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PSU men’s hockey finishes eighth in final poll

Courtesy of GoPSU sports

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The 2019-20 Big Ten regular-season champion Penn State Nittany Lions received a No. 8 final ranking in USCHO.com national poll as announced Monday afternoon, tying the highest in program history. Penn State was also ranked eighth following the 2016-17 season.

The Nittany Lions finished the regular-season with a five-point weekend against Minnesota on February 21-22 securing the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in program history with 41 league points and a final record of 12-8-4-1 in Big Ten play capping off their most successful conference season in program history.

Penn State went 20-10-4 overall marking its fourth 20-win season over the first eight years of the program and the third in the last four years. PSU is the highest of four Big Ten teams to earn a final ranking joining Ohio State (No. 10), Michigan (No. 17) and Minnesota (No. 18) while Notre Dame is receiving votes.

The Nittany Lions posted their best defensive season in program history finishing 2019-20 allowing just 2.59 goals per game to rank fourth in the Big Ten and 25th nationally while tying their single-season program record with three shutouts. Penn State also set a program record with nine road wins posting its best-ever record away from Pegula Ice Arena at 9-5-1.

Senior Nate Sucese (Fairport, N.Y.) had a career-best 38 points to lead the Big Ten and rank tied for 15th in the nation while also leading the Big Ten with a career-high 27 assists, good for 11th nationally. The recent Arizona Coyotes signee<https://gopsusports.com/news/2020/3/20/nate-sucese-signs-entry-level-contract-with-the-arizona-coyotes.aspx> also rewrote the Penn State career record books this season with 140 points and 61 goals while his 79 assists are the second most all-time.

Junior Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) also had a career-year tying the single-season program record for points by a defenseman with 30, good for tops in the Big Ten and 10th nationally among blue-liners. Hults’ eight goals were also a career-high and tied the Penn State single-season record for goals by a defenseman along with leading the Big Ten for D-Men and ranking tied for eighth in the nation.

Hults also became the all-time career leader in points and assists for a defenseman at Penn State with 78 and 61, respectively, while his 17 goals are the second-most all-time.

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