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Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coming off a challenging weekend at home in Pegula Ice Arena, Penn State men's hockey is looking to get back on track before hitting the road for a weekend series in East Lansing, Michigan against the Spartans.

Looking to recharge and reset from a 6-3 loss on Friday, Penn State nearly cut off a late Minnesota rally to upset the fifth-ranked Golden Gophers to earn the upset in overtime Saturday. Falling 4-3 in overtime, the Nittany Lions will now get back to work, focusing on closing out the regular season strong despite the result of the weekend series.

"When you get negative results, that's when things take," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "That's really when you get to learn. If you have positive results and you talk about, well this is what we can change, it doesn't really take as much." 

For Gadowsky and Nittany Lion senior Ricky DeRosa, takeaways from the weekend will all provide an opportunity for continued focus and growth following the learning opportunity.

Check in with Gadowsky and DeRosa as they recap the weekend at home while looking ahead to the upcoming Michigan State series.

Gadowsky

DeRosa

Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Minnesota (2/18/17)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey returns to action, in another top 10 matchup at home in Pegula Ice Arena. The ninth-ranked Nittany Lions are set to close out the weekend series against  the fifth-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. Follow along for in-game updates and exclusive content. 
Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - vs. Minnesota (2/18/17)
 

Nittany Lions Eager to Recharge

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky is hopeful after Friday night's 6-3 loss to No. 5 Minnesota (19-8-2, 10-3-0 Big Ten). The No. 9 Nittany Lions (18-7-2, 7-5-1 Big Ten) were unable to skate away with a win, but are eager to get back in the action tomorrow night in game two of the series. 

"After the game we just told them to get ready for tomorrow," Gadowsky said. "We'll digest some of it by watching the tape, but for them the outcome of this game doesn't change the opportunity for tomorrow."

Despite keeping up with the Gophers' relentless offensive effort through the first two periods, Minnesota pulled away, and scored three goals in the final 20 minutes of play.

Freshman forward Nate Sucese, who last week was named the Big Ten's Second Star of the Week, netted the second goal of the night for the Nittany Lions. Last week's Big Ten First Star of the Week, freshman forward Denis Smirnov, had the assist, along with freshman forward Liam Folkes.

Sucese credited Smirnov's quick thinking with helping to set up the play. Smirnov maneuvered the puck behind him to Sucese, who was yelling for the pass.

"That's the kind of player he is," Sucese said. "He heard my voice and he can tell where you are on the ice at all times." 

Smirnov had an assist on each of the three goals the Lions scored Friday night. Sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz and freshman defenseman Kris Myllari scored the two other goals for the Nittany Lions.

Myllari said he felt the Nittany Lions' defense played well, but had a few costly breakdowns. The Kanata, Ontario native is keen to make some adjustments and get back on track tomorrow night against the Gophers.

"We're going to readjust and come back and we're just going to work hard," Myllari said. "Hopefully we'll have a better outcome tomorrow."

The Nittany Lions are ready to recharge for tomorrow's rematch and are willing to adjust in order to fix the mistakes that cost them some opportunities on Friday night. 

"I think for the most part all four lines played pretty well," Sucese said. "We got unfortunate bounces and we've got to clean up some things obviously, but I think for the most part we put in a good effort." 

Penn State is back on the ice tonight, closing out the series against the Golden Gophers at 8 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena. 

Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Minnesota (2/17/17)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey returns home from the road for a top 10 matchup at home in Pegula Ice Arena. The ninth-ranked Nittany Lions are set to welcome the fifth-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers in a weekend series beginning Friday Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. Follow along for in-game updates and exclusive content. 
Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - vs. Minnesota (2/17/17)
 

Nittany Lions Forging Ahead

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Over the weekend, No. 9 Penn State men's hockey bounced back from two tough losses at No. 5 Minnesota, this time against No. 20 Wisconsin. For head coach Guy Gadowsky, Penn State's dominant performance comes from a collective effort, with a few Nittany Lions also skating to standout weekends.

Freshman forward Denis Smirnov scored three goals against the Badgers, stepping up after a few games without an appearance on the score sheet. Having Smirnov back performing at the level he was earlier in the season has provided a big boost for the Nittany Lions.

"With Denis, he's gone through a few bumps and bruises and is getting healthy, and I think it showed this weekend," Gadowsky said. "He was able to move a lot better."

Gadowsky also noted that the contributions from freshman forward Nate Sucese over the course of the season has also impressed him. Sucese has put up 10 goals, tallying 11 assists so far this season, currently sitting at a plus-10 rating. 

