Recently in Men's Hockey Category
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the first portion of the season comes to a
close, the Penn State men's hockey team is happy with the progress it has made.
With a 9-4-2 record, the Lions have already won more games than they did
throughout the entirety of last year, and they have solidified their place in
Division I hockey.
Even with the success, this team is hungry for more.
"I like where we're at right now, especially
with our wins in Wisconsin," said captain Patrick Koudys. "We already have more
wins than we had last year overall. I'm definitely happy with the team's
progression thus far, but we're still not satisfied. We have to get better and
continue this progress."
These early season results have shocked many in the college hockey world, but
the Lions knew they would be a force to reckon with this year.
Their offense ranks seventh among Division I schools with an average of 3.47
goals per game, and their power play is fifth in the nation.
Senior Taylor Holstrom and junior Casey Bailey are both tied for 13th
in the nation in scoring. Both forwards have racked up 18 points thus far.
"I know some people weren't expecting us to be this high up this early, but we
expected it," Koudys said. "We knew last year was a lot of firsts, a lot of new
things for us, but we got mostly everyone back. We had a few additions with
three great freshmen, so I'm not surprised by any means, but like I said, we're
definitely not satisfied."
Not only are the Lions having overall success, but they are also playing well
in conference games. A split with Michigan and a road sweep of Wisconsin have
left the Lions at 3-1-0 in the Big Ten.
The three wins match the number of conference wins the Lions had throughout all
of the 2013-'14 season. Currently, the team sits at first place in the Big Ten
Conference, which is exactly where it wants to be.
"Our strong point is just when we are playing our game," Koudys said. "When we
do that, we're a tough team to play against, and I think that shows with our
wins this year. Those come when we're playing our game and doing well, but I
think inconsistency is something we need to take out of our game. We need to be
more consistent in doing those things that make us great every day and every
Ending this first half on such a high note keeps the Blue and White motivated
and focused as they begin an extended break. The team will not dress for a game
again until after Christmas.
The time off is something the Lions and head coach Guy Gadowsky are welcoming
with open arms.
"Not often do you get a sweep on the road and be happy that you can't get right
back to playing because obviously those were two pretty consistent games for
us, with two great results," Gadowsky said. "Normally, you want to keep riding
that wave, but for us we have so many injuries to key people that we're very
welcome to have a break and heal up."
With this break, Gadowsky is stressing his team to finish the academic semester
strong. Practices are optional this week, allowing the student-athletes ample
time to study for finals.
Even with the absence of mandatory practices, Gadowsky knows his team's
character. He knows he can depend on them to balance studying and working out.
His team will be ready to pick up right where it left off.
"With their strength as a team, a lot of the improvements made were because we
have very high quality guys that are committed to Penn State University,
committed to the hockey program, committed to themselves as athletes," Gadowsky
said. "That doesn't change because we don't have a mandatory practice. I don't
have any concerns about that. I really believe in the quality and leadership in
our locker room."
NEW YORK - Penn State fans will be in for a treat on Jan. 30, 2016 when
the Nittany Lion men's hockey and basketball teams compete in a doubleheader at
Madison Square Garden against Michigan.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany confirmed the hockey-hoops doubleheader announcement
on Tuesday evening inside MSG. Additionally, the conference announced that the
2018 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament would be played in Madison Square
Garden (Feb. 28-March 4).
Attendees at the press conference included ESPN's Jay Bilas and Andy Katz, ABC/ESPN's John Saunders and Big Ten hockey alums and current New York Rangers Carl Hagelin (Michigan) and Derek Stepan (Wisconsin).
Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour was in attendance at the press
conference and was thrilled with the news for two of Penn State's teams.
"It has been a great day in New York, and I think this is a really exciting
announcement for Penn State, Penn State Men's Basketball and Penn State Hockey,"
said Barbour. "Any time the Penn State nation has the opportunity to come to
New York is always an exciting time. And the opportunity to play in Madison
Square Garden is something I think our student-athletes will really enjoy, as
will our community."
