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Goodwin, Holstrom, Bailey Finding their Stride

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Eight games. Eleven goals. Fifteen assists. Seventy-nine shots.

The line of David Goodwin, Taylor Holstrom and Casey Bailey has been dynamic for the Nittany Lions. The trio, who are all atop the team's scoring leaders, accounts for over 30 percent of Penn State's offense.

The line clearly has synergy.

"All three of them are working extremely hard," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I really think that's the difference. All three of them have shown high levels of skill, and they all have a high hockey IQ."

Success is nothing new for Goodwin, Holstrom and Bailey.

Last season, the forwards were ranked second, third and sixth on the team in scoring, respectively. Goodwin led the Lions in assists, while Bailey's nine goals were second to only Eric Scheid's 11 tallies.

Combining all this talent has generated positive results this season.

"I just think it's the chemistry," said Bailey of the early season success. "I think like I talked about earlier, me and Holstrom played together all freshman year. He kind of knows that I'm always looking to shoot. I think Goodwin knows that too, and I think it's the chemistry on our line. He [Holstrom] played with Goodwin last year. Things are clicking right now."

A key factor for not only this line, but also the entire team, has been shots on net.

Penn State is currently outshooting its opponents, 345-236. With 109 extra shots, the Blue and White are bound to have offensive success.

"I just think it's the way we're driving the net," Bailey said. "When we drive through the middle it opens up a lot of area for us to get those shots off. It makes it a lot easier, and I think we have a mentality that everybody's going to do that. 
It's making everybody drive to the net, and I definitely think our team is doing a lot better getting shots to the net this season so far."

These shots are greatly benefiting the Lions, who are also outscoring their opponents, 31-16.

"We're working hard," said Holstrom. "We're getting pucks deep. We're doing little things. We're getting some bounces here and there, but I think it just comes down to getting pucks on net and going to the net."

Holstrom's 11 points have him tied for eighth in the country in scoring, and he is also tied for seventh in assists with eight on the season thus far; however, he credits his personal success to his line.

Right now, their chemistry seems to be unstoppable, and all three are playing some of their best hockey.

"My linemates are playing well," Holstrom said. "They're putting pucks into the net. Our team is working really hard, and the score sheet's working well for me. There are other guys helping me out, and I can't do it alone."

Moving forward, Gadowsky knows this line is one he can count on. All three forwards show dedication to the Penn State program day in and day out.

That dedication is directly related to their success.

"I think if you look to a man right now, I think Taylor Holstrom has been our best backchecker, probably Casey Bailey has been best at getting the puck out and David Goodwin's been working extremely hard," Gadowsky said. "I think for them, their key is work ethic for sure."

Eight games. Eleven goals. Fifteen assists. Seventy-nine shots.

If these numbers are any indication of what is to come for the Goodwin, Holstrom, Bailey line, the remainder of this season looks very bright.

Lions Complete Two Comebacks to Sweep Bentley

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One weekend. Two comebacks. Two victories.

With minutes left in Friday's game against Bentley, fans at Pegula Ice Arena watched intently as their team tried to bring the score to a tie.

The Lions, who were trailing, 2-1, fired off shot after shot in that third period, desperately trying to avoid their first loss on home ice this season.

In a matter of seconds, the Lions completely turned their fate. Two late goals helped the team edge out the Falcons, 3-2, for the second consecutive night.

"I really give the guys a lot of credit because for the third period, when things weren't going well in the third period they really buckled down," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I think our shots were 22-7 in the third, and we looked a lot more like the Penn State hockey team that we expect. That was a really, really big win."

With a little over four minutes remaining, the Lions found themselves on the power play, which proved to be the catalyst for the team.

A power play goal by Taylor Holstrom, followed by a second even-strength tally by Eric Scheid, propelled the team to victory.

"We got a chance on the power play, and we were looking to shoot," explained Holstrom. "Jense [Nate Jensen] faked everyone out and made a play to Rocket [Dylan Richard]. Rocket threw a pass in the middle, and I just shot as hard as I could. I don't know where it went actually, but we were just trying to get shots, and it went in."

Taylor Holstrom, who leads the Lions in points with 11, is also currently tied for third in scoring and first in assists in the nation. His goal changed the dynamic of the game, setting up the perfect storm for the second comeback-win in team history.

Merely 16 seconds after Holstrom's equalizer, Scheid found the puck on his stick and took a chance. He used his Penn State hockey mentality, and threw the puck at the net, hoping for a positive result.

Positive was an understatement.

Scheid's shot hit the crossbar, bounced over the shoulder of Bentley's goaltender and into the back of the net.

