UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--In the second installment of the senior profile, Rich
O'Brien (Furlong, Pa.), Dominic Morrone (Sewell, N.J.) and Brian Dolan
(Havertown, Pa.) reflect on their Penn State hockey careers heading into their
last home game against ACHA opponent Oklahoma.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky is proud of the entire senior class for their roles in
building the foundation for the Penn State hockey at the Division I level. They
played a major part in some program-defining wins and helped the team succeed
beyond anyone's expectations.
"The freshman came in and there was a new feeling of excitement and they were
giddy to get started," Gadowsky said. "The seniors were the same way. They
looked like little kids with wide eyes of excitement. I enjoyed sitting back
and watching them. They are good guys, a lot of fun and I'm proud to have had
them experience this [season]."
The seniors were brought over from the club team because they exemplified what
Penn State is all about. They work hard both on the ice and in the classroom
and represent what it means to be a student-athlete. Gadowsky brought them in
to be an example to the younger players and he said they did that with flying
Coming to Penn State, the thought of playing Division I hockey never crossed
Dolan's mind. The senior defenseman is honored to have played a part in
building an up-and-coming program for Penn State. Unfortunately for Dolan, he is
sidelined with an injury and will not play in the final home series of his
career. Nonetheless, he is proud of his hockey journey.
"The whole journey of making the team originally to [the seniors] was
incredible with [the program] making the transition to a Division I program,"
Dolan said. "I'm excited to see where this program ends up. I'm proud to be a
part of it."
Dolan was one of five Nittany Lions from the Philadelphia area who had the
opportunity to play in front of the Philadelphia faithful at the Wells Fargo
Center. It was a chance to showcase Penn State hockey to his hometown and for
loved ones to see him play.
"I have a bunch of family and friends [in Philadelphia]," Dolan said. "A lot of
people that saw me play that night have never seen me play. Just to play in
front of that crowd, hometown people, and my family was great. Obviously it was
a big win for our program, too."
Like some of his fellow seniors, Dolan is still going through the interview
process. Majoring in film and video, Dolan is looking into sports broadcasting
and sports media. He would like to work at ESPN or NFL Films in a production
The best word to describe the final game at Greenberg Ice Pavilion is
bittersweet, which is how Morrone feels going into this weekend. He is happy
about the direction of Penn State hockey, but admits it is going to be an
emotional game. Morrone and the other seniors have accomplished great feats the
past four years and bidding "The 'Berg" farewell is not easy.
Morrone echoed O'Brien, saying that the win against Ohio his freshman year when
he assisted on the game-winning goal in overtime was one of his favorite
memories. It wasn't until this year that that memory was trumped by a
homecoming to Philadelphia.
"This year the Vermont game in Philadelphia was awesome," said Morrone.
"Playing in front of a sold out crowd is awesome and you can't ask for much
more than that."
Morrone's friends and family were in attendance for the sold out affair at the
Wells Fargo Center. The opportunity to show people outside of State College
that Penn State is a formidable hockey program was a great experience.
"It was great because not many people knew about Penn State, especially the
caliber of team we are and how we progressed throughout the season," Morrone
said. "To beat a well-established team like Vermont speaks volumes about this
team. It was even better being able to do it close to home."
Morrone and the other seniors worked very hard to make it to this point and he
hopes their legacy lives on. Morrone plans on getting his masters degree in
accounting, and returning to Hockey Valley to watch the program continue to
"We all love this place," Morrone said. "We look forward to coming back,
especially with thePegula Ice Arena opening next year. We're trying to get back
as much as we can. This is an exciting time for the program."
Penn State dealt with its fair share of injuries this season, especially on the
back end. In the absence of some key defensemen, O'Brien stepped up as the wily
veteran on the blue line, bringing a calming presence to the defensive corp.
His adeptness at blocking shots and throwing big hits make him a key cog on
O'Brien is excited for his last home series this weekend, but wants to finish
it off with two wins against former ACHA rival Oklahoma. The history between
the two teams dating back to the when Penn State was a club program is a great
end of a great run at Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
"Probably one of my favorite memories is my freshman year. We played an away
game against Ohio." O'Brien recalled of his club hockey days. "One of our
seniors, Steve Thurston got a feed from Dom Morrone and scored a goal with 0.2
left on the clock in overtime. It was a great feeling. Oklahoma was always
competitive against us and that was a big one."
O'Brien embraced the transition to the Division I level. He admitted it was
challenging at first adapting to a roster laden with new faces and the speed of
the game. It took time to get used to the new players, but it was part of the
challenge posed to O'Brien to raise the level of his game.
"I feel like my game was improving at the ACHA level, but it could only go so
far," O'Brien said. "It was nice to see that I could step up and play with the
Division I teams. A lot of us proved that to ourselves that we can play at this
level of hockey."
The last four years as a student-athlete have been very special to O'Brien. He
said that he wouldn't change anything and has no regrets about coming to such a
great university. O'Brien, a finance major, plans on staying in the State
College area next year before moving on to bigger plans in the finance field in
"I'm set with a job and I'll be back here next fall semester," O'Brien said.
"I'll be able hang out with some of the guys and then I'm off to Atlanta for a
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This coming series against ACHA opponent Oklahoma (21-11-0-2) will be the final
homestand for the Nittany Lions (12-13) in Greenberg Ice Pavilion. For the underclassmen,
it marks the transition to Pegula Ice Arena next season. As for the senior
class, it closes the book on their Penn State hockey playing days, both club
and varsity, and the start of the next chapter of their lives.
