ROSEMONT, Ill. – Following their second B1G Championship appearance in the past three seasons last year, the Penn State Nittany Lions were picked as the favorite in the 2019-20 Big Ten hockey preseason coaches’ poll.
2019-20 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
1. PENN STATE
2. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State
7. Michigan State
Penn State returns 20 letterwinners including 82 percent of its total scoring from last season’s roster which set program records for goals (177), assists (301), points (478) and goals per game (4.54), leading the nation in all four categories.
The coaches also selected Preseason All-Big Ten teams and junior linemates Evan Barratt (Bristol, Pa.) and Alex Limoges (Winchester, Va.) were named to the first-team while classmate Cole Hults (Stoughton, Wis.) appeared on the second-team and senior alternate captain Kris Myllari (Kanata, Ontario) was tabbed honorable mention.
Limoges, Barratt and Hults each had career years in 2018-19 with Limoges becoming the first Nittany Lion ever to lead the country in scoring with his 50 points. The junior set a Penn State single-season record with those 50 points while his 23 goals were also a new program standard and tops in the Big Ten, ranking tied for second nationally.
Barratt became just the fourth Nittany Lion to earn first-team All-Big Ten accolades following the 2018-19 season scoring 16 goals while adding 27 assists for 43 points, the third highest single-season total in program history. Barratt’s 1.34 points per game led the Big Ten and ranked fourth in the nation setting a new single-season program record while his 43 points were good for fourth in the Big Ten and 13th nationally.
Hults’ 28 points last season were the third-most by a Penn State defenseman in a single-season and ranked third in the conference for blueliners. His plus-19 rating was the second-best mark for defensemen in the Big Ten while his 68 blocked shots were good for ninth in the league. Hults enters his junior season seventh on the Penn State all-time points list for defensemen with 48, just 12 shy of Luke Juha’s program record of 60.
Myllari ranked second in the Big Ten and fifth in the nation last season with 90 blocked shots while his 21 points were the ninth most in the conference for defensemen. The senior alternate captain set the Penn State career record for goals by a defenseman last season when he notched the 17th of his career at Michigan State.