"It feels really good to be on the other side of one of these games," said Scheid. "We've been part of a lot of games where we've kind of given up leads in the third, and the third's really haunting us lately. To be able to come back both nights and get a win, it feels pretty good. We're all pretty excited."

The back-to-back third period comebacks highlight an increase in confidence for the Lions, which they have struggled with in past games.

They are also signs of increased mental toughness in the team.

"We've asked the team to identify that we had some mental toughness issues when we were up in the third, and this weekend we had two opportunities going in down in the third," said Gadowsky. "I think they came through with flying colors. This was our largest deficit of the year, and we were able to overcome that and win in pretty dramatic fashion.

"It is a big, big win. I mean I give the guys a lot of credit, mostly for being able to play a good, solid Penn State hockey when it mattered most, and then obviously to win it is impressive as well."

Skoff's Performance

Goaltender Matthew Skoff faced 61 Bentley shots during the series, significantly less than the 103 his teammates fired off, but his performance was yet again key for the Lions. He made kick saves, glove saves and stick saves when needed but remained patient when the action in his end slowed.

The junior's composure led the Blue and White to two Halloween weekend victories, and the team's second sweep at Pegula Ice Arena.

"I thought it was a really, really tough game for him," said head coach Guy Gadowsky of Skoff's Thursday performance. "I really did. Getting 26 shots and letting in two, no one's going to say, 'Boy he stole the show.' But I'll tell you what, that was a tough game to play because he didn't get a ton of work, but he had to face a lot of different looks on the power play and then a lot of really quality chances."

The Falcons' two Thursday goals came on the power play, which is one of their team's biggest strengths.

The story was much the same the following evening as Bentley tallied both their Friday goals on the man-advantage as well.

In multiple instances, Skoff bailed out the Lions with incredible saves, keeping them in the game. His play speaks for itself, as he proves time and time again his importance to this team.


"He's on," said Gadowsky. "These are very important games for us. He deserves it [the starting position] through what he's done this year and last year and how he is as a teammate, his work ethic. He deserves it."    

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Bentley (10/31)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This evening, the Nittany Lions finish their series against Bentley.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Bentley (10/31/14)
 

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Bentley (10/30)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This evening, the Nittany Lions take on Bentley.


Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Bentley (10/30/14)
 

Skoff and the Lions Look to Continue Success Against Bentley

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's no "I" in team, which is a concept goaltender Matthew Skoff is quick to recognize.

This season, Skoff has led his team to three victories, two draws and one loss. He has stopped 163 shots and allows an average of only 1.96 goals per game.

Even with his impressive play, the junior credits his two 2014-'15 Big Ten weekly honors, the second of which came following this past weekend's performance, to the entire team.

"I think it's indicative of how well the team's playing right now," Skoff said of his third star honor. "The team is playing really well. When individuals on a team have success it's more or less likely because the team is playing really well."

Through the first six games, the Lions have scored 25 goals and allowed only 12. The team is a cumulative plus-35, and 14 different Lions have found the back of the net.

Penn State is clicking.

"I think everyone believes in each other a lot more," explained the goalie. "Everyone came back basically. We are playing well, and I think the reason being is last year we really started picking up at the end of the year."

"Then this year, I think we're kind of rolling into the next season. Right now, we're taking it one game at a time, and it's worked so far. We just have to keep that attitude."

Skoff's team mentality was a driving force in his offseason preparations.

The junior took all the necessary steps to put himself in a position to succeed by both working with the team's strength coach throughout the summer months and by attending an NHL development camp with the San Jose Sharks.

"He obviously put in the work both physically and mentally to be able to play at a very high level out of the gates," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "We're very happy to see that. We're not at all surprised to see it because of how he ended up last year but very happy to see it."

Despite his efforts this summer, Skoff feels there is always room for improvement.

"Every summer I try to prepare the same way, no matter what," the goalie said. "We all had a good summer. A lot of us stayed back here and worked with each other, but I'm not going to say I'm playing outstanding. I can always get better and the same with the team."

Looking forward, Penn State (3-1-2) is ready to take on Bentley (3-2-0) this Thursday.

The game, which comes just four days after their last contest, gives the Lions a limited amount of preparation time. Nevertheless, the Blue and White are on a roll, and they want to keep things moving.

"I think the team's playing well, and I think when you're playing well it's important to get more and more games under your belt," Skoff said. "Hopefully, like I said earlier, we're just going to hopefully keep this rolling because the more and more games you play, the more and more you get comfortable with each other."

Bentley is fresh off an away sweep of Rensselaer, where the team scored a total of nine goals and held RPI to only two.

Even with Penn State's early offensive explosion, the team knows these games will be hard fought.