In the first part of a two part series you will get to know seniors Michael Longo (Allison Park, Pa.),
George Saad (Wexford, Pa.) and Eric Steinour (Carlisle, Pa.).
Six seniors successfully went through a yearlong tryout to make the team last season while
Penn State hockey was still at the club level. With the incoming freshmen class
of 10 players and four transfer players, there were only a couple spots left.
The senior class brought experienced leadership that the younger players
"We knew we were getting a really great group of
people in this senior class," head coach Guy Gadowsky said about the seniors.
"I knew they'd do a great job of building a foundation."
Michael Longo Every team needs an energy guy among the bottom six forwards who will throw
a big hit and be a pest for the other team. That was Longo this season. He
always played with a snarl and never shied away from contact.
Longo said that he and the team are preparing for Oklahoma just as they
would for any other opponent.
"[Oklahoma] is an ACHA team so we want to win all of our objectives and
beat them every period," Longo said. "We also want to have fun now that we are
coming down to the end of the season, especially for us seniors."
He said that it is bittersweet heading into the final homestand of his Penn
State career, but knows the program will continue to move forward. He plans on
coming back as an alumnus to see his teammates play in Pegula Ice Arena.
After three years at the club level, Longo was rewarded for all of his hard
work with a chance to play on the varsity team. As a kid he wanted to play at
the highest level of hockey he could and got that opportunity this year. Longo
is excited to see how the program continues to develop as he moves on to life
after hockey. Looking back on his experience, Longo recalled his favorite
moment of his collegiate hockey career
"Despite being a Pittsburgh kid, playing in Philadelphia in front of the
almost packed Wells Fargo Center was unbelievable," Longo said. "It was really
cool to see all the fans come out and support us."
Longo was called into a leadership role this season with the 10 incoming
freshmen. He and the other seniors led with a voice in the locker room, but
also off the ice helping the newcomers adjust to the new environment.
There were adjustments to make in terms of new faces on the team and among
the coaching staff. Longo wanted to set the foundation for a program that, he
believes, will be one of the best in college hockey in the years to come.
Looking to the future, Longo isn't sure about his plans after graduation.
He admitted he hasn't given it much thought, but would like to get his MBA and
get a job in Pittsburgh, Pa. Longo wants to stay a major part of the Penn State
hockey family, and wants to make an impact even after graduation.
"I always want to be part of this program as a player or as an alumnus in the
future," Longo said. "I will come back for games and come back and visit. I
want to come back as much as I can. You fall in love with this place."
George Saad Saad mentioned that the last home series is a bittersweet feeling for him.
He said that it's exciting to play his last home games, especially against an
ACHA team because that is where he began his journey to the Division I level.
Saad has scored a few game-winning goals in his career and has had some big
moments as a Penn State hockey player. Looking back on the past four years,
Saad shared two standout memories.
"My first goal scoring in overtime of my first game for the win," Saad said.
"And obviously the transition to be able to play at the Division I level will
always be in the back of my mind."
The adjustment to NCAA and his new teammates took some time in the beginning,
but the transition went smoothly for Saad. The team needed the senior
leadership from Saad and he delivered that, which is why he was named an
alternate captain at the start of the season. He focused on leading by example
for the new faces in the locker room.
"I wasn't expecting it because I was hurt in the beginning of the year," Saad
said. "I was very honored that the guys showed that they could look up to me
like that. I want to be a leader both on and off the ice."
Saad, a civil engineer major, believes the high quality of academics and
resources at Penn State are what make it a special institution. When it comes to
hockey, Saad said that having a fan base that bleeds blue and white made the
transition easier and more fun to play.
"They've been behind us everywhere we've went," Saad said. "Having 19,000 fans
behind us cheering 'We Are' is pretty special. From the alumni all the way down
it's a special place and I have no regrets about coming here."
Saad isn't sure what he is doing after graduation, but he is talking to a few
companies about a job. He is also thinking about attending grad school or going
to work with his father.
The thought of playing in his last two home games at Greenberg Ice Pavilion has
yet to set in for Steinour. He's enjoyed a great career at the club level, amassing
78 points in 82 games, and notched one assist this season at the NCAA level.
Steinour has been a key forward for Penn State, especially in the faceoff
circle and on the defensive end. He admits that he will miss playing hockey,
but admitted he is ready to move on to the next stage of his life.
Steinour enjoyed seeing the growth of Penn State hockey and having the
opportunity to see the progress made each year. He reflected on the fun times
he has had with all of the players that have come through the program at both
levels, which made it hard for him to pinpoint just one specific moment that will
stick with him moving forward.
"The games against Ohio and Oklahoma were very memorable," Steinour said. "The
overtime wins against those programs were incredible experiences. The last two years doing the THON dance has
been special. It's fun to get together with the guys and do something a little
Being recognized as a player that can translate from the club level to the
Division I level is a great honor. Steinour couldn't ask to be in a better
position to lead with his fellow seniors in the transition of this up and
coming program. He enjoyed seeing the growth of the program and is honored to
help establish the foundation of Penn State hockey.
"I'm proud of everything that Penn State has to offer," Steinour said. "One of
the big reasons I came here was for academics and I'm proud to be part of that
academic community as well as the athletic community."
Steinour is still unsure about his post-graduation plans, but continues to go through
the interview process.
