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2015-16 Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. St. Lawrence (10/29/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage from the 2015-16 Nittany Lion men's hockey season. Penn State hosts No. 16 St. Lawrence in Pegula Ice Arena during the first of a two-game series this week.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. St. Lawrence (10-29-15)

Autio and Pedrie Find Synergy and Success

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The dynamic duo of sophomore Erik Autio and freshman Vince Pedrie have found their footing on defense this season.

Autio and Pedrie have stood out on the ice, based on both their individual successes and their performance as a pair.

This past weekend in a series of wins against AIC; Autio notched his first goal of the 2015-16 campaign, and had an assist.

"It's kind of great to get that off my back this early," said Autio. "Last year I went to like February when I think to get my goal, so it definitely gets a load off my back."

Pedrie has also found his way onto the box score. Pedrie has contributed two assists this season and also leads all Nittany Lions defensemen on shots on goal with 19.

"I think it's kind of what I was brought here to do," said Pedrie. "It's just something I try to do which is shoot the puck at the net as much as I can and I hope to continue that."

Autio explained the secret to finding chemistry with another player on defense is the ability to communicate, but also being able to feed off of the other player's movement on the ice.

"We both try and join the rush a little bit on the play, get some shots on net, and I think it kind of helps us out because we both know where we're going when we're going toward the offensive zone," said Autio.

As a defensive pairing, both players prefer to play a similar style of hockey. As a result, they are able to anticipate one another's actions and know where they need to be when the other joins in on a play. Their ability to anticipate the actions of the other has resulted in both players having a plus-3 rating for the season so far.

"I'm more offensive-minded like Erik," said Pedrie. "I like hopping in the rush, but I know if I see Erik jumping in then I know to hold back or if he holds back then I know to go. I think we just read off each other well in that style and it's a lot of fun to play this way."

The duo has been paired in all five games this season, a partnership both players agree has worked well for them and has allowed each of them to play to their best abilities by feeding off of the other player.

"I enjoy playing with Vince," said Autio. "I think we have good chemistry and we both are offensively minded, so it works."

Autio and Pedrie have also taken advantage of learning from the older members of the team, especially fellow defensemen.  

"I look up to Luke [Juha] and Connor [Varley] and the older guys like [Mike Williamson and David Thompson]," said Pedrie. "They're just great guys to look up to and see how hard they work off the ice. I think just the culture of our locker room it's not just the upperclassmen, but everyone really, they push everyone on and off the ice to be the best."

Looking forward to the upcoming series, when No. 16 St. Lawrence visits Pegula Ice Arena, the young defensive pairing will once again be tested. Pedrie explained the pair has changes they would like to make during this weekend's games.

"I'd say our own zone is something we could work on," said Pedrie. "We could clean up our play in our own zone, and limit our shots against when we're on the ice and try to put up a couple points each would be nice."

Autio and Pedrie know their successes so far stem from their abilities to communicate and work as a pair, and these games will be no different. When they don the Blue and White this week the two will be looking to defend their net and further define their roles as playmakers.

"It's fun playing with Erik," said Pedrie. "We seem to kind of find each other all over the ice and read off each other really well, it's kind of like we've been playing together for 10 years almost, it's been great."

Nittany Lions Get First Sweep of Season

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's hockey team (4-1-0) completed a sweep of AIC (0-5-0) over the weekend with an 8-3 win on Friday night and a 5-3 triumph on Saturday afternoon.

Pegula Ice Arena erupted into cheers as soon as the Nittany Lions took to the ice Friday night. By the end of the evening, freshman Chase Berger would net two goals and have two assists, while fellow freshman Andrew Sturtz would net his first and second collegiate career goals during an offensive onslaught.

"It was a big load off the back for sure," said Sturtz about his first collegiate goal. "...I was lucky enough to get by the defenseman and get one on net and it felt great."

Berger also displayed confidence on the ice Friday night. Berger's first goal of the game set the tone for the rest of the dominant and high-scoring weekend for the Nittany Lions.