"I know they score a lot of goals," said Gadowsky. "They don't necessarily pepper the net, but they score a lot of goals. We're scoring quite a few ourselves. I think we're right around four, and they're at 3.8, something like that. They're just behind us. So they score a lot of goals and they just swept RPI at RPI, which is a tough place to play. I know they're playing very well right now."

Knowing Bentley's strengths will help the Lions in their final home series of the fall semester.

"They had some good teams the past couple of years, so we're not going to take them lightly," Skoff said of Bentley. "We're going to treat it like every other game. We're going to come in and do our best to put up a W."

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Lions Dominate in First Series Sweep at Pegula

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the clock wound down and the horn sounded Sunday afternoon, the Penn State men's ice hockey team jumped onto the ice in celebration.

The Lions had not only just emerged victoriously over Holy Cross, but they also earned their first series sweep at Pegula Ice Arena.

Friday night, the Lions (3-1-2) came away with a 3-1 win over the Crusaders (1-4-1). Following a day of rest, the Blue and White turned in an even more dominant performance in the second game, defeating Holy Cross, 7-1.

"Both of these, we came into the third in a tight game and ended up pulling away," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I thought that's a big step. Obviously, you don't get a grade for mental toughness on two games alone, but it certainly is a nice step to show the guys they can have confidence and they can do it."

Over the course of the weekend, the Lions saw goals from seven different student-athletes. Casey Bailey, Eric Scheid and Scott Conway accounted for six of the 10 goals scored.

"They don't write up how the goal is on the score sheet, so pretty much just getting your name on there is good, but I think having those pretty ones definitely gives you confidence," Bailey said following Sunday's game. "I think, for our line, that was a full line goal. It gives our line confidence. I mean, obviously to get that one off Conway's back is huge for him, and Loik's power play goal was probably a good step in the right direction."

Richard - No Goal

Even with an array of scoring, the Lions had a tough break Friday evening.

As the first period was coming to an end, Dylan Richard made a beautiful play, kept his focus on the net and beat the Crusaders' goalie, appearing to break up the scoreless game.

Moments later, the officials reviewed the call, disallowed the goal and sent Richard to the box for goaltender interference.

"That was a weird play, but I guess I got it around our blue line," explained Richard. "It was nice back pressure by Rick [DeRosa] and Scooter [Conway] there. I mean, I just chipped it by the D-man, made a slip passed him, opened the net and tucked it around the goalie.

"I didn't think I interfered with him enough to cause a penalty and disallow the goal, but I know that's a point of emphasis this year with the refs. It's a tough break, but we managed. I was just laughing because it's a tough break and you can't do much about it."

Gadowsky's thoughts on the disallowed goal were clear. The coach was very animated when discussing the play with the referees as he tried to understand why his team was suddenly on the penalty kill for what he believed to be a beautiful play.

"The explanation was that right now in the NCAA, a point of emphasis is goaltender interference," Gadowsky said. "The explanation was that Dylan Richard interfered with the goaltender. I don't agree with that at all, and I'm very anxious to see what the league says about it after they see the tape. To me, that was probably the prettiest goal we've scored all year."

Conway - First NCAA Goal


Quickly skating into the offensive zone during the third period of Sunday afternoon's game, Scott Conway had the puck on his stick and determination on his side.

The forward, who had already notched two assists, was hungry for his first collegiate goal.

He skated at the defender, pushing the puck left while moving right, and then took off toward the Holy Cross net. Conway placed the puck perfectly in the upper corner, giving Penn State a four-goal lead.

"I remember getting the pass from [Eric] Scheid as I tried to split the D there," explained Conway. "I didn't quite do it, so I just tried to beat the guy so I could just try to push it forward. Then he got confused, I think, and couldn't find the puck.

"I ended up on the puck side. The goalie slid over a little too far, so I brought it back to the other side and luckily it went in."

Mere minutes later, the freshman buried a second goal on the power play, sealing Holy Cross's fate and the series sweep.

In a game filled with impressive goal scoring by all, Conway's first NCAA goal did not disappoint.

"That was actually a big time goal," said Gadowsky. "He's got such quick hands and a real hunger to score. You saw it on that play. That was a big time goal."

Conway turned in a four-point performance in the series' second game, giving Penn State fans a glimpse of his skill level and hockey sense.

Friedman - First Goal Against an NCAA Team

Senior Jacob Friedman laced up his skates and took the ice Sunday for his first game of the season.

He was sure to make the most of his ice time.

Just over two minutes after celebrating Conway's tally, fans in Pegula Ice Arena once again rose to their feet to applaud another goal, Friedman's first against an NCAA Division I team.