"I plan on getting a full-time job in research and design with mechanical
engineering and then do some entrepreneurial work," Steinour said. "I have a
product that I am working on getting a patent for through Penn State."
That product he has developed is a device that senses expansion and contraction
in steam pipes. With Steinour's efforts away from the hockey rink, along with his
experience in on the ice, are things that will help him find the job he is
seeking after graduation.
By Pat White Student GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In an electric atmosphere, both on the ice and in
the stands, at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion as Penn State (12-13) posted a
two-game series sweep of Alabama-Huntsville (3-19-1) this past weekend, even with
a shorthanded defense.
The defense was undermanned due to injury against the Chargers, forcing
Gadowsky to play five defensemen on Friday night. The unit took another hit
with an injury to Joseph Lordo (St. Louis, Mo.) on Friday to thin the line even
Gadowsky leaned heavily on freshman Connor Varley (Lansdale, Pa.) to make up
for the loss on defense. Varley's great conditioning played a major factor in
the wins because of his puck moving abilities and his recovery on transition to
break up plays.
A telling stat of the dedication to the team was the Nittany Lions 31 combined
block shots on the weekend. Despite being thin on the blue line, guys
sacrificed their bodies to alleviate some of the pressure on freshman
goaltender Matt Skoff (McKees Rock, Pa.).
Freshman Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) was a huge part of the defensive
success. Brooks scored a goal and added two helpers this weekend, but it was
the little things he did that made a major impact. Brooks' style of play is a
hardworking grinder who wins battles along the boards. He is a key cog on a
line with David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) that has really helped Glen's
"I couldn't as for more in a line mate," Glen said of Brooks. "He works as hard
as he can on every shift. He makes plays on both sides of the puck and that
makes it much easier on me to try and get open. He's a heck of a player."
Brooks also pitched in on defense, logging some minutes in the absence of
Lordo. He blocked a few shots and broke up some plays in the neutral zone with
a fierce backchecking. Brooks said he played some defense while playing junior
hockey in the USHL and Gadowsky described him as a hockey player's, hockey
"When Kenny scores, the team gets jacked up," Gadowsky said. "He's the type of
guy that you love to see score because he does so many little things. He goes
back and plays defense, kills a 5-on-3 and it's fitting that he scored that
goal for us (Saturday)."
Freshman Mark Yanis (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) showed the greatest aspect of his
game this weekend: heart. The big 6-foot-3 defender is still recovering from a
broken ankle that sidelined him for two months, but he blocked a shot on
Saturday while killing a penalty that shook him up a bit. Minutes later, he was
rewarded with the game-winning goal when he teed up a slap shot that found the
back of the net.
"It was a major change of pace," Yanis said. "A kid ripped a shot that hit
between the ankle and my shot blocker. I couldn't really feel my leg for a
while and rubbed it off and went back out there. The puck kind of came back to
me right in my wheelhouse and I just buried it...I couldn't have had a better
feeling than that."
Gadowsky was proud of his players after grinding out a 4-3 win on Saturday night.
It would have been easy for the team to make excuses for being shorthanded, but
Penn State battled back and showed its' resilience.
"You have to give them a lot of credit. I think it was really fitting that the
game-winning goal was scored by a defenseman," Gadowsky said. "That's tough to
do especially the second night. [Our defenders] had a hard night [on Friday] and
I thought they did a great job [Saturday]."
On the offensive side, Glen led the way for the Nittany Lions, scoring four
goals including the first ever hat trick for Penn State since becoming a
Division I program.
"It's a really great honor," said Glen. "All the credit goes to my teammates,
they made great plays all night. They were able to set me up in great positions
and I was lucky enough to get a few [goals]...I'm happy to be a part of [history]."
Glen has scored in so many ways this season and does so many little things that
make him such a fun player to watch.
"He knocks pucks out of the air, he scores highlight reel goals, he scores
dirty goals," Gadowsky said. "He's not just a perimeter shooter, he gets dirty,
and he plays as hard defensively as he does offensively. He is good on faceoffs
and leads the team in hits. He does so many little things."
Glen also added an assist on Saturday, tying him with a team-high 25 points
with fellow freshman Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska). Glen now has 16 goals on
the season, which is tied for sixth in the NCAA.
The series was unofficially dubbed the "Independent League Mega Bowl" because
Penn State and UAH are the only two independent teams in NCAA Division I hockey
and Gadowsky said it was a good motivator for the team to come out and win.
"It meant something to them," Gadowsky said. "Two independent teams and to play
with four defensemen it's easy to have a built-in excuse to not play hard...I
feel good about this weekend."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--The Nittany Lions (10-13-0) have had a successful
season so far in their first season as a Division I hockey program. The quick
transition from a club team to a formidable NCAA team is due in large part to head
coach Guy Gadowsky.
Gadowsky has a history of turning programs into winners. Just like Penn State
hockey, the road to success was a long one for Gadowsky.
After being cut from the Canadian National Team, Gadowsky was ready to give up
hockey to pursue a career in another field such as law, accounting or insurance
sales. None of those jobs quite fit the bill.
"When it came down to the decision and what to do, I just knew I had to be with
hockey," Gadowsky said. "I couldn't be without it. I would die without hockey."
Gadowsky traded his briefcase for a clipboard and began the process of
searching for a coaching position. He followed a blueprint to work his way up
the ranks to a coaching position. After attending coaching clinics, getting
certified in First Aid, being a skating instructor and coaching at lower
levels, Gadowsky finally got his shot.
