By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Behind a powerful performance by the special teams, the Penn State men's hockey team (8-2-3) returned to Hockey Valley victorious, after shutting out Vermont (3-2-9), 4-0, in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff on Sunday.
"We really believe in what we do as a team, with the structure, so it doesn't matter who we're playing, we want to play the same game and put up the same effort," said junior forward Dylan Richard.
Richard had two goals in Sunday's contest, his first coming on the power play.
"I think [the power play is] doing a great job at creating chances, shooting the puck and really just creating a little bit of chaos in front of the net," said Richard.
Junior Zach Saar also got on the board for the Nittany Lions on Sunday thanks to a strong shot off the faceoff during another Nittany Lions power play. Both Richard and Saar scored in Penn State's last shutout win, a Feb. 8, 2014 game against Michigan.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky has said previously the power play is an area he wants to focus on improving, and making it a stable factor of Penn State's offense.
The most outstanding performance of Sunday's game, however, came from the young man in net for the Nittany Lions, junior Eamon McAdam. The Perkasie, Pa., native had 30 saves against the Catamounts on his was to his first shut out as a Nittany Lion.
"I think it was a game where we came out hot and were able to control the play in the first period," said McAdam. "[Vermont] had a few chances, but nothing crazy."
Several scrambles in front of Penn State's net could have yielded goals, if McAdam wasn't a dominating presence in the crease.
"The second period we hit kind of a wall so I stepped up and made saves and kind of kept it 1-0 for a while." said McAdam. "Toward the end of the game it turned into a team effort, with guys blocking shots and back checking. I played a really good game but it's all about a great team effort."
Playing in his hometown NHL arena was a highlight of the season so far for McAdam, who had an abundance of family members in attendance for Sunday's game.
"I grew up watching Flyers games pretty much every night. It's making one of my dreams come true [to play in Wells-Fargo Center]," said McAdam.
McAdam had previously started for the Nittany Lions in net the last time the team visited Wells-Fargo Center, during the 2013 Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff.
McAdam said the atmosphere of Wells-Fargo Center provided the perfect backdrop for Penn State's win Sunday afternoon.
"To play in front of 9,000 people, that's a pretty cool experience and it's easy to get pretty pumped up for a game like this," said McAdam.
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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn State Athletics would like to
take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.
As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unwavering support you give every team on campus. Penn State's teams would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.
As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give them throughout the athletic season.
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman forward Alec Marsh has seamlessly transitioned into the system of Penn State hockey and is off to a quick start, notching five goals and seven assists so far this season.
With 12 games as a Nittany Lion under his belt, Marsh has meshed in quite nicely amongst his teammates, learning the ways of Penn State hockey and using his talents on the ice. Since he has established himself as a strong forward with great puck-handling skills, Marsh is eager for more challenging opponents as Big Ten play draws closer.
"I'm looking forward to playing some of those [Big Ten] teams and seeing just what this team can do," said Marsh. "But every game is important, so we take it one game at a time."
However, prior to his success on the ice, the 20-year-old had to get used to being a student-athlete once again. Marsh, who played for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the USHL from
2012-15 said that his time in Iowa prepared him for once again splitting
time between the classroom and the rink.
"I went to high school in Cedar Rapids for two years so I'm kind of used to the whole going to school in the morning and playing in the afternoon routine," said Marsh.
Marsh also explained that his friendship with David Goodwin, prior to attending Penn State, was a big help when making the transition to college life. Goodwin and Marsh were teammates on the Roughriders during the 2012-13 season.
"Over the years, I had talked to Goodwin a lot about coming here and getting used to the system [the Nittany Lions] have," said Marsh. "So I definitely think it's been a big help."
Marsh, now playing on a line with senior David Glen and fellow freshman Andrew Sturtz, has found synergy with his line mates.
"It's been really great actually, I really enjoy playing with those guys," said Marsh. "They're both talented and it's cool to see what the three of us can do."
Marsh credits his line's success with being able to blend their individual talents and styles with the communication needed to make plays.
"I think we've already had some pretty good chemistry going," said Marsh. "I believe it shows on the ice and if we keep working hard, we'll keep making plays."
Marsh also noted his strong support system for his success in hockey. His family is often in attendance at both games in Pegula Ice Arena and away contests, if possible.
"They've been able to come out to a few games already [in Pegula Ice Arena] and even made it to our game at Canisius," said Marsh. "They have plans to be at more of them in the future, so having their support is really awesome, I really appreciate it."
Marsh, whose years in with Cedar Rapids along with his time with the Fargo Force and Sioux Falls Stampede distanced him from his family in New Jersey. Now in Central Pennsylvania, Marsh is happy to be back closer to home.
With his success early this season, Marsh is looking to build off this momentum and use it to help the Nittany Lions on the ice.
