11 goals against Robert Morris last Saturday.
22 – Third period goals
Penn State is scoring at the highest rate of any team in the nation and one reason why the Nittany Lions have been able to do this is their ability to score in the final frame.
In its first nine game of the season, Penn State has scored 22 third period goals, which works out to 2.44 per game. This is the most in the nation.
Forty-two percent of Penn State’s goals all season have occurred in the final 20 minutes.
This is an area of huge improvement from last season as the Nittany Lions struggled to close out games at times during the season.
Penn State has trailed heading into the final period twice this season, both times against Arizona State and both times the Nittany Lions erased the deficit.
In the first game of the series, Penn State outscored the Sun Devils 3-1 in the third to steal the victory. In the second game of the series, the Nittany Lions rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime before ultimately losing in the extra period.
6 – Number of players with 10 or more points
Penn State has been unstoppable offensively in its first nine games heading into Big Ten play and a big reason for that is the depth of scoring the team has.
Six Nittany Lions have accounted for 10 or more points this season.
Nikita Pavlychev and Alex Limoges lead the team in points with 16 each, which is tied for second in the country, only behind Arizona State’s Johnny Walker, who has 17 points.
Limoges’ linemates Evan Barratt and Liam Folkes are third and fourth respectively on the team with 14 and 12 points.
The Limoges-Barratt-Folkes line has combined for 42 points in nine games proving that it is one of the best line pairings in the country.
The trio, who first played together at the end of last season, have combined for 16 goals this season. 12 teams this season, including Minnesota, have scored 16 or less goals.
Freshman Aarne Talvitie and junior Nate Sucese are the other two Nittany Lions with 10 or more points this season.
Overall, every Penn State player who has taken the ice this season, besides goalies Peyton Jones and Chris Funkey, has recorded at least one point.
61.9 percent -Faceoff percentage
It is not just offensive categories that Penn State is leading the nation in as the Nittany Lions are also the best team from the dot in the nation wining just shy of 62 percent of its draws.
Last season, Penn State was ranked 44th in the country only winning .482 percent of its attempts from the dot.
The biggest reason for the change is the Ludvig Larsson effect.
Larsson, a graduate transfer from Merrimack, ranked 14th in the country last season from the dot and has continued to do the same for Penn State this season.
The Swede ranks third in the nation winning 70.3 percent of his draws. Larsson has been victorious from the dot 116 times so far this season.
182 – Number of blocked shots
One area of suspected weakness for this Penn State was on the blue line, but the Nittany Lions defense has been strong when needed playing good team hockey.
The result is that the Nittany Lions are leading the nation in blocked shots with 182 and in blocked shots per game with 20.22.
Penn State is averaging 3.22 blocks per game more than the second-best team in terms of blocked shots in Alabama Huntsville.
Kris Myllari leads the nation in blocked shots and blocked shots per game and has really embraced the role of putting his body on the line for the team.
Myllari has blocked 39 shots this season which works out to 4.33 per game. This is 11 more than the second ranked player.