The Yale Bulldogs really live up to their mascot as they are never really out of a game. They have never lost by more than 2 goals this year, and depending on geography, should have won the Maryland game. They are a tenacious team that poses an interesting match-up against Penn State. PSU is a team that has great potential and individual pieces, but sometimes those pieces just aren’t working in sync. After suffering a 3 game losing streak early in the season, Penn State went on a 10 game winning streak before losing to Towson last week.
Yale is in the tournament thanks t the Ivy League Automatic Qualifier. They are 11-4 with wins over Albany, Princeton, and Penn twice. Their losses include St. Johns, Cornell, Princeton, and Maryland.
The Yale offense is led by Brandon Mangon with 35Goals,25Assists; Conrad Oberbeck with 32G, 7A; and Kirby Zdrill with 29G, 2A. In net for Yale is Eric Natale with a 7.99 Goals Against Average and a save percentage of 52.9%
PSU enters the NCAA tournament thanks to an at-large bid. They are 12-4 with wins over Denver, Bucknell, Villanova, Drexel, and Towson. Their losses include Notre Dame, OSU, Lehigh, and Towson.
The Nittany Lions offense is led by Jack Forster with 40G, 16A; TJ Sanders with 42G, 5A; and Shane Sturgis with 26G, 17A. In goal is Austin Kaut with a 7.2GAA and save percentage of 61.2%
Two keys to this game.
1) Will PSU be able to smother a Yale attack that has many weapons. In the past two games, Yale had 7 players score 9 goals against Penn, and 9 players score 12 goals against Princeton.
2) Will Kaut have a good day or bad one. Austin Kaut is an excellent keeper. In three years after facing over 1450 he still has a save percentage of 61.6%. On the flipside, when he has a bad day, it is usually real bad. In their loss to Towson, Kaut let in 11 goals with only 6 saves (35.3%). Meanwhile the rest of the team won 19 of 24 Face Offs (79.2%), out-hustled Towson scooping up 33 ground balls to Towson’s 21, and was perfect on special teams converting 2 of 2 extra man opportunities, while holding Towson to 0 of 2 opportunities.
PSU has some bigger stars in Forster and Kaut and I like them to escape this one b the skin of their teeth…although don’t be surprised if there is an upset.