"Whatever I can do to get my team the win, I'll do it," said Marsh.
Penn State will face off against Vermont in Philadelphia this Sunday at 1 p.m. as part of the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff.
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska. - After the lengthy journey across North America, the Nittany Lions returned to State College on Sunday after picking up a win and a tie against Anchorage Alaska over the weekend.
Penn State (7-2-3) rocketed past Alaska Anchorage (6-4-2) Friday night with three unanswered goals, tallying a 5-2 victory.
The Nittany Lions grabbed the lead quickly thanks to two goals from freshman Andrew Sturtz.
Sturtz's second goal, a wrist shot on the penalty kill, was his first shorthanded goal as a Nittany Lion and Penn State's fourth this season.
"It was a good play by [David Glen] who forced the defenseman across the blue line and he got by and turned the puck over and I took it down, kind of a 2-on-1, and I just drove it to the net and ended up getting one," said Sturtz.
Alaska Anchorage answered with two goals of its own, but the Nittany Lions rallied to pull away from the Seawolves. Three unanswered goals later, and Penn State had its victory.
"Playing on the road, we didn't really mind being tied 2-2 but we had to refocus and really bury down during the second period and we ended up getting the win," said Sturtz.
After their stellar performance Friday, the Nittany Lions returned to Sullivan Arena on Saturday night to finish off their series. This time, it would take more effort from the offense, and a goal by a seasoned defenseman to get Penn State on the board.
"I think the energy was really good, we're a very focused team so obviously we wanted to win both but unfortunately we got the tie," said Sturtz. "[UAA] played a really good game Saturday night and their goalie did very well and we were very fortunate that we got that power play together and Juha was able to get the tie for us."
Senior defenseman Luke Juha scored Penn State's lone goal Saturday night, and it came at a key moment to secure a 1-1 tie.
For Penn State, its two goaltenders were the backbone of the team's success this weekend.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky has been adamant that each goaltender will get their rightful amount of split starting time this season, and that system has worked well for the Nittany Lions.
"Whenever my name is called I just have to do my best to give my team the chance to win it," said senior goaltender Matt Skoff. "I think just being consistent, I think at this point in the season if you can get one percent better every day, that's huge."
Junior Eamon McAdam started on Friday night, making 19 saves during his time between the pipes, while Skoff started in net Saturday night and made 20 saves. Both goaltenders showed confidence and poise in net, making several outstanding saves each to keep the Nittany Lions in the games.
"I thought we played a good game, [UAA] didn't get a lot of shots on net, fortunately," said Juha. "But it really just came down to us playing our game and we knew Skoff would save a lot of shots that were coming our way."
The Nittany Lions are very confident behind the two young men splitting time between the pipes.
Although this week is Thanksgiving, the Nittany Lions will be traveling to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff this Sunday against Vermont. In the meantime the Nittany Lions will rest up from their cross-country travels and refocus their energy on the game ahead.
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team traveled to the last frontier on Wednesday as it prepares to take on Alaska Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.
They key to their success this weekend? That's logistics.
Traveling more than 4,000 miles with a party of greater than 25 people is no small task. In addition to transporting people, moving all the equipment, including several dozen sticks and pairs of skates, becomes a logistical feat that only a few people can accomplish.
The planning is the responsibility of several members of the men's hockey staff including Director of Operations Bill Downey, head athletic trainer Justin Rogers, and head equipment manager Adam Sheehan. The trio, along with other various members of the staff, began planning the logistics behind the trip in late spring.
"You start budgeting the season before," said Downey. "It's not that much different than any other road game, but we're flying commercial so we had to figure out where we were going to take off from."
For Downey, having Alaska Anchorage on the schedule is an opportunity he and the coaching staff are looking forward to.
"The scheduling of the games date back a couple of years," said Downey. "So that was something Coach Gadowsky and I discussed a little while back and we saw it as a way to play two games on Alaskan soil."
If a college team agrees to travel to Alaska to play games, the contests do not count against the NCAA season limit of 34. Essentially, Penn State gains two extra games by traveling up North.
"It's nice for the guys [to experience Alaska], but it also allowed us to schedule two more home games," said Downey.
As part of the agreement, Alaska Anchorage will travel to State College during the 2016-17 season to play two games at Pegula Ice Arena.
As for moving equipment to Anchorage, the team decided to switch up the logistics from their trip last season to Alaska Fairbanks.
"We actually shipped a bunch of stuff ahead of time last year that met us in Fairbanks," said Downey. "This year we've decided we didn't really need as much on the road, at least for this trip so we've gone away from shipping anything ahead of time and rather we're going to take in bags with us."
Although the logistics behind the trip are handled and the excitement amongst the team is overwhelming, there is a small hole in the roster that this trip was meant for. Casey Bailey, who left the team last spring to pursuit a career in the NHL, was part of the reason behind Penn State's trip to Anchorage.
