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Rested Nittany Lions Ready for Michigan State

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By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 16 Penn State will travel to East Lansing, Michigan for its final regular season road series of the year in a crucial matchup against Michigan State.

Penn State is coming off a bye week that couldn't have come at a better time. Following a physical series with top-ranked Notre Dame nine days ago, the Nittany Lions capitalized on some extra time off this past week, getting a head start in preparing for their upcoming series with the Spartans.

"We worked really hard during the week," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "Friday was a really good day in the weight room and on the ice for us. The rest was both well earned and well needed."

For the Nittany Lions, the week off allowed for both added practice and some extra recovery before jumping back into competition.

"We're looking forward to another good week this week," Gadowsky said. "There are four really big games left in the conference and we hope this break helps."

Senior defensemen Trevor Hamilton noted the Nittany Lions took full advantage of the bye week.

"It's a huge advantage for us right now," Hamilton said. "We're going through some struggles with everyone getting sick and injured, so it's definitely nice to relax and just take care of some maintenance things."

Hamilton, who grew up not far from East Lansing in Grosse Pointe Farms, is looking forward to the opportunity to return home and play in front of his friends and family.

"It's always fun going back to Michigan," Hamilton said. "My family usually can't come out here to watch me play, so it's nice to be able to go see them. I'm really excited."

Hamilton has seen success against Michigan State this year, having scored a game-tying goal with :34 seconds remaining in the final game of the series at Pegula Ice Arena in late November. He also added an assist in game one the night before.

Penn State took the first game of the Michigan State series, 7-2, tying a season-high mark for goals. Despite the earlier success against the Spartans, Penn State isn't taking anything for granted headed down the stretch of the regular season. 

"No game is easy in the Big Ten," Hamilton said. "This year it has been one of the best conferences in hockey. We realize what's at hand here with the last four regular season games."

Gadowsky noted a point of emphasis for the team this weekend is getting shots on net. Penn State's ability to create chances was evident against Notre Dame, as the Nittany Lions rattled off a combined 108 shots over the course of the weekend.

"We were able to generate consistent chances on offense for most of the periods of that weekend and that's something we'd love to see going forward," Gadowsky said. "Obviously we played a great goaltender, but if we play that way and get those chances, we feel good about what can happen.
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Behind the Scenes with Penn State's Assistant Coaches

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By Erin Neri, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant coaches Matt Lindsay and Keith Fisher have been an integral part of the Nittany Lion hockey team since the very beginning, making an obvious impact on the program along the way.

From on-ice responsibilities to the Nittany Lion recruiting operation, the pair of Penn State assistants have a big part in not only day-to-day operations, but the future of the team.

Both Fisher and Lindsay coached together in Princeton alongside head coach Guy Gadowsky, where they helped lead the Tigers to two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2009 as well as the 2008 ECAC and Ivy League Championships.

With the trio working together for close to 12 seasons, when Gadowsky was offered the job in Hockey Valley, it was a no-brainer when it came to filling his staff.

"It was a very easy decision for [Fisher and I] when [Gadowsky] was presented the opportunity [at Penn State] and invited us along," Lindsay said. "I don't think I spent more than a minute or two thinking about it, I was 100 percent coming to Penn State to join him."

Lindsay and Keith post an impressive combined 35 years of college and junior hockey coaching experience and have been developing their chemistry together since 2007. 

Both enjoy sharing all the responsibilities that come with being an assistant among themselves, both on and off the ice.

"We're kind of the jack of all trades," Fisher said. "I like how we spread responsibilities around the team, we all take part in everything."

While the college hockey season features competition from October through March, recruiting is a year round affair. With the three coaches the only permitted recruiters and Gadowsky spending significant time with the team, that means much of the recruiting is on the assistants. 

Entailing long hours of traveling and communicating with recruits, both Fisher and Lindsay balance recruiting efforts alongside their team-specific responsibilities. With the talent pool for hockey players continuing to expand into more untraditional areas across the country like California and Florida, recruiting has only become increasingly more difficult on the logistical side, but it has also has yielded big rewards. 

In addition to recruiting within the United States, the door is also open worldwide, spanning Europe and Canada. Penn State has already successfully recruited Nittany Lions internationally from Canada to England, Russia and even Finland. 

