UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In their
first season, the Penn State men's hockey program finished the season with five
victories over their last seven games to end the year with a 13-14-0 overall
record. A roster that featured 15 underclassmen - including 10 freshman -
helped bring the program through a transition year with a lot of success.
Below are some notes on the 2012-13 men's hockey postseason press conference along with videos from freshman forward David Glen, junior forward Taylor Holstrom and freshman net minder Matthew Skoff.
VIDEO: Penn State Men's Hockey Postseason Media Day Player Videos
Laying the Foundation
When you talk to the players and coaches one message is clear; this group was focused on laying a foundation for the future of Penn State hockey.
It's hard to think that a coach would be able to convince a group of college aged student-athletes that there is a larger significance to what they are doing than just piling up statistics and individual awards, but Gadowsky has done just that.
The first Penn State hockey team to ever take the ice as a Division I team was selfless. They did it for one and other, did it for the fans and did it because Penn State needed them to.
The word foundation came out a lot when listening to Gadowsky speak this season and his players echoed that expression during the postseason press conference. They understand what their leader is communicating to them and they are focused on that process, not the results. That focus is what enabled them to close out the season with five wins in their final seven NCAA contests and overcome adversity throughout the year.
What Gadowsky Wants
A new program always has needs, but a new program with a passionate coach like Guy Gadowsky has a list of things it wants for its fledgling program. One of those wants that Gadowsky talked about on Thursday at the postseason press conference was his desire to recruit kids that are going to create healthy competition on and off the ice.
The first-year head coach has a roster full of players that competed at a very high level this season, even while going through the growing pains of being a new program. All ten of the top point scorers will return next season and the addition of three forwards will only bolster the Nittany Lions offensive attack. Freshmen Casey Bailey (27 pts) and David Glen (25 pts) led the team in points, while sophomore Max Gardiner topped the squad's assists charts with 19.
This year's squad watched as young players established themselves as major contributors and the upperclassmen continued to lay the foundation for the Blue and White on and off the ice to push the program to new heights during its initial season. The current five-person recruiting class looks to bring more talent to campus and is poised to continue the groundwork in Hockey Valley.
Senior Six Living the Dream
When Brian Dolan, Michael Longo, Dominic Morrone, Rich O'Brien, George Saad and Eric Steinour arrived on campus they were excited about playing hockey for the Penn State club program in the American Collegiate Hockey Conference, but none of them ever dreamed that three years after arriving on campus they would be suiting up on the Division I stage.
The Senior Six each staked three years for the ACAH squad and endured nearly a two-year tryout according to Gadowsky. When we talked to them throughout the year they used phrases like, 'not in my wildest dreams' or 'I never even thought about it', but lived out a dream in a major way this season.
They exit as the first senior class in PSU history, but mean much more to a young program than anyone could ever imagine.
Big Ten Blazing a Trail
When the 2013-14 college hockey season begins it will mark the first time in NCAA history that a BCS conference will sponsor men's hockey. That conference that will be making the leap is the Big Ten.
When Penn State announced the addition of hockey as a Division I sport in 2010, the powers at be in the Big Ten Conference offices began to explore the opportunity of adding men's hockey to the docket of championship sports sponsored by the conference. When the season begins next year the Big Ten will now host championships in 26 sports.
With Penn States addition of hockey, along with programs at Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Big Ten will begin play for their first conference season in 2013-14 with a 20-game schedule that features each institution playing two home and two road contests vs. each of the other five schools.
The inaugural Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament will be held March 20-22, 2014, at Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minn. where the conference will crown their first ever champion.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Greg Campbell on Twitter @SID_Greg
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