Hailing from Anchorage, Bailey and his family always had the difficulty of distance between them when it came to watching their son play college hockey. This trip was meant as an opportunity for them to finally see their son play on their home turf.
"I think it's a great experience for the guys regardless," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "But certainly a part of going up to Anchorage after going to Fairbanks last year was for the Baileys."
Despite their missing piece, the Nittany Lions are excited to experience a new place and a new opponent.
"I think it'll be really fun," said freshman Chase Berger. "The travel will be challenging, but I know a couple guys who are from there and I just imagine a big block of ice, so it'll just be interesting to see what Alaska is."
Another member of the team however will be visiting his old stomping grounds. Senior Eric Scheid played for Alaska Anchorage during the 2011-12 season before transferring to Penn State.
"It'll be weird for sure," said Scheid. "...Unfortunately my freshman class I went there with, they graduated last year but it'll still be cool to see some people I know up there..."
Penn State will face off against Alaska Anchorage on Friday and Saturday night, with both puck drops set for 11 p.m. ET.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's hockey team, led by outstanding performance from the goaltenders and special teams, notched a sweep against Sacred Heart this weekend.
Penn State (6-2-2) opened up the series against Sacred Heart (5-5-1) with a dominating 8-2 victory on Friday and didn't look back.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky credited Eamon McAdam's performance in net on Friday with keeping the game in Penn State's favor. Eamon made 36 saves, with 22 of them in the second period, setting a school record.
"Eamon McAdam had to be just phenomenal," said Gadowsky of all the shots Sacred Heart took on McAdam. "...That's got to be the hardest six-goal victory he's ever played in."
Additionally, Penn State's 5-for-7 performance on the power play added precious momentum to the Nittany Lions' victory. The return of Zach Saar after numerous injuries made an immediate impact on Penn State's power play. Saar found the back of the net, on the man-advantage, with a goal of his own during Friday's game.
"It was definitely nice to see [the power play's success] and it was also nice to see Zach Saar add a new element to our power play unit, big time," said Gadowsky. "I thought Saar played a very big role and really great to see him get a goal after all of the injuries he has had."
On Saturday night, the Nittany Lions kept peppering the net with shots, tallying a new school record of 67 shots on goal.
Freshman Chase Berger had a phenomenal game as the birthday boy celebrated by scoring two goals to keep the Nittany Lions in chase of another win.
"It was awesome, my parents are in town and my whole family, and it was just great that we won," said Berger.
Berger had previously stated he hopes that his performance remains consistent and that he can use his personal successes to help the team in any way he can to get them a win. Though Berger doesn't want to think too far ahead, he enjoys performances like Saturday's.
"...Every day I try to come and just shoot a lot of pucks and just work on that stuff and then if it comes it comes and I know sometimes you play really well and the puck's not going your way, maybe it's going my way now," said Berger, who regained his position atop this season's NCAA freshman goal scoring list.
On Saturday, Matthew Skoff received the nod to start in net. Gadowsky is still using non-conference games to test both goaltenders, by giving each of them equal time to stake their claim for the starting job. Gadowsky is confident in all his goaltenders, and takes any opportunity to say so.
"Just every game I just try to keep it the same and believe in myself and just try to make that next save and give my team, whenever I'm playing, give my team the best chance to win," said Skoff.
Combining a veteran lineup with the addition of successful freshmen, the Nittany Lions have been a force to be reckoned with so far this season.
Senior Tommy Olczyk summed up the team dynamics, even with eight freshmen on board.
"As a team I think we are very mature but it's just we need to change our mind set a little here and pay more attention to detail," said Olczyk.
The Nittany Lions will head to Alaska this week to face Alaska Anchorage, a trip that will not only test the team's skills on the ice, but also their mental toughness on the cross-country journey.
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Tallying five goals and three assists in eight games, freshman forward Chase Berger has made an immediate impact in his first few weeks on the ice as a Nittany Lion.
Berger, who found success in the USHL with the Tri-City storm from 2012-15, has said the transition to college hockey has been smooth.
"I think the biggest difference is just the strength of everyone," noted Berger. "I don't think its necessarily too much more physical but just the simple things, like getting the puck from down low, stuff like that, guys are a lot stronger on their sticks so it makes it tougher to kind of get to loose pucks and come out winning battles."
The St. Louis native, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Saturday, was attracted to Penn State because of his familial connection to head coach Guy Gadowsky.
"My older brother Jack played for coach Gadowsky at Princeton and he was saddened when Gadowsky left, but I had heard great things about him," said Berger. "When I visited Princeton I was talking to some of the other guys who played for him for more years than my brother and they had nothing but great things to say about him."