"Even now in college hockey, it has become a much more popular spot for Europeans for development," Lindsay said. "You really are casting a really wide net."

Aside from scouring a vast set of potential locations on the recruiting trail, perhaps the most important thing for Fisher and Lindsay is finding prospective recruits who fit into the program's culture. 

"Some of its knowing how we play and knowing what we value and it's not necessarily always easy to see," Lindsay said. "We do a lot of homework in terms of talking to their coach and other coaches in leagues that play against them to put together a general framework of what those kids are all about."

While it takes a special kind of individual to be a Nittany Lion, Lindsay and Fisher have been able to put together strong recruiting classes year after year that have been instrumental in Penn State's success on the ice.

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One unique piece to Penn State and college hockey though, is the potential of an early departure to the NHL.

While a priority is to certainly prepare Nittany Lions for their possible professional careers after Penn State, the staff also has to think about planning ahead to fill positions that could be left open rather unexpectedly.

"That can be a little more difficult from a program standpoint because at the end of the day those decisions don't happen until the spring time and you know when everyone is graduating so you can plan a recruiting class out in that regard," Lindsay said. "With the free agent stuff, especially that can open up some holes you weren't anticipating early on."

Despite the multiple challenges that face these two assistant coaches and the staff as a whole, Penn State has still found a way to continue raising the bar when it comes to program success.

For both Lindsay and Fisher though, they refuse any of the credit for the program's success, rather placing it all on the Nittany Lions who committed here when the program was in some of its earliest stages.

"The special thing about it is, the group of seniors we have now committed here on blueprints," Fisher said. "They had no idea what the Pegula Ice Arena was going to be like and now we can bring recruits to experience it."

Without Fisher and Lindsay, Penn State men's hockey would look very different from what it looks like today. While they have been a key piece when it comes to the past of the program, they continue to shape the future.

"It's been really fun to see the evolution of the program and where we were at five or six years ago and where we are now," Lindsay said. "I think it's excited to try to look ahead and what can we do moving forward to take things a step further." 

Goaltenders Key as Penn State Comeback Falls Short

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By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. In front of the third largest crowd in Pegula Ice Arena history, No. 17 Penn State and No. 2 Notre Dame battled for 65 minutes until the Fighting Irish eventually prevailed victorious in a shootout.

After falling behind by two goals just eight minutes into the first period, the Blue and White fought back with two unanswered goals, including one in the opening minutes of a\ strong second period.

Sophomore forward Liam Folkes, who tied the game two minutes into the second period with his 10th goal of the season, talked about playing from behind early in the game.

"Last night we were up 2-0 and they came back and won, so we were positive about it," Folkes said. "We felt like we could come back just like they did last night."

Head coach Guy Gadowsky was also pleased with how his squad approached the early deficit.

"I was really happy with how the team responded to being down 2-0 early," Gadowsky said.

The Nittany Lion comeback to tie the score was fueled by both aggressiveness and a quick-trigger offense. Coming off a game Friday night in which it had 51 shots, Penn State tallied 57 shots Saturday night against Notre Dam goaltender Cale Morris, including 20 in the second period. The 57 shots tied a season high, as Penn State shot the puck early and often.

"We're on the right track," Folkes said. "I think we outplayed them for sure."

Despite outshooting the second ranked team in the country by 23 shots, Penn State was simply unable to deliver the knockout blow, largely due to the great play of Morris in net. He stopped a penalty shot by Andrew Sturtz with just 1:36 left in overtime and made all three saves in shootouts, doing his part in keeping Notre Dame in the game and Penn State out of the goal column.

"Cale [Morris] had an unbelievable weekend," Folkes said. "He stole two games from us."

Gadowsky was also complimentary of Morris, who allowed only a combined five goals on 106 shots by Penn State this weekend.

"Give him a ton of credit," Gadowsky said. "He played great again."

Penn State's sophomore goalie Peyton Jones, who has been a part of some great battles with Morris in the past, talked postgame about playing against another great goalie.  

"He's a tremendous goaltender," Jones said. "I played him when I was in Midgets and I played against him in the USHL. We battled it out in game five of the series playoffs in the USHL league. He's a great goalie."

Although Jones saw Notre Dame build a quick two-goal lead while his counterpart across the ice continued to make save after save, with no quit.