Outside of the individual performances though, it was the whole team effort that also impressed Gadowsky and the staff. 

"That win on Saturday was really a tremendous team win," Gadowsky said, adding that the third period is where he really saw the team come together.

Looking ahead to the Golden Gophers this weekend, Penn State does have an advantage, having played Minnesota just two weeks ago, despite losing both contests. 

For Gadowsky, he's realistic when reflecting on the previous Minnesota series, noting the Nittany Lions played well, but still emphasizing there's always room for improvement.

"It is fresh in our minds and I think there's a feeling that we believe we can play well against Minnesota because we have," Gadowsky said. 

Historically, the Nittany Lions are 3-11-0 against the Gophers, but the Nittany Lions have pulled out a few tremendous wins in the series, including a thrilling 3-2 overtime win last season. 

Gadowsky is still expecting Minnesota to come out fighting though, even with the home ice advantage playing at Pegula Ice Arena this weekend. He is also determined to have the Nittany Lions come out strong from the puck drop, skating all 60 minutes confidently. 

Gadowsky will also be looking toward veteran leadership to motivate Penn State both nights. He spoke highly of senior forward David Goodwin and how he has evolved as a leader during his final campaign. For Gadowsky, he has seen Goodwin keep Penn State focused on the here and now rather than getting caught up in the possibility of a bye the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

"Yes, it's something we very much would like," Gadowsky said of the possibility of a first round bye. "But I don't think that will change any preparation or strategy until possibly the very last weekend. It's nothing we're looking at now." 

The Nittany Lions are remaining focused on the next game ahead, looking for redemption against Minnesota. Gadowsky is sure the Nittany Lions will be able to forge ahead and use the momentum from last weekend's wins to propel them to success this weekend.

"I thought we got confidence that we played a very good game," Gadowsky reflecting on the last Minnesota outing. "But we would love to prove to ourselves that we can finish it." 

Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey is set to return home from a five-game road stretch, hosting Minnesota in a weekend series Friday and Saturday evening at Pegula Ice Arena. This week, catch up with Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky, as well as Nittany Lions Peyton Jones and Denis Smirnov as they look back at the weekend on the road and preview what's next in Penn State hockey. 

Guy Gadowsky

Jones, Smirnov


Reading Program Builds Community Connection

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Prior to the 2015-16 Penn State men's hockey season, senior forward Ricky DeRosa was inspired to somehow bridge the gap between his team and the local Centre County community.   

In the early beginnings, DeRosa talked about setting up a community service project for the team with Penn State marketing manager Dana Crouse. Inspired by his time volunteering with his Junior hockey teams, DeRosa knew a community outreach program was the way to go.

DeRosa came up with the idea of a reading incentive program for local elementary school students. Spring semester last year, the program was underway after the Nittany Lions paired up with Miss. McCracken's second grade class at Easterly Parkway Elementary.

The point of the reading rewards program is to incentivize students to read at least 20 minutes per night. Students are provided reading logs and encouraged to read as much as possible, then during math time at the end of each month they bring in their reading logs and add up their reading time. 

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"We promote that reading is a cool thing to do," DeRosa said. "Even as student-athletes, there's nothing nerdy about reading."

DeRosa and his teammates usually come to the class on a biweekly basis to read to the students. At the end of the month when the students hit their mark, the Nittany Lions come in to do more than just spend time in the library. 

"When the students hit their goal, which they always do, we as a team go in at the end of the month and that's their incentive," DeRosa said. "We either play floor hockey, have a pizza party, or do play games."

DeRosa said their program is designed to lead up to Read Across America, a day of celebration in the name of reading, which falls annually on the birthday of popular children's author Dr. Seuss, March 2.

To date, DeRosa's idea has grown far beyond the reaches of Penn State hockey, and now more than 13 Penn State Athletic programs have been paired with local elementary classes to promote the reading rewards program. The program encompasses kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms, and is entirely volunteer-based, so any student-athlete can get involved.

DeRosa, who will be graduating in May, has also had to find the next torchbearer for the program.  He found a willing partner in sophomore forward Chase Berger.

"Ricky did most of the leg work," Berger said. "We really want this program to continue once we both leave so I think my goal is to see how Ricky does it, form a good relationship with the teacher and then hopefully I can continue it next year and find someone after me to keep it going." 

In the short amount of time the program has been up and running, Berger has made lots of memories, having been able to see the impact reading rewards has made on students.