"Curtis [Loik] made a really nice play, tipped it, and then saw me kind of back door, it looked like [AIC's] D-man got his stick on it, so I just started whacking away," said Berger.

The eight goals for the Nittany Lions on Friday night set a new record in Penn State history, previously surpassing the seven-goal record set during the 2014-15 season.  

On Saturday afternoon the Nittany Lions fell behind to start off the game against the Yellow Jackets, but quickly found their footing thanks to veteran leadership and a dominant performance from the freshman class.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky was asked if he ever felt nervous falling behind by two goals to start the game Saturday.

"...It was a big goal at the end of the first [to get the 3-2 lead], I think Berger got a dirty one." said Gadowsky. "But before that I really didn't feel it at all, I think the guys acted as a pretty mature group even though we were down two-nothing."

For the third time on the weekend, a shot by Berger would find the back of the net, this time propelling the team into the lead with confidence. Berger's performance is something he wasn't expecting of his weekend but is something he's looking forward to building off of.

Two seniors also returned to the lineup for the Nittany Lions: Eric Scheid was back after an injury and Luke Juha returned after illness. The return of such a veteran presence fueled the Nittany Lions over the weekend with constant leadership presence.

"It felt good [to be back]," said Scheid. "It's always good to get the first one out of the way, first weekend as well."

Scheid had one goal and one assist during Saturday's game.

As for the bigger picture, the freshman class has made an immediate impact this season. The eight young players have all seen playing time and continue to improve every game it seems. In a season where Penn State has been hindered by injuries, it's refreshing to have the newest class come in ready to run.

"I think the timing is really big because obviously we're missing a David Glen and that's a huge loss to us in all aspects: leaderships, little things, the face off circle, offensively, I mean a huge loss, so seeing them step up in a time we really need them is a huge bonus for the team right now," said Gadowsky.

Gadowsky went on to explain that although this weekend was important for evaluating the young players' performance, it's also too early in the season to start leaning too much on certain players or expecting too much of the freshman class.

"We're optimistic, but the season is young," said Gadowsky.

Penn State will have a quick turnaround before a two-game series against St. Lawrence beginning on Thursday in Pegula Ice Arena.

2015-16 Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. AIC (10/24/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage from the 2015-16 Nittany Lion men's hockey season. Penn State hosts AIC in Pegula Ice Arena during the finale of a two-game series this weekend.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. AIC (10/24/15)

2015-16 Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. AIC (10/23/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage from the 2015-16 Nittany Lion men's hockey season. Penn State welcomes AIC to Pegula Ice Arena for the first of a two-game series this weekend.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. AIC (10/23/15)

AIC Visits Hockey Valley for First Time Since Inaugural Weekend

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's been 1,105 days since Penn State men's hockey took the ice in its first Division I game. This weekend the Nittany Lions will face AIC, the first team Penn State played as a varsity program back in 2012.

On Oct. 12, 2012, the Nittany Lions skated in their first Division I game inside Greenberg Ice Pavilion against the Yellow Jackets. The night would end in an overtime loss for the Nittany Lions, but the new program wouldn't let their first loss get to them. The next night, this time in Wilkes-Barre, the Nittany Lions would rally past the Yellow Jackets in an overtime win, 4-3.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky remembers those two games very well, and fondly reminisced on how Penn State fought that weekend for the program's first win.

"I remember the weekend was very tight," said Gadowsky. "I think both were overtime games and obviously what I remember most was the tremendous goal from David Glen from Kenny Brooks and Curtis Loik and that was a tremendous goal and the first win for us was great, so I definitely remember that."

David Glen, now a senior and captain this season, propelled the Nittany Lions to their first win in program history with his overtime game winning shot, assisted by fellow seniors Kenny Brooks and Curtis Loik.

Senior Connor Varley remembers the program's first game in Greenberg Ice Pavilion well and the significance it will have for the senior class this weekend.

"Just the excitement honestly," said Varley. "I think everyone was really excited for the first Division I game here at Penn State. It's amazing that it's been three years already so obviously it was a really memorable moment for our program."