For Jones, that no-quit attitude all stems from the importance of having a short memory at his position and the ability to bounce back from adversity.

"If you dwell on the goals you give up, it will only lead to worse things ahead," Jones said. "It's definitely not easy to look at the score and see you're down 2-0, but that's a part of being a goalie."

That mindset helped Jones stop 32 shots, matching a great performance from Morris throughout the game.

Jones made some incredible saves down the stretch for Penn State, stopping the first two shooters for Notre Dame in shootouts before the senior defensemen Jordan Gross scored the game-winner.

Penn State has a bye week coming up, but looking ahead, they will travel to East Lansing, Michigan for a series with the Spartans starting February 16.

Nittany Lions Draw Positives Ahead of Series Finale

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By Erin Neri, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No.17 Penn State men's hockey battled in game one of the series, but in the end it was No. 2 ranked Notre Dame emerging victorious. Although the Nittany Lions ultimately lost the outing, they showed promising signs of improvement down the stretch.

"Other than the result, it was a great night," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "Excellent team, phenomenal atmosphere and I just feel really bad that we couldn't pull this one out."

The Nittany Lions started out strong, with the first line working together to put three pucks in the back of the net. Junior assistant captain Chase Berger scored two goals, one in both the first and second periods, both assisted by junior Andrew Sturtz. 

Continuing to experiment with line changes, junior Alec Marsh joined the first line on the left wing. It was Marsh who was able to score the first goal of the game, assisted by Berger and Sturtz, to get the momentum flowing and the crowd going.

"I really like the mentality that [Marsh] has had since Christmas," Gadowsky said. "He came back and you can see it in practice, there's a couple things he has to do to be effective and he [has done those things]."

During pregame warmups, Marsh was one of the first Nittany Lions on the ice and one of the last off. The New Jersey native aggressively skated for the duration of the game, won pucks and got back to help on defense. Not only has the coaching staff noticed Marsh's efforts, but also his fellow teammates. 

"Marsh is great," Berger said. "He's really hard on the forecheck and I think Andrew [Sturtz] and I both love when he keeps his feet moving, gets the puck behind the defense and keeps it simple."

Not only did the first line's success show on the scoreboard, but also in the faceoff circle with Berger and Sturtz combining for 15 wins on the draw. Sturtz led the way earning an impressive 6-2 mark on the night with both of the faceoffs he took in the first period resulting in goals.

Gadowsky pointed out while it isn't completely out of the ordinary to have a forward like Sturtz take a faceoff like he has done before, it was also a strategic move.

"I've had some success against Jake Evans in the faceoff circle in Notre Dame," Sturtz said. "We were going out for the draw and [Berger] said let's try a switch and it worked right off the bat there." 

Penn State now preps for a quick turnaround, set to host Notre Dame in game two of the series in a late afternoon matchup with the focus on playing a full 60 minutes against a consistent team.

 "What matters is we have a tremendous opportunity tomorrow," Gadowsky said. "We have to forget this quickly and just prepare to play our best game more consistently."

Penn State Remaining Optimistic and Confident

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By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coming off a hard-fought road series at No. 18 Wisconsin that resulted in a loss and a tie, No.17 Penn State is staying optimistic and focused on moving forward.

After leaving the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin without a win, despite two highly competitive contests, head coach Guy Gadowsky is not at all disappointed in the play of the Nittany Lions.

"We aren't playing badly," Gadowsky said. "We've done a lot of good things but haven't been able to pull (victories) out. This would be a great weekend to start doing just that."

One point of emphasis for Penn State as it looks to snap its season-high five game winless streak is to improve play in the third period.

"There are a couple of things we need to tighten up and one is our mental toughness in the third period," Gadowsky said. "It's not that we got away from our game plan. It's a matter of very little things right now. The margin between positive results and negative results is very thin."

Having been outscored by Wisconsin a combined 6-1 in the third period over the course of the weekend, correcting this will be crucial for Penn State to get back on track.

"I personally feel it's just a matter of staying mentally tough in the important moments of the game," Gadowsky said. "What we're talking about is momentum." 

After scoring his eighth goal of the season in Saturday night's shootout loss to the Badgers,  junior forward Chase Berger, talked about some struggles in the closing period of games.