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"Those kids love it, they really do," Berger said. "It's so easy to give back to them in that way."

DeRosa and Berger both agreed that one of their favorite memories so far was when sophomore goalie Chris Funkey came along to a classroom. 

"The end of last year Funkey was playing goalie for a floor hockey game," DeRosa said. "Just seeing him having so much fun and all the kids laughing was hilarious. At one point he played chase with them and about 15 or so kids dragged him down, it was great."

Now a year into the program, DeRosa and Berger have been able to reflect on the progress they have made on the students they visit regularly.

"Our team always has fun going into the classrooms," DeRosa said. "It doesn't seem like community service. It's just us going out and having some fun in the community with kids who really look up to you, it's nice when the initial platform we have as student-athletes can be used to benefit the community." 

Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coming off a weekend road trip to Minnesota, Penn State men's hockey remains on the road this weekend, traveling to Madison, Wisconsin to close out its five-game road swing. This week, check in with Nittany Lion head coach Guy Gadowsky and goalkeeper Chris Funkey as the two recap the weekend and look ahead to the pair of upcoming outings. 

Puck drop against the Badgers is set for 8 p.m. ET both Friday and Saturday night at the Kohl Center. 

Guy Gadowsky 

Chris Funkey

Weekly Check In: Lions Eager for Minnesota Series

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team is focused on returning to Big Ten play, as the Nittany Lions head to Minnesota this weekend. 

Penn State is coming off a 5-4 loss to Princeton last Saturday in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff and looking for redemption. Despite the final score, head coach Guy Gadowsky was pleased with the team's overall showing.  

"Offensively the guys played really well, 47 shots, 22 chances," Gadowsky said.

For Gadowsky though, he noted that he focused his Nittany Lions a little too much on the offensive side of things. Although taking his eye off of Penn State's defensive performance, he praised players like freshman defenseman Kris Myllari for standing out as a top performer of the weekend.

"I'll tell you what, Kris Myllari was the best player on the ice Saturday night for sure," Gadowsky said. "He was tremendous."

Myllari blocked eight shots on Saturday and currently has a three-game point streak.

As for Minnesota, the Nittany Lions faced the Gophers four times last season, amassing a 2-2 record, including a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory in Hockey Valley last January. Gadowsky is looking forward to the challenging weekend the Nittany Lions have ahead of them, hoping to use this weekend to get back to the team's early season success. 

"Every team goes through ups and downs, every team does," Gadowsky said. "There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about what's going on right now, even with the results."

Penn State will travel to Minnesota for back-to-back outings against the Golden Gophers beginning Friday, Feb. 3 before wrapping up Saturday, Feb. 4. 

SAAB Hosts Lip Sync Battle to Benefit THON

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Filling the HUB-Robeson Center Freeman Auditorium with Penn State students and Nittany Lion student-athletes, the Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) hosted its second annual lip sync battle Wednesday evening.

In a full for the kids effort, the annual event benefits THON, Penn State's Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon to support pediatric cancer.

Featuring musical lip syncing acts from 11 different Penn State Athletics programs, months worth of planning and preparation finally came together in an energetic evening for a tremendous cause.

"I think it just bring out more of the sense of community that we really already have in athletics," track and field sophomore and lead event coordinator Tess Kearns said. "We're so strong all together but to be able to something for THON and see the impact that it's making every year - if we could just raise that number even a little bit on final reveal, that would be all the difference."

From lip sync covers ranging from Justin Beiber mixes to Beyoncé, Sia and School of Rock, the event, which was open to all to attend, brought laughs throughout the night with guest judges featuring director of student-athlete welfare and development Liz Johnson, director of Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, John Affleck and Penn State Blue Band drum major Jimmy Frisbie. 

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Penn State women's volleyball highlighted early with their Justin Beiber mix, followed up with women's soccer's rendition of Sia's "Chandelier" midway through the program. 

"SAAB THON is my favorite thing in the world," said SAAB THON chair Angela Widlacki, a member of the Nittany Lion women's soccer team. "Being able to come out here and see this huge crowd, it means so much to us and I know it meant a lot to our family the Messina's." 

Men's hockey and defending SAAB lip sync battle champion wrestling closed out the evening lip syncing to a pair of movie tunes featuring "Zach's song" from School of Rock and "Breaking Free" from High School Musical. 


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With the final scores tallied, the panel of judges voted Penn State women's soccer duo of Widlacki and Liisi Vink-Lainas in the top spot this year to earn the golden microphone. Men's hockey finished second, while wrestling claimed the third-place finish.

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