"You can't find a better locker room guy, and I think there's not a guy on the team that doesn't love him," said Bailey of his teammate. "I think when you see a guy like that who is always working hard, he does everything the coach asks and he finally gets one in after all these years of trying. I think he's had all the opportunities, plays well, and I think it gets the guys excited for sure."

Friedman's last Nittany Lion goal came during the 2012-'13 season. Last year, he posted two assists.

Holding the puck Friedman scored with in his hands, Gadowsky could not say enough about the team's excitement for the senior.

"It's not often the bench goes nuts in a 5-1, 6-1 game, but the bench was so pumped for him," Gadowsky said. "He is just such a tremendous teammate and such a tremendous person. I guarantee every guy on the team was so excited for him, more than even when they score themselves.

"The whole team was just so pumped that he scored. He's such a great person. He's such a great teammate. That was awesome to see."

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Holy Cross (10/26)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This afternoon, the Nittany Lions close their series against Holy Cross.


Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Holy Cross (10/26/14)
 

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Holy Cross (10/24)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. Tonight, the Nittany Lions open their series with Holy Cross at Pegula Ice Arena.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Holy Cross (10/24/14)
 

Goodwin and the Lions Look to Bounce Back at Pegula

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Pressure is nothing new for David Goodwin.

Ending last season second in scoring for the Nittany Lions, the sophomore knows expectations for this season are high, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I'm looked upon to put the puck in the net and to help other people put the puck in the net," the forward said. "I think there's always, at whatever level or whatever age I am, there's going to be pressure, but I like it. I like being one of the guys that's looked upon. Hopefully I can have another good year."

To prepare for his second year donning the Blue and White, the sophomore put forth the extra effort during the offseason, working on the little things that will help to further elevate his level of play.

With four points in four game this season, Goodwin has not disappointed.

"My conditioning was probably my biggest thing," said Goodwin of what he needed to improve. "Obviously with playing consistently, you need to be at your best shape you can, so that was a big point of emphasis for me and on my shot.

"I want to be able to score from further out. I feel like I'm pretty good around the net, making quick plays and banging home rebounds, but I want to be able to score from father out and hopefully get a few more."

The forward will look to add to his scoring this weekend, as the team returns home to take on Holy Cross.

Playing at Pegula Ice Arena brings excitement to the entire program, student-athletes and coaches alike, and it seems to add an extra spark to Goodwin's game. Of his 18 points last season, 11 were earned at home in front of Penn State fans.

This year is no different, as the sophomore has already racked up two goals and two assists while playing in Happy Valley.

"All those points have come from playing here at Pegula, so I love playing here," Goodwin said. "There's no secret. Last year, a good chunk of my points came from playing here in front of our fans.

"I just think trying to be consistent, whether it be at home or on the road, just trying to play consistently and just being a good linemate and trying to make plays out there is the key."

Friday, Sunday Holy Cross Series

As Goodwin and the Nittany Lions (1-1-2) prepare to take on Holy Cross (1-2-1), they know they have to account for an unusual schedule.

Instead of the typical Friday and Saturday evening games, the two teams will face off on Friday night and Sunday afternoon due to Penn State's home football game.

"We actually offered a Thursday, Friday scenario, and Holy Cross, under the reason of academics, wanted it to be a Friday, Sunday," explained head coach Guy Gadowsky. "They actually made the move."

While the Lions are looking to bounce back from their draw and loss in Alaska, the Crusaders are looking to build off last weekend's success. Holy Cross is fresh off its series with AIC, games in which the team went 1-0-1.

PSU_HolyCross_Graphic.jpg The added day of rest in this series may be a blessing in disguise for the Lions, who have recently been battling a string of injuries, the most serious of which include the laceration David Thompson sustained in Alaska and a back injury that will leave Jonathan Milley out indefinitely.

To succeed this weekend, the Lions will not only need to battle through these losses, but they will also need to stay confident, composed and mentally tough.

"There are certain things that we do that are our objectives that when it comes down to the most crucial times, we have to know 100 percent that those things are going to happen," Gadowsky said. "Right now, and I'm not going to go into the people that aren't there yet, but quite honestly that's not happening at the most crucial times.

"We're doing them for a longer period of time, but when it matters most we have to know 100 percent that those objectives are gong to be met. Right now, they're not, so it's not just a matter of winning. I think it's really coming up with a plan that in those crucial times X, Y and Z are absolutely going to happen."

Even with some of the team's mental blocks, Goodwin knows he and his teammates can overcome the issues with time. The Lions are hopeful they can begin taking the necessary steps this weekend.