"In the third period, we need to nail down our chances and take care of the puck," Berger said. "You have to stay positive about it."

Moving forward, however, the Nittany Lions will turn their attention to No. 2 Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish will visit Pegula Ice Arena this weekend in a pivotal conference showdown. For Gadowsky, facing the second ranked team in the nation amidst an atypical rough stretch is not cause for panic, but instead a golden opportunity.

"This is an opportunity," Gadowsky said. "The tough part about the Big Ten is you have six of the seven teams in the top 20. You're playing an extremely tough opponent every night. The good news of that is when you get them in your house, it's a tremendous opportunity to rise in the standings." 

Berger, who registered an assist in a 5-3 loss at Notre Dame back in November, echoed the optimistic message of his coach.

"It's a great opportunity for us to not only see a really good team, but hopefully take some points from them to prove that we're a really good team," Berger said.

This task is easier said than done as Notre Dame is coming off a 4-1 victory at Minnesota and a 16-game winning streak earlier in the season, currently atop the Big Ten standings.

"Notre Dame is an unbelievable team," Berger said.

Penn State is now tied for fourth in the conference standings with 24 points, just one point behind No.18 Wisconsin.

As the Nittany Lions look to make up ground, Gadowksy acknowledged the importance of this series. 

"This is a big weekend for us on a national level and you have the number one PairWise team coming in," Gadowsky said. "It's Notre Dame coming to play Penn State. I don't care what sport you're playing, that's going to be a big deal."

The Nittany Lions and Fighting Irish will face off in a weekend series beginning Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.

SAAB Hosts Third Annual Lip Sync Battle

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As is tradition, Penn State's Student-Athlete Advisory Board hosted its third annual SAAB Lip Sync Battle to benefit THON at the HUB earlier this week.

A total of nine Nittany Lion teams put on a show in the Freeman Auditorium to benefit Penn State's annual 46-hour dance marathon, which kicks off February 16 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Following a full slate of performances, a panel of esteemed guest judges featuring Penn State sports medicine's Dr. Roberta Millard, Mike Herr or better known around campus as, "Mike the Mailman" and Penn State cheerleader Francis Alvare made their selections.

Penn State's men's swimming team took home the golden microphone this year with their rendition of Flo Rida's "Low." Men's volleyball and women's volleyball finished second and third, respectively.

"We've been working on this since October," said SAAB THON chair Tess Kearns (track and field/cross country). "Teams started signing up right before winter break so that was a lot of fun seeing who was coming together and the acts they were doing."

Nittany Lions Shaking Up Lines

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By Erin Neri, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With only four weeks  between Penn State men's hockey and the Big Ten Tournament, every game is important.

Coming off a hard-fought series on the road at Michigan, the No. 14 Nittany Lions are looking to turn their luck around this weekend, heading back out on the road to No. 18 Wisconsin.

"I think we're in a good spot," junior Chase Berger said. "We're playing some good games coming up and it starts with Wisconsin. We're right in the hunt for the NCAA playoffs and right there for the Big Ten [tournament], so I think for us we're excited about what we have coming here."

Moving forward, a point of emphasis for the Nittany Lions will be the simple task of getting pucks into the back of the net. Although scoring has hardly been a problem for the program this year, Penn State has seen its fair share of goal scoring troubles in its last few outings.

Looking to fix the slump, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky and his staff have had no problem taking some risks and shaking up existing lines.

"You expect when you have guys like Nate Sucese, Denis Smirnov, Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz that aren't getting on the score sheet, you want to switch things up and try to somehow jar things a little bit," Gadowsky said.

That is exactly what took place in Saturday night's series finale against the Wolverines. Every line was tweaked in some way with the exception of the second line, made up of freshmen Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt as well as sophomore Liam Folkes.

Perhaps the most surprising movement came in sophomore Brandon Biro's switch from the third line to the first. Having played alongside his best friend and roommate, Sucese, the duo showed obvious signs of chemistry throughout the season joined by Smirnov.

"It was different, I've pretty much played with Nate [Sucese] and [Sam] Sternschein or [Denis] Smirnov the entire year," Biro said. "I think [Andrew] Sturtz is a little bit of a different player, same with [Chase] Berger, so it was a little bit of an adjustment but it's your job to figure out how to make that work." 