In the days since that weekend, Penn State has not faced AIC on the ice. This weekend will bring the senior class down memory lane against a team they only saw their freshman year.

"I never really thought of it when they were on the schedule but you're right, for the seniors that we have now, their first Division I game was against AIC and here we come full circle and in a new building and we'll see if they've learned anything," said Gadowsky. 

Gadowsky is excited to play AIC this weekend and show them how Penn State hockey has grown in the three years since the two teams met.

"When we played AIC before it was in Greenberg, it was still a very good atmosphere but it was in Greenberg, and then we played them in a neutral site game, which was in Wilkes-Barre," said Gadowsky. "So I think the big difference is they're going to come here and see what a great arena we have, what a tremendous atmosphere and I think that's going to be the biggest difference."

Penn State hockey has come a long way since their first season, even if it's only been three years.

"It's really flown by and there's been tons of great memories, a lot of big milestones for our program," said Varley. "It's been great to be a part of." 

As for this weekend against AIC, the Nittany Lions are looking to build off their successful win this past Saturday against Notre Dame.

Varley, along with the other seniors, is looking forward to this weekend, not only playing AIC but also using every minute of ice time to get better as a team.

"I think week-by-week we're just trying to build on what Penn State hockey is, build our foundation, so as we go along by the time we get to the tournament we'll be at, you know, 100 percent," said Varley.

Penn State hosts AIC on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.


Kerr Deepens Pennsylvania Roots for Nittany Lions

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11417782.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman Kevin Kerr has experienced early success on the ice in his first few games as a Nittany Lion. Kerr, who hails from outside of Philadelphia, is one of seven players on the Penn State roster from the Keystone State who hope that Penn State will be a standard for the sport of hockey in Pennsylvania.

Kerr, who is from Bensalem, northeast of Philadelphia, is just one of many thousands of Pennsylvanians who can trace their familial roots to the University.

"For me, I grew up and I was always a big Penn State fan my whole life," said Kerr. "I have many family connections to the school."

When asked about if he ever envisioned himself playing hockey for the Nittany Lions, Kerr explained he didn't ever think it would be possible during his time in college. The Nittany Lions did not have a Division I hockey program until the 2012-13 season.

"Obviously growing up they didn't have the Division I program yet," said Kerr. "To find out they were getting the program and a new arena and everything, it was amazing. It all just fell into place."

The defenseman, who has played in all three games this season, commented that playing college hockey in his home state is something special for him.

"It means a lot to play for a Pennsylvania team," said Kerr. "I get people talking to me all the time from home and I have a lot of friends who go here, so those guys come to the games and things like that."

With the addition of several Pennsylvania recruits this season, head coach Guy Gadowsky hopes to attract future Nittany Lions from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and everywhere in between.  Both cities have large populations of youth hockey players and established youth club programs. 

"The better that we do, the easier recruiting is going to be both inside Pennsylvania and outside of Pennsylvania," said Gadowsky.

Kerr added that attracting Pennsylvanians is important to the program.

"A lot of people from home, when the program started kind of questioned how the new program would go," said Kerr. "But with how well the team has progressed over the years and the program, it's taken a big step forward, it's a big honor to be from Pennsylvania and play for this program now."

For Kerr, his freshman season will see several firsts for the young player.  Kerr notched his first point against Canisius, an assist on David Glenn's second period power play goal.  His second point, also an assist on the power play, came on Alec Marsh's goal against Notre Dame last Saturday. 

As far as the rest of his freshman season goes, Kerr is excited to play in front of a familiar crowd of friends and family when the Nittany Lions head to Philadelphia in November.  

"For me Wells-Fargo has been circled on my schedule for a while now, " said Kerr. "Any time you can play in the stadium you grew up since you were little watching the Flyers play in is going to be cool."

Many of his immediate and extended family members will be in attendance when the Nittany Lions take on Vermont as part of the Philadelphia College Faceoff Challenge in Philadelphia.

"[My family has] already been talking about that with tickets and everything and trying to get everyone there," said Kerr.

