Yeeeeeah...probably a good idea at this point. The major sticking point, however, is that every Atlantic Hockey team has filled its NCAA-allowed maximum of 34 games this season. That leaves two fronts for attack:
- Reschedule one of PSU's already-booked AHA games so as not to require another slot. Beyond Army, the Nittany Lions have home contests with Sacred Heart and RIT on tap for this year. Sacred Heart, however, is already set to play at UMass Lowell on Friday. RIT is available on Friday, but has home games on Thursday (Colgate) and Saturday (Michigan). Theoretically, if Penn State were willing to play the game on Sunday, the Pioneers would become available, as they're at home in Fairfield, CT against RPI on Saturday. One of those teams would have to play a rather painful three-game weekend, but it's certainly in the realm of possibility.
- Pay some other team to drop one of their non-conference games to open up a scheduling slot for the opener. PSU hockey insider Mark Horgas claims that Connecticut, which swept the Nittany Lions last year in Storrs, CT, is a likely play in this category due to "key contacts" in the Huskies athletic department and UConn's present movement to grow their program. Connecticut doesn't open up until the 18th, and has road games with Minnesota State (October 18th and 19th), Boston University (November 17th) and Providence (February 11th) that could be likely candidates for "adjustment." It should be noted, of course, that UConn is just one of many options - AIC (last year's opening opponent), Canisius (Terry Pegula's other pet team), Holy Cross and Niagara are also available on Friday.
UPDATE 10/8 7:45 A.M.: According to Buffalo Business First, Canisius has lined up as a possible replacement, thanks largely to their shared ties with Terry Pegula. Pegula, of course, is financing the presently under-construction HARBORcenter ice rink project in Buffalo, and the Golden Griffins will relocate there upon its completion next year.
“There has been some preliminary discussions,” confirmed Jason Venisky, Canisius associate director of athletics communications. “We will have to make a final decision by Wednesday.”One interesting aspect to the story is that Canisius has applied to the NCAA for a special waiver that would allow them to add a game to their schedule without dropping one - a move that would put them over the NCAA game limit of 34. Could the NCAA wind up doing Penn State a bit of a favor to help the school pull off its varsity ice arena opener? That in and of itself would be quite a story.
The Golden Griffins, who went 19-19-5 a year ago and qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament by winning the Atlantic Hockey tournament title, are available on Friday but have to head back to the Buffalo area on Saturday for a game at Niagara.