He served as an assistant coach under Roy Sommer, current coach of the
Worcester Sharks and the longest tenured coach in the AHL, and his first head
coaching job was with the Fresno Falcons of the West Coast Hockey League
After his three year stint in the WCHL, Gadowsky's opportunity at collegiate
level. He took over at Alaska-Fairbanks, a struggling program that Gadowsky
took out of the cellar in the Central Collegiate Hockey League. It was only
first, but not the last time Gadowsky would revive a program.
He had five successful years at Alaska-Fairbanks, which led his back to the
contiguous United State at Princeton. Once again, Gadowsky was given the task
of taking a last-place team and making them a contender.
"When Princeton was looking [for a new head coach] they were the last ranked
team in the nation," Gadowsky said. "They saw what happened at Alaska and
thought maybe we could do the same thing [there]. In three years we ended up
winning the ECAC and the Ivy League for the first time."
Gadowsky enjoyed his run at Princeton, and had the opportunity to coach current
NHL players Darroll Powe (New York Rangers) and Kevin Westgarth (Carolina
Hurricanes). It was the quality of people and student-athletes at Princeton
that made the job so enticing for Gadowsky.
The same formula now stands true at Penn State. In the wide scope, Gadowsky was
drawn to Happy Valley by the opportunity to play in the Big Ten and Pegula Ice
Arena, the future home of Penn State hockey. Those components only scratched
the surface of Gadowsky's desire to coach at Penn State.
"The biggest thing is how much passion the student body and alumni have for
Penn State," Gadowsky said. "I've seen it from afar and I really value that.
There's no better [support] than Penn State."
The academic integrity and values of Penn State sold Gadowsky that this was the
job for him. His enthusiasm to not only making his players better hockey
players, but well-rounded people is second to none.
"I believe so strongly in college athletics," Gadowsky said. "It gives you
great lessons for life. Whether you play professionally in that sport, or go on
to become a contributor in the community. I just believe collegiate athletics
are the greatest training ground for that...I take it very seriously to be a
positive influence to everyone that comes through this program."
Sophomore captain Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) has played for Gadowsky for
two years now and has learned lessons both on and off the ice from the hockey
"It's about being a good person," Olczyk said of Gadowsky's mentality. "You
have to act with class all the time...He loves academics and good grades,
especially at a great university like this. It's not all about being a good
hockey player but being a good person."
Throughout the years of coaching, Gadowsky has met many influential people who
have made him a better coach. He credits the aforementioned Sommer, as well as
former Ottawa Senators and minor league head coach Dave Allison, who coached
Gadowsky while with the Prince Edward Island Senators and Richmond Renegades.
Last summer, Gadowsky met with longtime NHL coaching greats Mike Keenan and Ken
Hitchcock. The three discussed coaching philosophies and how to develop a team
Gadowsky's ties with Hitchcock go back to his days at Princeton when he approached
the then Philadelphia Flyers head coach during the 2004-05 NHL lockout in need
of a goaltending coach. Instead of a goalie coach, Hitchcock volunteered to
help with the team.
"I thought he'd come for a week and skate around," Gadowsky said. "He stayed
for the entire season...If I had a question on something he'd say 'ok I'll come
in the office early' and he'd come in four hours before practice and I'd ask
him every little question. It was the best experience I could have asked for as
a young coach.
"It was an amazing experience, not only system wise, but how to manage a team.
I think he deserves a lot of credit for what happened at Princeton."
Gadowsky's passion for college hockey stems back to his time spent at the
University of Alberta with his father. He remembers playing racquetball and
working out with his dad, and wants the same opportunity for his children.
Hockey was in Gadowsky's blood growing up in a hockey mecca like Edmonton, Alberta.
He played street and pond hockey and grew up watching the Edmonton Oilers
during their dynasty days in the 1970's. Like most kids from Edmonton, Gadowsky
idolized NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, but also had another favorite player;
Philadelphia Flyers' great, Bobby Clarke.
"[Hitchcock] invited me to take part in Flyers training camp and I had a chance
to meet Bobby Clarke," Gadowsky said. "When he walked in the room I felt like a
kid again. I had met players from Wayne Gretzky on down, but when I met Bobby Clarke,
I couldn't talk. It was really weird."
Gadowsky and the Nittany Lions will host the only other independent team in
Division I hockey this weekend, the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (3-17-1), in
what captain Tommy Olczyk has unofficially deemed the "Independent League
PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to in-game coverage of 2012-13 Nittany Lions men's
hockey season. Insight and reaction will
be provided by GoPSUsports.com throughout the game, so check back often as the
It will be a meeting between a pair of first year Division I, independent
programs when the Nittany Lions (10-13-0) host Alabama-Huntsville (3-17-1) on
Friday evening inside the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The two teams will each move
into conference next season; with Penn State joining the Big Ten and the UAH
Chargers moving into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Today's Game in 140 Characters: Only
2 NCAA DI independent schools meet...Lions
look to extend three-game winning streak...can't have letdown v UAH
1st Period: 14:46 - Penn State 0, Alabama-Huntsville
It's been up and down the ice for the first five minutes and the Nittany Lions
have had two soild scoring opportunities thanks to some nice board work by
Casey Bailey and David Glenn. Glenn had the first chance when he dug a puck out
at the board and fired a shot from the right circle that sailed just wide. A
minute later, Bailey led the breakout through the neutral zone, stopped on a
dime at the boards and just missed connecting with a wide open Max Gardiner in
front of the net. First power play goes to Alabama-Huntsville, Yanis called for
1st Period: 8:03 - Penn State 0, Alabama-Huntsville
Penn State handled their first power play well on the defensive end and
followed their penalty kill with a couple of incredible chances. The Nittany Lions
have really taken it to the Chargers and Gardiner nearly gave the Blue and White
the lead after Peter Sweetland ripped a shot from the point, John Griggs made
the initial save but the puck bounced right to Gardiner who had an open net in
front of him, but the traffic in front made him hurry the shot and it sailed
wide. Alabama-Huntsville hasn't had many sustained possessions in Penn State's
end, but when they have gotten a shot on net, Skoff has been there.