When asked about the future of the sport of hockey in Pennsylvania, Kerr hopes the addition of a successful Division I program will attract younger players to the sport.

"Hockey has always been big," said Kerr. "But now that there's a team in Pennsylvania there's going to be a lot of guys from the Pittsburgh area and from around me in Philadelphia who will see the success of the Penn State and hopefully pick it up. Them being able to watch the program and see it on the Big Ten Network, I think just the exposure will do a lot for the sport."

Veterans Lead Nittany Lions To Success

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11415267.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After struggling to find its momentum during a Friday night loss to Notre Dame, Penn State came back with a fighting spirit to knock off the Irish Saturday, 5-3.

Notre Dame (1-1-0) gave Penn State (2-1-0) a challenging start to their home game slate, but the Nittany Lions were ready for the task in front of a boisterous home crowd.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky was impressed with how well his team handled the pressure from Notre Dame, an opponent Penn State has never faced in prior seasons. Gadowsky noted that veterans stepping up and leading the team came as a source of stability this weekend.

Senior forward Kenny Brooks stood out with his three assists on Saturday. The stat propelled Brooks into the top spot on the team for assists through the first two weeks.

"When he's playing well and moving his feet, getting pucks on net he has that ability to produce offensively," said Gadowsky.

In Gadowsky's mind, many players stepped up in attempts to overcome the loss of Friday night. Junior forward Dylan Richard made an impression on the coaching staff for his selfless efforts during Saturday's game.

"I think a lot of them [stepped up]," said Gadowsky. "I think one thing that was really nice to see, I don't know if you saw at the end Dylan Richard, you know you're on a power play and they pull the goalie that's a great opportunity to get a goal and for him to work as hard as he did and then come off the ice, he could have easily stayed on and probably gotten the puck and easily scored a goal."

Gadowsky credits this sort of leadership, as something the team consistently needs in order to feed off of for the rest of the season.

"I think he showed a ton of leadership by coming off and changing for a fresh guy, which was Curtis Loik, who had fresh legs, who got a goal," said Gadowsky. "It's really encouraging to the coaching staff to see that kind of selfless play for the team."

Eamon McAdam spent all 60 minutes in net for the Nittany Lions on Saturday. His poise between the pipes helped him accumulate 30 saves by the end of night.

"I think I played a pretty solid game," said McAdam. "They got a couple bounces and I was pretty happy with the way I battled back from things I couldn't really control."

McAdam also credited his defensemen for making his time in net a little easier Saturday night.

"I think the team played phenomenal the whole game," said McAdam "And then [Notre Dame] had some chances late and I felt like I made some big saves, and that's all I could really ask for, keep the team in the game."

Another standout performance of the weekend came from freshman Chase Berger, who had 4 shots on net and one goal in the win over Notre Dame. Berger, who plays on a line with seniors Curtis Loik and Kenny Brooks said the ability to play with such veteran members of the team has been a vital part of his success this season so far.

"For me personally coming in as a freshman it's great playing on a line with two seniors," said Berger. "They kind of play like me where they're a bigger body and kind of like to get it down low. I think we play a similar game where we keep it simple and moves the puck and crash the net hard."

Berger was impressed by his first home game weekend in Pegula Ice Arena and credited the atmosphere for pushing Penn State to its win Saturday.

"Personally I haven't played here before, before this crowd, and I think when the crowd gets going after we score one goal it just gets like electric on the ice," said Berger. "Everybody is really excited and more confident and you can just feel the ball start to roll the other way. So once you get one and everyone just gets confident, everybody's going and the atmosphere is just nuts." 

2015-16 Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Notre Dame (10/17/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage from the 2015-16 Nittany Lion men's hockey season. Tonight, Penn State opens its home season against Notre Dame in Pegula Ice Arena.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Notre Dame (10/17/15)

2015-16 Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Notre Dame (10/16/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage from the 2015-16 Nittany Lion men's hockey season. Tonight, Penn State opens its home season against Notre Dame in Pegula Ice Arena.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Notre Dame (10/16/15)