By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the many outdoor hockey games on tap for Citizens Bank Park next week will be a college battle between 14-2 Penn State and 7-3 Neumann University on January 4th.

Neumann is one of the top squads in Division III (see previous story) while Penn State is transitioning up to the Division I level from club status in the ACHA.  Nittany Lions head coach Guy Gadowsky says that transition is going quite well.

Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Guy Gadowsky:

“We’re getting there.  I think we’ve improved a lot and we have two goals.  We want to have the best season we can.  This is the last season for Penn State to be in the ACHA and we have a very proud tradition in that league, so we want to do very well.  But at the same time, we want to make sure that we build a foundation for the future.  We’re going to be in a heck of a league, in the Big Ten, in a couple of years.  So we are going to have to build as strong a foundation as possible.  So we are trying to mesh those two goals together.”

Gadowsky says this match-up comes at an opportune time.

“It’s great.  You know Neumann is ranked in the top ten in Division III NCAA, they won the Division III NCAA Championship (in 2009).  So they are a very good program.  Up to this point, for sure, they are going to be the best team that we faced.”

And Gadowsky says it’s obviously not just the opponent that makes this game special.

“To get to do it at Citizens Bank (Park), outdoors, and in such a cool environment.  It’s going to be an experience I don’t think any of our players will ever forget.”

So will playing outside lead to any special preparations for his squad?

“We’re going to take it as it comes.  It’s been so nice here, as you know, I mean there’s not much of an opportunity to go outdoors anyway.  I think we’re going to just try and enjoy the experience as much as possible.  But at the same time, Neumann, like I said they are an excellent program, an excellent team.  So it’s a great opportunity for us to get a little bit better of a measuring stick on where we’re at.  It’s an important game for us, at the same time we just want to enjoy it as much as possible.  We’re not going to prepare any differently, but I know everybody is very excited about it.”

Face-off at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night January 4th is set for 8:00pm.