Who wouldn’t be excited to play a hockey game in front of a crowd of more than 15,000 fans?
Penn State will play on NHL ice for the third time this season on Saturday. The Nittany Lions will take on Vermont at 8 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Lions played two games at the Consol Energy Center as part of the inaugural Three Rivers Classic. They hope to use the experience to their advantage.
One aspect that the Lions are looking forward to is playing in front of fans that are cheering for them.
“Playing in front of Penn Staters is a great, great thing,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “It’s the reason why a lot of us are here.”
Freshman forward David Glen agreed with his coach.
“It’s quite an experience, especially with [the] PSU fans,” Glen said.
Sophomore forward Max Gardiner said that seeing the Penn State fan base has been impressive.
“Penn State seems to always have people following, especially in the big cities,” Gardiner said.
The Lions have played in front of big crowds before. They are 3-1-0 in front of crowds of more than 5,000 fans.
Junior forward Taylor Holstrom had his best game of the season on NHL ice, having scored two goals against Ohio State. He said it is easy to get pumped up for those kinds of games.
“It’s the best. When they’re into it, you’re into it,” Holstrom said. “When we score a goal and get that reaction, there’s nothing better. Everywhere we go we get the best fans out of anyone I’ve seen so far.”
Holstrom said that he already has an idea of what fans in Philadelphia are like, having played for the Penn State Icers club team as part of the Winter Classic last year.
The game will also be a home coming for five players — seniors Brian Dolan (Havertown, Pa.), Dominic Morrone (Sewell, N.J.), Rich O'Brien (Furlong, Pa.), sophomore Peter Sweetland (Newtown, Pa.) and freshman Connor Varley (Lansdale, Pa.).
It has been nine months since the Wells Fargo Center was the site of a hockey game. On Saturday, there will be two. When the Flyers host the Penguins, it will be the first NHL game since June 11, 2012.
Saturday will also be the first time a college hockey game is held at the home of the Flyers. It will also be the first time Penn State faces a team from the powerhouse Hockey East conference.