End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, Alabama-Huntsville
Well, that was fast. In what seemed to be a blink of an eye the first period is
over. Penn State had four or five nice scoring chances, but was stonewalled
twice, watched two attempts sail wide of the net and narrowly missed on two
connections from the wing into the crease. Give UAH credit, thought, they
fought off a couple of massive attacks by the Nittany Lions.
One thing is for sure; the Nittany Lions brought their lunch pails to the game
tonight and have been doing some nice work along the boards.
2nd Period: 18:15 - Penn State 1, Alabama-Huntsville
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION, we have a Penn State goal. David Glen was the beneficiary
of an absolutely beautiful pass from Kenny Brooks. The UAH defense could
recover quick enough after the Nittany Lions raced through the neutral zone and
Brooks wrapped around behind the net and sent a nice backhand pass across the
crease to Glen, who sent a shot to the far post and high. Griggs couldn't get
into position and Glen tallied his 13th goal of the year.
2nd Period: 12:11 - Penn State 1, Alabama-Huntsville
The Nittany Lions killed off their second penalty of the game and were
unsuccessful on their first opportunity with the man advantage.
Alabama-Huntsville put some pressure on Skoff, but the Blue and White returned
the favor with a bevy of shots on their chance with the 5v4. The shot count in
the second period is 6-1 in favor of Penn State and 16-9 overall, but PSU has only
one goal to show for it.
2nd Period: 7:17 - Penn State 1, Alabama-Huntsville
The last five minutes have been really nicely played by Penn State with three good
chances to the net and now head to a 4v3 power play for 80 seconds. The scoring
chances came in a variety of ways, with a breakout chance for Michael Longo
when Dominic Morone found him on the wing, but the shot was saved. A minute
later Longo redirected a shot from the point by Connor Varley that sailed just
wide. The final chance prior to the power play came when Gardiner forced a
turnover in the UAH zone and found Bailey cutting to the net, but the shot was
just wide of the net. Skoff has made two remarkable saves since we last
chatted, snagging a deflected shot out of the air like an eagle grabbing his
prey and them stonewalled a one-on-one chance.
2nd Period: 4:29 - Penn State 2, Alabama-Huntsville
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION; Part 2. Mark Yanis took a shot from the point on the
power play and Gardiner was in front to redirect the shot past Griggs. You
could see the sea part from our seats in the opposite endzone and Yanis took
the pass from Bailey and sent the one-timer right down Curtin Street towards
Gardiner's imposing frame in front of the net. The sophomore just got his stick
on the puck and into the back of the net it went. As it has been all season,
Penn State scores when they are on the opposite end of press row, but it gives
us a nice view of how it unfolds.
End of 2nd Period - Penn State 2, Alabama-Huntsville
It started off well for the Nittany Lions with a goal, then came a sloppy six
to eight minute stretch that was riddled with penalties and poor puck handling on
both sides. But the action picked up over the final five minutes and there were
all kinds of ooh's and aah's coming from the stands as Penn State sent shot
after shot at UAH goalie John Griggs. For the period, Penn State took 17 shots
to just seven for Alabama-Huntsville and Skoff was solid in net again for the
intensity has been on tilt all night for Penn State. They have been finishing
checks, working on the boards and getting quality opportunities on the offensive
end. The Zamboni driver is going to have to work some magic on this ice after a
very nice up and down period of hockey.
3rd Period: 14:09 - Penn State 2, Alabama-Huntsville
Penn State will have to kill off their fourth penalty of the night after Glen
was whistled for cross checking. The first six minutes have been played pretty
cleanly, however, with neither team really having any quality chances to score.
I am still wondering if I am going to get to see a Penn State goal at the open
end of the stadium this season. I can't remember the last time the Nittany
Lions scored at the media end.
3rd Period: 8:40 - Penn State 3, Alabama-Huntsville
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION; Part 3, and the crowd is right back into this one. After
the first 11-plus minutes of the third period consisted of a choppy, no flow
hockey Glen found his flow for the second time tonight. The freshman connected on
the backhand after giving the defender the ole spin-o-rama in the right faceoff
circle. The shot went over the right shoulder of Griggs and lit the lamp for
his 14th score of the season.
3rd Period: 5:10 - Penn State 4, Alabama-Huntsville
Cue the ZOMBIE NATION; Part 4. Glen finishes off the hat trick with a goal off
the the faceoff and the student section is all kinds of amped. Glen won the faceoff
and crashed the net as Michael McDonagh's shot was saved by Griggs. The
freshman gobbled up the rebound and put it home for the first hat trick in Penn
FINAL - Penn State 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0
It was David Glen's night on Friday vs. the Chargers, as the rookie became the
first Penn State player to record a hat trick in school history. The rookie did
it in a variety of ways, scoring one on his own, collecting a rebound and
putting it back in and taking a nice pass and finishing cleanly.