The marquee along 7th Avenue outside of Madison Square
Garden was lit with Big Ten signage as the press conference took place. The Big
Ten is thrilled to make a new home inside Madison Square Garden, and it will be
an exciting opportunity for the approximately 32,000 Penn State alums in the
New York City metro area to see Penn State teams in action at "The World's Most
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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "Firsts" have been a theme for the Penn State
men's hockey team over the past few years. This weekend's trip to Wisconsin
was no exception.
The Lions crossed another accomplishment off their list, completing their first
Big Ten sweep on the road after taking down the Badgers, 5-2 and 4-2, Friday
and Saturday nights.
something that we didn't know when we'd be fortunate to have that experience," head
coach Guy Gadowsky said regarding the two victories. "It probably happened a
lot sooner than anybody would have expected, and to get it against a program
like Wisconsin that's just so successful and has such great tradition, it feels
"The guys should be proud of themselves, and the program should be proud of
itself. It certainly is an indication of the entire program, the university,
administration, the student body and fans. It's a great credit to the whole
According to freshman James Robinson, sweeping teams on the road has been a
major goal repeatedly discussed this year. The fact that this objective was
accomplished against a Big Ten team made it even more satisfying for the squad.
Robinson had a large part in both wins, playing an excellent brand of hockey
and being rewarded with his first and second NCAA goals.
His first career goal, an unassisted breakaway, gave the Lions (9-4-2, 3-1-0) a
two-goal lead during Friday's game with the Badgers (1-10-1, 0-2-0).
forward passed it up to their D-man," Robinson recounted. "He was my guy, so I
headed out to the point. The puck bounced over his stick, and I was able to
beat him to it. I went down on a partial breakaway and just took a quick shot
that got over the goalie's glove."
The Alberta-native has appeared in 12 of the team's 15 games this season and is
already making a strong impression.
According to Gadowsky, Robinson makes the team more confident through his
dedication and work ethic. In his eyes, the freshman played his best hockey of
the year during these two games.
"He'll block shots with his chest," Gadowsky said about Robinson. "He'll
backcheck when his lungs are burning. He's tough to play against. He goes hard
to the net. He just does a lot of things that make him very difficult to play
Robinson was not the only Albertan to make a substantial impact in Madison, as
both David Glen and Dylan Richard returned to the lineup.
Glen and Richard had three and two points on the weekend, respectively, but
their presence on the ice was far more valuable to the Lions. Both forwards
bring unparalleled energy and skill to the team, which was missed during their
both ended up with a goal on Friday night, but if they hadn't had any points at
all they still would have been very, very valuable," Gadowsky said. "Both those
guys are such character guys. They both play to win, not for stats. They both
are extremely difficult to play against. They bring a lot of identity, and I
thought the boost that they gave us coming back in the lineup was just huge."
Glen was ecstatic to
contribute to the team's scoring, but he knows scoring is not the only contribution
he makes to the Lions day in and day out.
obviously nice whenever you can make an impact for the team," Glen said. "I try
to make impacts in other ways, but it's just nice to have an opportunity to get
on the scoreboard and that sort of thing. I'm glad to be back and glad to help
out on the ice."
Following this series, the Blue and White have some much needed time off. With
a lengthy list of injuries still affecting the team, the three-week break will help
to rejuvenate the Lions.
Nevertheless, even with the time off, ending on such a high note will only
increase the team's confidence, making it that much more dangerous.
"I feel like since we've had such a successful first half, it just makes the
guys that much hungrier and eager to get back out on the ice, continue with our
success and see where the year can take us," Robinson said. "I feel like we
have a great team this year, and we can do some serious damage this year in the
NCAA. I know everyone's excited to see what the rest of the year has in store."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A little over seven months ago, the Penn State
men's hockey team battled Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal game.
The Lions hoped for a victory to ensure the continuation of their season but instead
fell to the Badgers, 2-1, and watched on as their former opponent ultimately
became the Big Ten champions.
