UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 16 Penn State men's hockey team (11-2-3, 2-0-0-0 Big Ten) ended the first half of its season triumphantly with a 6-3 win over Princeton (4-9-0, 3-5-0 ECAC) Friday night in Pegula Ice Arena.
With the victory, head coach Guy Gadowsky notched his 50th win with the Nittany Lions, since joining the program in 2011.
The undisputed standout player of the game was fifth-year senior forward Tommy Olczyk. Olczyk had his fist multi-point game for the Nittany Lions, on his way to scoring the program's third hat trick.
"It was a pretty special moment," said Olczyk regarding his hat trick. "More importantly, especially after a little let down during the third period, we found a way to win there."
Olczyk credited his hat trick to his team's ability to communicate and work together on the ice. Olczyk's first two goals he deflected into the net off shots from two freshman defensemen, Erik Autio and Vince Pedrie, respectively. His third goal of the night came as an empty net goal with less than a minute remaining in the third period.
Three other Nittany Lions scored in Friday night's win. Senior forwards David Glen and Curtis Loik, along with freshman forward Chase Berger all found the back of the net.
Looking at the bigger picture, Gadowsky is pleased with where his team has ended the first half of the season, but that doesn't mean he wants to slow down.
"I have to congratulate the guys on a great start," said Gadowsky. "...I do think this was a good win because it was a tough set up as I said, having a great weekend in the Big Ten to start and then having them, really a lot of their focus is on exams and academics, so this was a tough game to play and we started out tremendous and ended tremendous."
Gadowsky also wants to continue the early success of the special teams, especially on power play performance. During Friday night's game alone, the Nittany Lions score two goals on the power play and successfully killed three penalties, including a five-minute major.
With finals and a holiday break upon them, the Nittany Lions are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, but are also looking forward to continuing their current momentum.
"...We've had a good start to the year," said senior captain David Glen. "We're happy about it, but we're not going to be complacent either."
Next on the radar for the Nittany Lions is the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh on Dec. 28 and 29. This tournament will be a test for the Nittany Lions as they take on Robert Morris in the first round, and either No. 8 UMass Lowell or Clarkson in the second round.
After the break, as Big Ten play gets into full swing, Penn State will faceoff at home against Minnesota Jan. 8 and 9. During the 2014-15 season the Nittany Lions went 1-3 against the Golden Gophers, and will look to turn the tables come the spring semester.
In regards to their first half of the season performance, Glen is pleased with where the team is at now, but looks forward to continued success.
"I think we know it's just the start and like I said we're happy," said Glen. "It's as good as we could hope for going into [the break] but we're looking forward to a little break over Christmas and spend some time with the family, then get back at it in Pittsburgh."