Sean Flanery GoPSUsports.com, Student Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While Penn State has endured many ups and downs throughout its inaugural season one aspect of head coach Josh Brandwene's philosophy has remained constant, his positive attitude.
Brandwene, a standout defenseman for the men's club team from 1987-91 and a Penn State graduate, described receiving the head coaching position at Penn State as his dream job in every aspect of what the position entails. The Penn State alum's numerous accomplishments at a variety of levels of the game, both as a player and a coach, made him more than qualified to fulfill the role of the program's front man in its inaugural season.
While his numerous accolades throughout his hockey career are impressive, his positive attitude and his coaching philosophy are the keys behind the Nittany Lions' success this season.
"He is always positive," said sophomore forward Jess Desorcie. "He obviously always has a couple of things to say that we need to improve on, but it always comes back to the positive side. So, it's nice to know what we need to work on, but know that we are improving along the way."
All season long, Brandwene has described the season as a long process working towards improvement, and the Nittany Lions are beginning to display just how far they have come in their inaugural season. At 7-19-1, Penn State's success on the ice extends beyond the record of the team.
So far this season, the Lions have been involved in 10 games decided by two goals or less and despite being on the losing end of most of them; the teams' strides towards improvement are evident in the way they have kept competing. Brandwene's philosophy as a coach has played a large role in the players' ability to not get discouraged.
"I think it's so effective because he is so positive," said Desorcie, "but he does give constructive feedback and it's feedback that's going to be helpful. So, while it might be something that we need to work on, he finds a positive in it to make it something that we want to work towards and not just yell at us and tell us we're doing bad. Not telling us we can't do it, but telling us that it just needs to get better."
Brandwene's recipe for success and positive attitude has been the same throughout his career developing a winning attitude at numerous programs at many different levels, but it wasn't something that he just picked up.
"[My attitude] comes from a number of different places," said Brandwene. "I had great influences here in both Joe Battista, my former coach, and Ralph Sabock, a professor here at Penn State, and any number of other sources along the way. To me this is the way it should be done and it's something I believe in."
Now, Brandwene has developed a level of competiveness and belief so much that the Nittany Lions stood toe-to-toe with one of the best women's teams in the country in No. 7 Mercyhurst just this past weekend.
Moving forward in their inaugural season, the Lions have just six games remaining before they prepare for their first ever appearance in the College Hockey America Tournament.
This weekend, the Lions will have a chance to move up the CHA standings while finishing off the home part of their schedule by hosting Lindenwood (3-23-2) in a set of two matinee games beginning Friday at 2 p.m.
While it may not be evident at the end of every game on the scoreboard, the Lions are right on track when it comes to Brandwene's process, and when looking at the alum's accolades that's a great start.