More adjustments were made on the first line too, moving senior captain James Robinson to the fourth line to skate with sophomore Nikita Pavlychev and junior Alec Marsh. Even though Berger might have missed his fellow captain and linemate, he noted it's good for the overall success of the team. 

"I think it was good," Berger said. "Trying out different guys and getting some new chemistry, sometimes it gets a little stale. It's good to shake it up a little bit, whether we stick with that or not, we're just trying to see what fits right now."

Although it is still unclear to the coaching staff what the lines will look like next weekend against the Badgers, it is safe to say the changes aren't over.

"I like the volume of opportunities but in the end, we didn't score," Gadowsky said. "So we are still undecided as to what we are going to do next week." 

Gadowsky did make it clear, this season is far from over and the Nittany Lions are ready to make waves not only the Big Ten but throughout college hockey, just like they did last year.

"[We] believe in those guys, they're the ones who got it done with their backs against the wall and we believe they are going to do it again," Gadowsky said.

Penn State Focused on What's Ahead

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By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After starting the new year with two consecutive home weekends at Pegula Ice Arena, No. 12 Penn State will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan for an in-conference series with No. 20 Michigan.

Coming off a series split against No. 6 Ohio State, Penn State's 5-1 loss Saturday night snapped an 11-game unbeaten streak.

"For the first time in 12 games we came up a little flat, but that's going to happen in a long season," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "Not too much to think about it but we do have to focus now on getting back very quickly to what made us successful in the past."

Despite snapping what was the second longest winning streak in program history, Gadowsky emphasized the need to move forward as a team.

"Hopefully we learned a lesson Saturday," Gadowsky said. "You can't win them all, It's a matter of how quickly you can regroup to be who you are to play your best and we'll see if we can do that."

Junior forward Andrew Sturtz, who tallied a goal and an assist in last weekend's series versus the Buckeyes, talked about bouncing back as a team.

"We're just trying to get back to the way we were playing Friday night and the last 10 games before that," Sturtz said. "We want to erase the short term memory of Saturday night and just get back to playing our game."

As the Nittany Lions look to turn the page on both their unbeaten streak and less than ideal finish to the Ohio State series, all eyes are set on the Wolverines.  

No. 20 Michigan, coming off a series sweep against No. 13 Minnesota on the road, has found some momentum.

"What they did last weekend was very impressive," Sturtz added. "Not a lot of teams can go into that building and beat them twice."

Sturtz was exactly right.

In fact, since the formation of the Big Ten Conference for hockey in 2014, Michigan is the only team to sweep Minnesota as a visitor at 3M Arena at Mariucci.

Penn State currently sits third in the Big Ten standings with Michigan close behind in fourth.

 "We came into last series saying it was the biggest regular season weekend of our careers at Penn State but I want to change my pick to this series," Sturtz said. "This weekend is going to be a big one." 

Gadowsky echoed the words of his one of his top scorers.

"They're (Michigan) playing extremely well," Gadowsky said. "Every team in this league, there's not a lot of discrepancy between any two teams in the league and it's going to come down to a lot of the intangibles and we have to be ready to have those intangibles on our side."

The two teams last met in late October when Penn State hosted Michigan at Pegula Ice Arena. The hard fought and physical series resulted in a split, with Penn State earning a victory in the first contest on a game-winning overtime goal by sophomore forward Blake Gober before losing 5-2 the next night. 

This series will present a different challenge for the Nittany Lions, as they must travel to Yost Ice Arena - one that has presented problems for Penn State in the past. 

"In my opinion, it's the hardest arena to play in," Andrew Sturtz said. "Their crowd gets on us and gets on us early. This weekend has been marked down on my calendar all year and I look forward to trying to steal a couple of games there." 

Gadowsky is also well aware of the challenges the road presents. 

"It's tough to win games on the road," Gadowsky said. "We know it's not easy but I think the guys are hungry to prove that we can do it."

Penn State and Michigan will lace up the skates for the weekend series beginning Friday at 8 p.m.

Duo Key in Ohio State Win

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By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 13 Penn State defeated No. 6 Ohio State, 5-2, in front of a packed Pegula Ice Arena to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 games.

In a game where the Buckeyes outshot the Nittany Lions by 11, it was sophomore goaltender Peyton Jones who was the difference maker.