It wasn't just Glen that was a star for the Blue and White, as Matt Skoff made
23 saves and Kenny Brooks added a pair of nice assists. Skoff made the saves at
the right time, not allowing Alabama-Huntsville to draw closer after the
Nittany Lions took the two goal lead. Brooks assists on the first and third
goals of the game, connecting with Brooks both times, and now has 10 assists on
Max Gardiner played tough in both creases tonight and was a force for the Nittany
Lions. The sophomore notched his third goal of the season and now has 19
points, but his presence on the defensive end was big for Penn State against a
very physical and hard-nosed UAH squad.
Overall it was the way you want to see a team play. They competed in all three
zones, made the most of their scoring chances and stuck up for their teammates.
They competed for a full 60 minutes, even after a choppy start to the game, and
stayed after to sign autographs for the fans.
A great group of guys continue to write their own story during the inaugural
season of Penn State men's hockey.
What To Look For:
- Penn State and Alabama-Huntsville are the only two independent hockey schools
in NCAA Division I this season, with the Nittany Lions moving to the
newly-formed Big Ten Conference next season, while the Chargers will be
moving into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
- The two teams have three common opponents this season; American
International, Air Force and the U.S. National U18 Team. Penn State was 1-1-0
against all three opponents, while UAH was 0-1 vs. AIC and Air Force, while
finishing 0-1-1 vs. Team USA.
- All three of Alabama Huntsville's victories have come against non-Division I
opponents, with the Chargers defeating Lake Superior State and Finlandia
(twice). Their tie came vs. Minnesota State at home in early October. UAH is
coming off of a four-game homestand where they dropped single games to Adrian
and Vanderbilt before being swept by
Oklahoma on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
- Penn State has been in nearly every game over the past month, losing only two
of their ten games by three or more goals since the calendar turned to 2013.
PSU dropped a 3-0 decision to the US National U18 Team and fell 4-1 at
Connecticut. Since being swept by UConn to start 2013, the Nittany Lions are
4-2 against NCAA opponents.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--Coming off of a 6-1 victory against ACHA opponent
Ohio (22-6-3) at the GIANT Center on Friday night, the Nittany Lions (10-13)
had to grind out a 5-3 win against the Bobcats on Saturday.
Freshman forward Curtis Loik (North Vancouver, B.C.) provided some late game
heroics for the Nittany Lions, netting the game-winning goal with 4:54
remaining in the game to give the Lions a 4-3 lead. He finished the game with
one goal and a plus-one rating while on the ice.
Loik found himself back on a line with fellow freshmen David Glen (Fort
Saskatchewan, Alta.) and Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.). It was the first time
that head coach Guy Gadowsky has played the three forwards together since Jan.
12 against the USA U18 National Team.
Junior Justin Kirchhevel (Brookings, S.D.) had been playing with Glen
and Brooks for the last five games.
"I think they fit really well together," Gadowsky said about Loik's line
with Glen and Brooks. "It didn't take them long to get synergy together when we
put them together off the hop this season. I don't think it took them long
Loik's stats against Ohio don't jump off the score sheet, but the freshman
played his usual grinding role. Players who work hard on the dirty areas are
often rewarded and Loik was rewarded with the game-winner on Saturday. He
picked up the puck off an offensive zone faceoff win by Glen and saw his initial
shot from the right circle stopped by Ohio goaltender Fedor Dushkin, but followed
his own shot and snuck a wrap-around shot inside the post for the goal.
"It was a great play by Loik to get the puck on net from a bad angle and
jump on the rebound," Gadowsky said. "I'm real glad he was in the lineup
Aside from scoring the goal, Loik played very well in all three zones. His
ability to work the puck along the boards and win battles in the corners opens
up space for Brooks and Glen to cycle in the offensive zone. When the three forwards are cycling the puck
well, they wear down the defense and sustain offensive pressure for extended
periods of time.
Coaches love forwards that they can put out in every scenario during a
game. Loik and sophomore Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) work together on the
penalty killing unit that contained Ohio's power play to one goal on four
opportunities and only allowed five shots.
Loik's work on the penalty kill doesn't garner a lot of attention, but it
should. He is hardly ever out of position and makes the small plays like
getting the puck deep that are important to win hockey games. He also keeps his
shifts short and doesn't get caught on long shifts that may lead to a mental
lapse that allows a goal.
"He's a great penalty killer," said Gadowsky, "he's a horse and he protects
the puck really well. I don't think he had his best game, but obviously he
scored a huge goal."
Loik missed games against Neumann and Vermont before returning to the
lineup on last Friday at Michigan State. The freshman is fourth on the team in
goals with five, while also dishing out four assists, and is a plus-five on the
season. His return to the lineup was welcomed by his teammates.
"[Loik's] a great player and I know he was out with some injuries," senior
George Saad said. "He's someone you can throw right back in the lineup and he's
up to speed again. He's definitely someone that [the forwards] need to get
goals like the big one he had tonight."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--The Nittany Lions (10-13-0) are coming off of
an emotional 3-2 victory against Michigan State at Munn Ice Arena last weekend and
look to carry the momentum into their weekend series against ACHA opponent Ohio
Penn State has suffered a few letdowns this season when coming off
emotional victories, such as a loss to Division III opponent Neumann after a
successful series against the US U18 National Team. After the loss to Neumann, Penn
State head coach Guy Gadowsky questioned his team's mental toughness.