These two programs will meet once again this weekend, but the Badgers now have
a very different identity. While the Lions returned nearly their entire roster
this season, Wisconsin worked to fill massive holes left behind by their previous
Even with this new look, Penn State is prepared for another round of intense,
gritty Big Ten hockey with the Badgers.
"They're an extremely talented group that has just found some success, so
they're definitely going to be ready to go," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I
certainly don't expect we overlook them at all. They're Wisconsin, but at the
same time I understand we're facing a dangerous group that's just starting to
get some confidence. That sometimes is the most energetic group."
Wisconsin (1-8-1) is fresh off its first win of the season, a 5-3 victory over
Ferris State, while the Lions (7-4-2) are looking to snap their first losing
streak of the year.
With some major lessons learned through their losses to Michigan and Cornell,
the Blue and White are working toward making corrections that will lead to more
"We've been trying to hit the transition faster, but we still need to improve
on limiting the odds, making bad decisions on pinches and stuff like that,"
junior Luke Juha said of the Penn State defense. "Just the little things, we
have to clean up, but I think as a whole we've been a little more consistent.
We're excited for Friday and Saturday."
It's no secret the Lions have been bitten by the injury bug as of late,
especially at the forward position, which has undoubtedly made their most
recent stretch of games even tougher.
In their last two outings, the Lions have been held to one goal, which is quite
unusual for the team that's averaging 3.3 goals per game. This weekend,
however, the Lions will get some relief as David Glen and Dylan Richard return
to the lineup.
"Richard and Glen are going to play," said Gadowsky. "That's huge for us to
get them back for a number of reasons. One is the faceoff circle, which we
struggled with on Saturday."
Prior to their injuries, Richard notched seven points in eight games, while
Glen tallied three points in his seven appearances. Gadowsky considers both
individuals "identity guys" and believes they can and will give the team's
offense a much-needed boost.
Despite these returns, the Blue and White will still be without defenseman
Connor Varley and forwards Eric Scheid, Jonathan Milley and Zach Saar.
Saar, who has yet to play a game for Penn State this year due to an offseason
surgery, is making strides in his recovery and is now practicing with the team.
"He looks good out there," Gadowsky said of the forward. "His wind is not
there at all. He's really struggling with the conditioning aspect of it, as
you'd expect, but he's just got such a presence. His skills are great. I mean
he shoots the puck so effortlessly. To us, he looks really good."
As the healthy members of the team prepare for this weekend's series, they do
so expecting a challenge. Instead of focusing on Wisconsin and what to expect from the Badgers, the Blue
and White have been working diligently on their own identity, electing to
refine their own talents instead.
"We don't try to change our game for anybody," said Juha. "We're just going to
go out there, try to make the A+ backchecks, no odds, and play our game.
Wisconsin is going to be a great team. I don't expect them to be any different
than they were last year."
The Lions are 1-6 against the Badgers since the 2012-'13 season, and they are
ready for that record to improve.
Not only is the team searching for improvement, but it also wants to conclude
the first half of its season on a high note.
"If we can get through this and have success," said Gadowsky, "I think it's going
to be a tremendous boost."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday night, 15,027 fans piled into Madison
Square Garden. Some donned blue, while others dressed in red.
This crowd, however, was not in attendance to support the usual home team New
York Rangers. Instead, it settled in to watch the Penn State men's ice hockey
team take on Cornell in the Frozen Apple.
thought it was great for Penn State," head coach Guy Gadowsky said of game. "We
have 100,000 at Beaver Stadium at 3:30, and then we had thousands at Madison
Square Garden at 8:00. I think it's a tribute to Penn State and how well they
support our sports teams. It was a great environment, a tremendous arena and a
Despite a solid performance, Cornell defeated the Lions, 3-1, after an
empty-net goal sealed their fate in the final minutes of play.