Jones recorded a season high 45 saves and played a crucial role in Penn State snapping Ohio State's six game win streak.

"If we didn't have Peyton (Jones) it could've been a long night for us," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "This was a really big win but it doesn't happen without Peyton."

Jones stopped 20 shots in the second period, setting a career high for saves in a single period. 

"Peyton Jones was just tremendous," Gadowsky said. "He made ridiculous saves and he made a lot of them. I can't say enough about him."

With his stellar performance, Jones improves his record to 12-5-2 on the season.

"I just go out there and do everything I can to stop the puck," Jones said.

Jones wasn't the only Nittany Lion to play perhaps his best hockey of the season Friday night. Freshman forward Evan Barratt gave the Nittany Lions a spark offensively, scoring two goals to go along with an assist.

Barratt tallied both his sixth and seventh goals of the season to set a career high mark with three points.

Barratt credited his performance  to his teammates, noting he's finding confidence within the program.

"As a freshman, you definitely get more comfortable as the year goes on," Barratt said. "Playing with these guys for a couple weeks now has helped me with my confidence a lot."

For Gadowsky, he has noticed Barratt's growing confidence throughout the season.

"As he gets more games under his belt, you can he see he is getting more comfortable," Gadowsky said. He certainly looks more comfortable not only with the puck, but also in the faceoff circle, and that's been a big jump for him."

Like Barratt, the Nittany Lions seem to be catching fire at the right time. Penn State is now tied for second place in the Big Ten with their win against Ohio State.

With another game in the series still remaining, Gadowsky and the team are well aware that there's no time to exhale.

 "It took us a while, but we got back to our roots," Gadowsky said. "We can't take (success) for granted, and we need to continue to work really hard."

For Jones, the result of that hard work is finally coming together as a unit.  

"With six freshmen coming in all while losing some guys from last year who were the leaders of this program, it was tough," Jones said. "But we've had other guys step up and fill the holes, and we got on a roll."  

Penn State looks to complete the series sweep against Ohio State Saturday night at 7p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena.

Penn State Weekly Check In

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By Erin Neri, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After an exciting and successful weekend, Penn State men's hockey returns to Pegula Ice Arena looking to extend its 10-game unbeaten streak this weekend.

For the No. 13 Nittany Lions, the matchup brings yet another exciting opportunity to build on growing momentum, taking on one of the top-ranked teams in the country in No. 6 Ohio State.

"Friday certainly is exciting, a top team in the nation coming to our barn is just a great opportunity," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "They're playing really well and we're playing well so it should be a high quality, intense hockey game." 

The two teams last met in Columbus when the Blue and White took the series in dramatic fashion. It was junior Andrew Sturtz who scored the game-tying goal with merely moments left on the clock in the third period of game one. The Nittany Lions then went on snag the extra point with a shootout win, along with three points the next night in a 4-0 victory.

Even with the impressive early December outings, Penn State is in no way preparing any differently because of how the last series ended.

"It's going to be another hard game and another hard weekend for us," freshman Evan Barratt said. "We know we played them hard and got two wins against them earlier in the year and now it's a whole new weekend. We don't look at that, we look at what's coming up here."

Ohio State is working on a streak of their own, completing three sweeps against the last three teams they have faced, including both Michigan State and Minnesota, two teams the Nittany Lions have split with in their first meetings of the season.

Not surprisingly though, Penn State is sticking to its program philosophy, focusing on improving internally to emerge successful during this upcoming series.

"We know they are a really good team, we've seen them play well against a lot of other good teams," senior captain Erik Autio said. "But I think we're still focused on our game and that's how we'll beat them this weekend."

Heading into the back stretch of the season, things can heat up quickly with the potential for postseason approaching.

Penn State currently sits just below Ohio State in Big Ten rankings at No. 3, with Notre Dame leading the conference. Although Penn State has made a point to note they don't pay much attention to any sort of rankings, it is well-known just how important the outcome of this series can be once March rolls around. 

"The nature of the Big Ten and playing Big Ten teams, there's just something about it, there's a different energy in the crowd and there's a different energy on the ice - don't know why, but there just is," senior captain James Robinson said. "Let alone Ohio State, they're a team we like to beat and a team I don't like to get beaten by, so I'm sure it's going to be an amped up weekend."

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