When it came time to make a decision, Berger didn't hesitate.
"I decided [Gadowsky] was the kind of guy I wanted to play for," said Berger.
Already making a big impact on offense, Berger credited his older line mates for allowing him to be successful and to grow quickly with the team.
"My line mates have been really good," said Berger of line mates Curtis Loik and Kenny Brooks, both seniors. "They've given me a lot of confidence to make plays."
The coaching staff has also given Berger many opportunities to prove himself early on this season, using Berger as a key member on both the power play and penalty kill.
"I thank [the coaching staff] for giving me the challenges and I hope to keep being put into situations like that," said Berger.
More than a month deep in this season's campaign, Berger has settled in nicely with what is the identity of Penn State hockey. Berger's confidence has allowed him to remain calm in high-pressure situations on the ice and become one of the most consistent players in a Penn State sweater.
Although he has meshed well with his teammates, Berger still has more to learn from the veteran Nittany Lions. Berger spoke of what he's absorbed during his few months in Happy Valley.
"Just how to work hard," said Berger. "At the same time it's a team atmosphere and it's not necessarily just about you. Everyone's different but when you come to the rink it's all about Penn State hockey and just being consistent."
As for his day-to-day routine, Berger knows it all starts with the basics in practice, from puck handling to always getting better on the ice.
Long-term, Berger stated that he doesn't look too far ahead, but rather focuses on the here and now of playing hockey at the collegiate level.
"I don't set too many long-term goals," said Berger. "I try to just take it day by day and be the best I can be every single day."
When prompted, Berger does however have a direction he would like to see the team head in.
"I think my short-term goal would be for the team to succeed, and if I can help that in any way," said Berger. "So I feel like if I'm pushing myself every single day that will help the team win."
Berger's dedication to the team's success will be put on display this weekend as he looks to continue his success in front of the opposing goalie's net and score more goals for the Nittany Lions. This will be the last time Penn State will play at home until Dec. 4.
Penn State hosts Sacred Heart on Friday at 7 p.m. and again Saturday at 4 p.m.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There will be an Olczyk family reunion of sorts on Friday night when the Penn State men's hockey team faces off at Niagara.
Senior Tommy Olczyk will see a familiar face on the Purple Eagles' bench as his older brother, Eddie, was recently hired as an assistant coach for the team.
"It's been great, over the summer I got a call from Niagara and went through the interview process," said Eddie Olczyk. "It seemed like the right fit. They have great players here, great coaching staff, and it's been awesome."
The brothers, just 16 months apart in age, have fond memories of growing up within the environment of a hockey family. Their father, Ed Olczyk, is a United States Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and current commentator for the NHL on NBC.
"I think growing up my brothers and I never really had to search too far to find advice on where we wanted to play hockey and how far we wanted to go with it," said Tommy Olczyk. "I couldn't have asked for a better mentor or father."
Having moved around a lot due to their father's success in the NHL, Tommy and Eddie were each other's best friends and biggest supporters. Growing up, the brothers pushed one another when it came to their individual hockey player development.
"I wouldn't say that it was competitive," said Eddie Olczyk. "I would say that we pushed each other. We both pushed each other to do better."
Tommy Olczyk talked about what he's learned from his older brother throughout the years.
"I've learned from him to just do what you enjoy to do," said Tommy Olczyk. "I definitely think he exudes that because he's transitioned into coaching and is doing what he wants to do."
As for the game Friday, both brothers agreed this game will be fun, but a competition.
Eddie, who has many connections to Penn State not only through his younger brother, but through friends as well, is looking forward to the competition.
"I have a lot of ties to Penn State," said Eddie Olczyk. "I know a lot of these guys that play for the team, I've gone on vacation with some of them. PJ Musico who just graduated last year is a good buddy of mine and I know some of the current seniors."
Eddie continued that this game isn't just brother vs. brother, but also friends vs. friends.
Tommy is equally eager to bring his A-game on Friday.
"I think the game is going to be fun," said Tommy Olczyk. "It's not very often where a college hockey player gets to face off against a team that his older brother is the assistant coach for."
Rarely do opportunities like this one present themselves and the Olczyk brothers are going to take in every minute of it.
"I don't know how many people can say they've coached against their brother, especially at the college level," said Eddie Olczyk. "Then with the fact that I'm only 16 months older than him, this is something pretty special and it's bragging rights for a long, long time."
After the game is concluded and a winner determined, no matter the outcome, both members of the Olczyk family will take time to just be brothers who share a common bond.
"We're probably going to talk about the game a little bit," said Tommy Olczyk. "But we usually put the hockey stuff aside. After the game, outside the rink, we like to limit our conversations about hockey as much possible."
In the end, bragging rights are one thing, but family is forever.
Penn State will face off at Niagara on Friday at 7 p.m.
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