Penn State (7-4-2) maintained the advantage in shots throughout the game,
outshooting Cornell (4-4-1), 38-25. The opportunities were present, but a
stellar performance by goalie Mitch Gillam took away the Lions' chance at
actually thought we had a pretty good performance," said Gadowsky. "We came out
well right from the start, had some good opportunities and were able to sneak
one by their goaltender. They are a very tough team to play against. You have
to work very hard to create opportunities. I thought we did. I thought we moved
the puck very well from our back end. I thought we didn't give much at all.
"We gave up five shots in the first. In the second, I don't think we had our
best period, but I thought we played tough. In the third, we probably created
our most offensive chances. In the end we turned the puck over high and worked
hard to get back, but one of our defenders caught an edge and fell. That was
enough for them to take advantage of it, but all in all pretty good
The Lion's lone goal came from sophomore forward David Goodwin at 9:11 in the
first period. The goal marked his fifth of the year, and once again highlighted
the dominance of his line, which also features senior Taylor Holstrom and
junior Casey Bailey.
"Taylor Holstrom had the puck and he skated it into the zone," Goodwin said.
"He skated wide, and Casey Bailey and I drove the net. Taylor passed it out
front, and really either Casey or I could have put it in, but it just happened
to hit my stick. Thankfully I was able to put it in the back of the net."
Holstrom, Bailey and Goodwin all currently lead the Lions in scoring with 18,
16 and 10 points, respectively. This line has been a consistent point of
offense for Penn State and continues to rise to the occasion in all situations.
Additionally, Holstrom's assist Saturday brought him to 14 on the year, which
ties him for first in the nation in that category.
"Everybody knows how very consistent and successful offensively that line has
been," said Gadowsky. "You know other teams are taking notice, and trying to
match against them, and they've still been able to chip away every game. I really
give them a ton of credit. I really do.
"To score consistently at the DI level is an incredible feat in the best of
situations, and right now with us having so many other offensive weapons out,
they're easier to key on and have still been able to produce game in and game
The success of this line can be attributed to the hard work and effort these forwards put
in on a daily basis.
They want to continue helping the team in big ways.
think consistency on the individual level has been really important for us,"
Goodwin explained of his line. "Each of us has been prepared for each game,
knowing the importance of each game. That's been big for us, but also the three
of us have a lot of synergy. We're definitely jelling right now. The more we
play together, the more confident we are and the more we know where each
other's going to be on the ice."
Even with the loss, Gadowsky recognizes the effort put in by not only Holstrom,
Bailey and Goodwin, but by the entire team. The outcome was certainly not what
the team was hoping for, but they played Penn State hockey.
"I thought it was a great experience to compete and play in Madison Square
Garden," Gadowsky said. "I think our guys put together a good effort. I can't
be disappointed with the effort or the way we played."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State men's hockey team takes the
ice Saturday for its game against Cornell, it will once again cross off another
program first, playing at Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena.
"We're really excited," said senior captain Patrick Koudys of the
opportunity to play in the Frozen Apple. "First off, it's such a huge venue,
arguably the biggest venue in the world, but it's going to be probably the
biggest venue we've ever played in. To play against a team like Cornell,
they're a great team. It's a good hockey program there, so we're just really
excited to get to NYC and play some hockey."
Following a disappointing end to their series with Michigan, the Lions spent
the week regrouping and getting back to playing their style of hockey.
The team hopes to step into the Frozen Apple looking like the dangerous, skilled
squad that took down then-No. 4 UMass Lowell on the road.
"We have a lot of things to improve on, and it's not new things," head coach
Guy Gadowsky said. "It's refocusing. We focused on a few team aspects that
really allowed us to get better and to play great at UMass Lowell, and those
things are very difficult to do. They take a lot of effort and a lot of
commitment, and if you just relax your focus a little bit, you can be
exploited. For us, it's refocusing our commitment in certain areas of our
Commitment and putting forth a high level of effort day in and day out are key
for the Lions right now as the team battles a number of injuries.