Since that loss, Penn State has appeared mentally tougher and put
the Neumann game on the back burner. Gadowsky has seen an improvement in recent
results and the overall swagger of the team.
"It is something that is expected for a young team to go through,"
Gadowsky said. "We're happy with the results since that time."
This weekend's series against Ohio will be a test to see if the
Penn State has learned its lesson in not taking opponents lightly. Gadowsky
stated that mental toughness is not about winning on the big stage or against
future Big Ten opponents, but being mentally prepared for whatever team they
"You come off a big win and then you play someone you're supposed
to beat," Gadowsky said, "it's a tough thing to do. It is a test of mental
toughness...sometimes it's harder to beat opponents that it's harder to get up
Some members of the team are familiar with Ohio from playing in the
ACHA. They know that they are a talented team and need to be prepared for a
hard fought series. Last season the Lions were 4-0 against Ohio, but had to
come back from early deficits in three of those games.
Sophomore forward Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) knows that Ohio
is not a team to be taken lightly. He registered two goals and two assists in
four games against the Bobcats last season, and stressed that the team must be
mentally tough no matter who the opponent is.
"It doesn't matter that level you play, hockey is hockey," Olczyk
said. "Any team has a chance to win on any given night...We played Ohio last year
and they played us really tough. They are a [much] respected ACHA hockey team."
Olczyk added that there is a great hockey tradition between Penn State and Ohio
with some animosity and passion between them. He is looking to the former guys
on the ACHA squad, like senior George Saad (Wexford, Pa.) and junior Justin
Kichhevel (Brookings, S.D.), to set the pace on Friday night in Hershey when
the two teams duke it out at the Giant Center.
The Giant Center, home to the AHL's Hershey Bears, will be the
sixth professional arena that the Nittany Lions have played in this season. The
Nittany Lions are 4-1 when playing on a professional ice surface this season.
"I think that the atmosphere helps, especially with another game
being in Pennsylvania," Olczyk said about playing at the Giant Center. "There
is going to be a lot of Penn State alumni and fans. I think that will give us a
little extra energy."
Two players who have excelled on the big stage this season are
freshman forward David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) and junior Taylor
Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.). Both players have each tallied three goals and
an assist in professional arenas, including a game-winning goal for each.
Holstrom added two goals and an assist against Michigan State last
weekend and also scored the game winning goal last Saturday. Holstrom said the
team elevates its game on the big stage, but aims to keep emotions in check and
stay focused on the task at hand.
"I think we figured it out the hard way," Holstrom said. "We've
come to practice with a little more intensity and are taking [every game] more
seriously than we have in the past."
Despite not ever facing Ohio, Glen has witnessed the team's level
of play drop against ACHA and Division III opponents at times this season. He
wants to continue the team's recent ride of success this weekend.
"We can't take them lightly," Glen said. "We're building on mental
toughness and this is part of it. We have to be prepared for every game and play
our style of hockey."
Penn State will face Ohio on Friday (Feb. 1) at the Giant Center in
Hershey at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions will then return home for the second game
against the Bobcats at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. Penn State has not played a
game in its home rink in 18 days, its second longest road stretch of the
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Guy Gadowsky said his team was in awe of Munn Ice Arena and got caught watching a lot in Penn State's (10-13-0) loss to Michigan State (7-16-3) on Friday night. With their nerves behind them, the Nittany Lions came back on Saturday and defeated the Spartans in comeback fashion.
Freshman goaltender Matt Skoff (McKees Rock, Pa.) described the victory as a character win for Penn State. This was the Nittany Lions first road test against a Big Ten opponent, playing in front of a hostile Michigan State crowd. On Saturday, Michigan State took a 2-0 lead just 6:21 into the first period on two shots from the blue line. The early deficit did not rattle the freshman netminder, and he shut the door for the rest of the game.
"I think Skoff had a shaky start," Gadowsky told the Big Ten Network, "but he came back really strong. That's a big win for us. It's a lot of fun and a great place to play. I can't tell you at the beginning of the year I could have ever expected this. It's a huge win for Penn State and I'm very happy."
For a freshman goaltender, a big crowd of 6,132 Michigan State fans can be intimidating and Skoff said before the game that he is used to hostile crowds from his time playing in the USHL. Coming off a tough 5-3 loss the night before, and trailing 2-0 after one period, Skoff showed off his poise and his ability to shine in Big Ten play.
"The fans will give it to you for sure," Skoff said in an interview with the BTN. "They scored two quick goals, but I think I hung in there pretty well. I just kept telling myself that we were going to get goals and luckily the team [scored] for me. It was a good win for our team and a good step forward for our program."
There was a little extra motivation for this game for Skoff. His friend and former teammate with the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL, Jake Hildebrand, started the game in goal for Michigan State. Despite great goaltending by his counterpart, Skoff's mates were able to put the pressure on and rally for the comeback win.
Penn State has been a comeback team all season long, and showed its resiliency once again on the big stage. The Nittany Lions were previously 0-11-0 when trailing after the first period, but turned the tides against a team they will see for many years to come in the Big Ten, which begins play next season.