"I think the confidence is there," said Goodwin. "It's just mental toughness, and those few little mistakes can creep up whenever. I just think it's something we're going to work on, and I'm sure we'll get better."

The Lions and the Crusaders will open their series 7 p.m. Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Nittany Lions Draw and Fall to Alaskan Teams in Brice Goal Rush

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions arrived in Fairbanks last Wednesday, after traveling 4,160 miles, ready to compete in the Brice Goal Rush tournament against Alaska Anchorage and Alaska for the first time in program history.

Friday night, Penn State (1-1-2) and Alaska Anchorage (3-0-1) reached a 3-3 tie following overtime, and after allowing two third-period goals in the final minutes of Saturday's game, the Lions were defeated, 4-3, by Alaska (4-0).

Although the team made the 4,160 mile journey back home with a tie and its first loss of the season in hand, head coach Guy Gadowsky is happy with the overall effort.

"For the most part, I thought we performed well," Gadowsky said. "We were ahead in the third both nights. In one we let them come back, and in the other game we lost. That's certainly a maturation process that we have to go through, but I'm very optimistic that we'll get it quickly because we had to go through that last year."

Moving forward, the Lions will need to dig deep and find ways to hold off the opposition in the final minutes of play, which is a not a new concept for the team.

"I thought we played pretty well until the last five, ten minutes of both games," said senior Max Gardiner. "We have to find a way to win those games. Come Big Ten play, we're going to be playing good teams every night. Those are the types of games we're going to be in. To be successful in the Big Ten, we're going to have to find a way to win those games."

While the results were not what the Lions were striving toward, the team once again found success on the power play. The Blue and White scored three goals with the man advantage throughout the course of the weekend, two against Alaska Anchorage and one against Alaska.

The team also received its first five-minute power play, which it took full advantage of.

"I think one of the goals is to always score on a five-minute major," Gadowsky said. "That's the first five-minute major power play that we've had. We've given up eight. When you get a five-minute power play, it certainly looks good.

"I think it's a little bit of a factor of we're focused more on it than we were last year because we're further in our process, and I think we're putting ourselves in better positions by just making better decision all around. We're on the power play instead of killing, which is very much opposite last year."

Gardiner, who had not recorded a point since November of last year, scored the Lion's goal on the five-minute penalty.

"It was a beautiful goal, and it's funny because he was playing extremely well, very well in his own end," Gadowsky said of Gardiner. "He made really good decisions, so to see him score a goal, and such a beauty, was really great."

Bailey and Scheid Return to Alaska

While this trip was the first to Alaska for the majority of the Lions, Casey Bailey, an Alaska native, and Eric Scheid, a former student-athlete at Alaska Anchorage, both made their returns to the state.

Even with the bit of added pressure, both forwards did their best to contribute.

"I actually thought they both played very well," Gadowsky said. "Casey scored, and Eric Scheid led our team in shots Friday night. I thought both of them played extremely well."

Against his former team, Scheid won eight of his nine faceoffs and tallied six shots. His lone goal of the weekend came the following night when the team took on the Nanooks.

Bailey, who had the opportunity to play in front of his family and friends, scored Friday night, which allowed him to settle in and focus on the games at hand.

"It was definitely a lot of fun," Bailey said of playing in his home state. "It was a little bit nerve wracking the first night, but I think after the first period or so I calmed down. I was excited to be able to see all my family and friends. They were pretty enthusiastic about being able to watch me play, so it was a good weekend."

Thompson Injury

Friday evening also marked a scary experience for the Lions, especially for defenseman David Thompson. With 3:32 left in the overtime period against Alaska Anchorage, Thompson required medical assistance for an abdominal laceration and was ultimately take off the ice on a stretcher.

Luckily, the defenseman's injury could have been much worse. Thompson was taken to the local hospital for stiches, but Gadowsky is confident he will be back on the ice shortly.

"Yeah, he's going to be great," said Gadowsky of Thompson. "He's going to be fine. They took really good care of him. It was scary at the start, and we took every precaution, but he's going to be back at 100 percent very soon."

Alaskan Adventures

When not at the rink, the team made the most of exploring Alaska and experiencing all Fairbanks had to offer.

The Lions took a trip to Eielson Air Force Base and were given a private tour by Penn State hockey alumnus Maj. Joe Bassett.

"I think every one of our student-athletes won't forget their Alaskan experience," Gadowsky said. "I think it opened their eyes a little bit. I think it was different.

"We had a chance to meet one of our hockey alumni that works as a fighter pilot at Eielson Air Force Base, which was a great experience. Overall, obviously we would have loved to have won, but the overall experience I think was excellent."