With so many key individuals out of the lineup, the remainder of the team has
had to step up and work toward the continuation of positive results.
"It's hockey," said Gadowsky. "Very seldom do you go into a game 100 percent
after the first few weekends of the season. Any time you lose a Dylan Richard,
a David Glen and an Eric Scheid, and remember we're down Zach Saar as well, at
the forward position it's going to hurt. Right now Connor Varley is out for us
on D, so it's part of it. Part of improving as a program and getting better is
improving your depth, and we have faith in all the people we have on our
The numerous team injuries have forced the Lions to work on filling voids on
the team, giving them more experience and adding a new dimension of depth to
"It obviously sucks that guys are out and guys are injured, but it does give
other guys more opportunities to play in spots that they're maybe not normally
playing in or to get more time in those situations," Koudys explained. "It's
good and it's bad. It's good that guys get to try new thing and play a little
more, but then again we do love those guys who are injured. We want them
healthy. Right now I think we're all just focusing on what we need to do as a
team, and we're looking forward to this weekend."
With Saturday quickly approaching, Penn State (7-3-2, 1-1-0 B1G) will continue
to prepare for the highly defensive Cornell (3-4-1, 3-3-0 ECAC) team. This
season, the Big Red have given up an average of 1.6 goals per game, which is
significantly lower than the 3.5 goals per game average the Lions have scored.
Cornell is accustomed to playing low-scoring games, which may call for a bit of
an adjustment by Penn State.
"That's really an indication of their team and their team systems and how they
play the game," Gadowsky said of Cornell. "Our staff is very familiar with
Cornell. They're very, very well coached, and they're a very tough team to play
against in the sense that they play a tremendous defensive game. If you're
waiting around for them to give you opportunities, it's going to be a long
night. You really have to make your own opportunities because they don't give
you much at all."
The Frozen Apple between Penn State and Cornell is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
Saturday in Madison Square Garden.
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 unrivaled 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 Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With 10 games under their belt, the Nittany Lions
are ready to start the next portion of their season, Big Ten play, against an
opponent they have history with, Michigan.
During the teams' last meeting, the Lions defeated Michigan in double overtime
and advanced to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. Not only did the
Blue and White take down the Wolverines in that specific game, but they also
emerged victoriously in three of the five matchups last season.
This year the two teams are ready to rekindle that competitive edge, starting
with this weekend's series.
"We don't need any added sense at all," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "This is
Michigan. This is the most successful program in college hockey history that we
get to compete against, and we do it a Yost Arena, which is a tremendous
environment. It's a very tough environment, and it's something I think our guys
are now starting to look forward to, so we don't need any added incentive to
play the University of Michigan, believe me."
Last season's results are something neither team has forgotten after the
offseason months. Penn State remembers victory, while Michigan remembers the
pain that came along with defeat.
"Anytime that you develop a history with any team, I think that contributes to
it," said Gadowsky. "I know that at media day, some of their reporters already
told me, 'Michigan has you circled,' stuff like that, so I can't comment from
what they're thinking. From our standpoint, we're excited to play all Big Ten
teams. I mean they're all monsters in this game, and a big part of why we come
to Penn State is to compete against the very best. Certainly this weekend is
the epitome of that."
The Lions are coming into these games with momentum on their side. The team is
fresh off its split with UMass Lowell, a series in which forward Casey Bailey
tallied three goals and one assist.
Bailey currently leads the team with eight goals and is only one shy of tying
the nation's leaders in goals scored. Clearly, the junior has entered this
season with big expectations, and thus far, he has been fulfilling them.
"I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates," said Bailey. "Taylor Holstrom
is playing incredibly, and David Goodwin has been great. I'm just having a lot
of fun playing with my linemates. I think as a team, when you create offense,
it really opens up space for other guys. You've got to give a lot credit to
everyone on the team. I don't think it's anything personally that I'm doing
special. I just think the team's playing well. I'm a shooter and when I get
those chances, it's nice when the puck goes in."