Freshman Mark Yanis (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) made his homecoming to Michigan and shined in all aspects of the game. He scored his third goal of the season on the power play to open the second period on Saturday. Forward Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.) dipped his shoulder using his big 6-foot-3 frame to power to the net and, after a scramble in front, Yanis found the loose puck and beat Hildebrand. Aside from his goal, Yanis played physical, stand-up defense that slowed down the Spartans' offensive attack.
Gardiner had one of his most impressive games of the season. The big right winger dished out three assists in the victory, and has raised his play since moving to the wing. His physical play along the boards coupled with his hard backchecking made him a factor in all three zones last night.
Gardiner's line with Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska) and Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.) continued their offensive dominance, combining for two goals and six assists in Saturday's contest. The trio has now amassed 12 goals and 18 assists in their last seven games. Holstrom has now scored in three straight games, but his biggest goal was the game-winner on Saturday with just four minutes remaining in the game.
"I think all of them are working very hard," Gadowsky said postgame. "It doesn't just come by accident. I think we started off with Max Gardiner going hard to the net and making a big play...If you work hard, good things happen and I think you can say that for the whole team."
Penn State is now 2-1 against future Big Ten hockey teams, including a win against Ohio State in the Three Rivers Classic. The fledgling program has out-performed expectations and the competitiveness in the Big Ten is another step forward for this up-and-coming program. The Nittany Lions have one more Big Ten test on Feb. 24-25 when they visit Wisconsin.
"I give the guys a lot of credit," Gadowsky touted on the BTN. "They've surprised us a few times this year and this is certainly one of them. It's a great place to play and a lot of fun. This is why you play in the Big Ten."
Penn State men's hockey signee Eamon McAdam (Perkasie, Pa.) recently made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays after a spectactular glove save at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Jan. 23. In the game, McAdam stopped all 11 shots he faced in 30 minutes of action to help Team West earn a 2-1 victory over Team East. The Perkasie, Pa., native was named MVP for his efforts.
McAdam, who plays for the Waterloo Black Hawks, is the No. 7-ranked North American goaltender in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings in advance of the 2013 NHL Draft. In 2012-13, he has compiled a 12-4-1 record with two shutouts as the Black Hawks sit in third place in the USHL Western Conference.
At the onset of the season, he led the U.S. Junior Select Team to the gold medal at the World Junior "A" Challenge and earned best goaltender recognition with his silver medal-winning performance with Waterloo at the 2012 Junior Club World Cup.
The goaltender will join the Nittany Lions for the 2013-14 season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -Last Tuesday, Coach Guy Gadowsky questioned his team's mental toughness after Penn State's (9-12-0) overtime loss to Neumann, but on Saturday, the Nittany Lions showed their coach that they were ready to play in their win over Vermont (6-12-4) at the Wells Fargo Center.
Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) both scored goals in the first period to give the Nittany Lions the early lead. Gadowsky didn't think the team played extremely well in the first period, but was happy to escape with the early lead.
"We scored two goals despite not playing well," said Gadowsky, "but we didn't give up any (goals). That showed some mental toughness. We had a better, gritty start and maybe that was the difference in the game."
Junior forward Justin Kirchhevel (Brookings, S.D.) tallied a goal and an assist in his second game back from injury, playing on a line with freshmen Glen and Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.). They played their typical tenacious style of hockey and chipped in on the offensive end as well. All three forwards protect the puck well and Kirchhevel made a seamless return back into the lineup.
"Justin is more of a setup guy and David [Glen] is more of a shooter and you saw that on the second goal," Gadowsky said. "I like what [Justin] did Tuesday night against Neumann, he came out and had a huge hit and we knew he was back. I thought he played extremely well and tonight he made a great play and scored a great goal."
The early lead was an encouraging step forward and an indication of how far the Nittany Lions have come since the beginning of the season. The team made the little plays that win games such as blocking shots, getting the puck deep and driving hard to the net. Those are the plays the show the mental toughness of this team.
"I think the first period we only had six shots, but I give our guys a lot credit for gritting out," Gadowsky said. "There were a couple huge blocks in our zone. Casey [Bailey] made some big blocks, Taylor [Holstrom] battled and our defense wasn't clicking, but they were battling."
Freshman goaltender Matthew Skoff (McKees Rock, Pa.) was spectacular again in net for Penn State and bailed the team out on some mistakes in its own zone. Skoff also showed off his athletic ability, tracking the puck well through traffic and making a few saves on redirected shots.
"[Skoff] was huge for us because we weren't clicking [on defense]," Gadowsky said, "He had to make some huge saves. We fumbled a breakout and gave them a breakaway and he stopped it. So if it wasn't for him, things would have turned out a lot different early and I think it would have been a vastly different game."
Although Gadowsky was pleased with his team's win, he credited the Penn State faithful for giving the team an emotional boost.
Vermont was the home team of record for the game, but the Penn State fans didn't allow them to have any home ice edge. The crowd of 19,529 and the Penn State Blue Band brought all of the energy from Happy Valley to Philadelphia and the electric atmosphere played a big factor in the game.
"It's the coolest university and we have the coolest alumni," Gadowsky said. "It was a phenomenal atmosphere and they were a huge part of the win because things weren't clicking for us. We just had to grit it out and when you have a crowd like that behind you it's a lot easier."
The game was Penn State's fifth at a professional arena. The Nittany Lions won two early games in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., against American International and in Rochester, N.Y., against RIT. They split two games at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh and defeated Vermont at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Gadowsky likes the way his team seems to grind it out in front of big crowds, which has lead to the 4-1 record in big arenas.