Bailey's 54 shots on the season are a team high, and his 12 points having him
trailing only Holstrom.
"With Casey, I think his physical strength and conditioning is at a much higher
level than it's ever been, I think in his life," Gadowsky said of the junior. "He
started this season playing to play good hockey, not playing to score goals.
"He loves scoring goals, and that's part of what makes him a good hockey
player. He loves scoring goals in games. He loves scoring goals in practice. He
loves scoring goals in street hockey. He just loves scoring goals, but I don't
think that's what he's concentrating on. I think he's concentrating on playing
With multiple forwards, including Bailey, producing game in and game out, the
Lions have an added sense of confidence right now.
The team knows what to expect of Michigan, and the trip could not have come at
a better point in the season for Penn State.
"We've played them [Michigan]," Gadowsky said. "We know there are certain
things they're going to do that are different from UMass Lowell, but the bulk
of this is certainly our preparation and how we play. Really for our program,
it's always going to be like that. We really try to just get as good as we
possibly can at our game."
The Lions and Wolverines will open their series 7:30 p.m. Friday at Yost
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the loss of Friday's game still fresh in
their minds, the Nittany Lions took the ice on Saturday for a rematch with No.
4 UMass Lowell determined to make changes and play a stronger brand of hockey.
As time in the third period expired, the Lions successfully accomplished what
many believed to be an impossible task for the young program. They dominated
against and beat a top-five team on the road, taking down the River Hawks, 4-1,
to complete a weekend split.
"I'm really proud of the way they did it because it shows that they certainly
can focus and commit to playing a much better hockey game and give more of
themselves," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I think that's exactly what
happened. I think every single guy really worked extremely hard throughout the
whole game, and when everybody does that you give yourself a chance."
Following Friday's 5-3 loss, Gadowsky decided to make a few changes in an
attempt to give his team some life. One of those decisions was giving sophomore
goalie Eamon McAdam the nod for the first time this season.
McAdam's play on Saturday was a defining point of the game, and his 24 saves
against the top-scoring team in the NCAA allowed the Lions to stay competitive
against the River Hawks.
"First of all, I think Eamon has really made some commitments to himself and
how he was going to approach this year," Gadowsky said. "Both in his own work
ethic and throughout the start of the year the way he's approached practices
and the team has been excellent. We do a lot of evaluations and statistical
evaluations at practice as well, and he really has been excellent. He's
absolutely deserved to get the chance if we needed him to come in."
"Friday night we weren't playing very well, and we certainly were giving up
some huge opportunities. By no means is this a knock on [Matthew] Skoff, but we
happened to give up a lot of Grade A opportunities and four of them went in.
The timing seemed right to have Eamon go in, and he actually faced a lot of
very difficult shots and played extremely well. Starting him on Saturday was
really a no-brainer."
While the win was momentous for the Lions, it also marked a special occasion in
McAdam's collegiate career. With the performance, he earned his first win as a
"It was a pretty big relief and a monkey off the back kind of feeling," said
McAdam. "It's always good to get your first win. Last year, I was close a bunch
of times, but I couldn't pull together a win. Like I said, it was a big relief.
My parents were there, which is cool because I got to enjoy that with them."
Through the first 10 games this season, both McAdam and Skoff have combined for
a .924 save percentage and an average of 2.16 goals allowed per game.
Both goalies are playing consistently for Penn State, giving the team its best
chance night in and night out.
"I think it's big to have two great goalies," said junior Casey Bailey, who had
two goals in Saturday's victory. "Skoff has been playing amazing for us, and we
kind of left him out to dry Friday. Coach gave Eamon a chance on Saturday, and
it shows a lot. He played really well Saturday and at the end of Friday's game,
and I think to have two goalies playing this well is definitely good for the
Despite the positive outcome this weekend, Gadowsky is far more satisfied with
the way his team played and the effort he saw. In his mind the win itself is not
the key to believing in the team and its abilities.
"I think where we're going to gain our confidence is the fact that we played a
very good hockey game," Gadowsky said. "Win or lose, I think that because
they're such a well-coached team UMass is so consistent in their habits and so
difficult to play against that we sort of proved that we can perform at a high
level against a very, very difficult team."
The Lions now have a 6-2-2 record on the season, which stands as a testament to
their growth as a program. With this historic win under their belts, the
remainder of the year looks very bright for Penn State.
"Compared to last year, we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were," McAdam
said. "I think as a team, and also you can just look at it on paper, you can
see the steps we've taken have really started to turn into results. I think
that's sparking a ton of confidence with the whole team. It's only going to
make us want to work harder and try even harder for bigger and better things."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off a week of rest, the Nittany Lions are
ready to face their first big test of the season, taking on a ranked opponent.
The Blue and White will travel to Massachusetts this weekend for a series
against No. 4 UMass Lowell. While the games will serve as a challenge, the
Lions are prepared and excited to see what will come of playing such a skilled
"They are the only team in the NCAA scoring more than four goals per game,"
said head coach Guy Gadowsky of the River Hawks. "They're ranked fourth in the
nation. It is a great test. I didn't know this until it was pointed out, but
their two top scorers are defenseman so it's not like you can really key on a
line or anything like that. It is going to be an excellent test for us.
"Right now, we're just trying to get back into the grove. A week off can be a
good thing in terms of bumps and bruises, but a really bad thing in terms of
timing. We're just trying to get a little bit of compete back in us."
The Lions worked to restore their health during the short break. With a number
of student-athletes both under the weather and out due to injury, a week off
could not have come at a better time for the team.
Many, including forward Curtis Loik, believe the extra rest will be highly
beneficial and lead to positive results this weekend.
"It's going to be huge," said Loik of the time off. "You know, a couple guys
feeling under the weather and not feeling as hot as they want, it's a good week
for us to recover and get back to our habits and work on the little stuff that
we didn't do so well against Bentley and Holy Cross. We've had a good week of
practice, and we're going to come into UMass prepared and ready to go."
Although in many ways, this series will serve as a benchmark for Penn State,
Gadowsky will not be placing any additional weight on the outcome.
His focus remains on the completion of team objectives, which is how he will
continue to measure the program's success.
"Our goal is to improve every week, no matter who we're playing," said
Gadowsky. "I think a lot of people are looking at it that way. I don't think we
are as a coaching staff. We're trying to improve this week as much as we can
regardless. I think we recognize that people around the nation are saying,
'They had a great start, but they haven't played a top team.' Well this is a
top team, so I think eyes are going to be on it."
During the last meeting between the two programs, UMass Lowell swept the Lions at
Pegula Ice Arena, winning the first game, 4-0, and the second game, 3-2.
Despite last year's outcomes, Gadowsky knows the Lions have matured. At this
point, there are no parallels to be found between last year's team and this
"I think we're a much better team than when we played them last year, and I
think it's probably around similar time," Gadowsky said. "I think we're a much
different team now than we were then, so we're not really drawing on to see the
Even with the team's growth, Loik and the Lions know they will need to bring
their A game to compete with the River Hawks.
"Obviously, just sticking to our objectives and what coach says, like
benchmarks of getting pucks low and backchecking," Loik said as he describe the
keys to having a successful weekend. "Those are some of the things we have to
stick with and not let fall apart. If we fall apart from that or fall behind,
that's when we're going to start losing games. We just have to stick to our
objectives, and I think we'll be fine."
Traveling to Massachusetts with a four-game winning streak, the Lions hope to
use their newfound confidence to their advantage.
They are not intimidated by the River Hawks. Instead, they are more than ready
"We got some momentum from those four games," said Loik of the winning streak.
"We gained a lot of confidence. Every line is producing. All the D are playing
well. [Matthew] Skoff is playing unbelievable. I think if we keep that rolling
we're going to be one heck of a team to deal with."