Recently in Men's Hockey Category

Lions Celebrate NCAA Tournament History

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On Sunday afternoon at Letterman's Sports Bar and Gastro Pub, more than 150 fans packed into the largest room of the restaurant to watch the Penn State men's hockey team learn their fate as part of the NCAA Tournament selection show watch party. The room was filled with community members, the Roar Zone and many more who came out to support the Nittany Lions.

"It's really cool, it was a great turnout," said sophomore defenseman Vince Pedrie. "I can't believe this many people came and it shows the pride we have here in Hockey Valley and what a great fan base to play in front of." 

The Nittany Lions, just hours before on Saturday night, secured their first Big Ten Championship, thanks to a 2-1 double overtime win against Wisconsin. Many players were still in awe of what they had accomplished the night before.

"It hasn't [sunk in yet]," Pedrie said. "I was talking to my parents after the game and I couldn't even put it into words, I just kept saying it was incredible. Back-to-back double overtime games, you couldn't have scripted it any better, it really hasn't sunk in yet."

Penn State learned during the selection show it would be heading to Cincinnati for the first round of the NCAA Tournament, facing Union (N.Y.) Saturday in its first appearance in the event in program history. For head coach Guy Gadowsky, Penn State's hard work is paying off with the selection to the tournament.

"It means that we're going in the right direction," Gadowsky said. "It means that this is a great university, that we have a great athletic department and so much support. I tell you what, if I could go back and be a college hockey player this is exactly where I would go."

Gadowsky also gave a shout out to Nittany Lions strength and conditioning coach, Cam Davidson, for preparing his team so well for the grueling games they've had to play over the last few days, and knows his team will be ready come Saturday. 

"I'm actually in awe of how they were able to skate at all in the first period let alone in the fifth period," Gadowsky said. "Just a tremendous job."

Gadowsky and company are preparing for yet another challenging game ahead of them against a team they haven't faced before, but Gadowsky is confident in his team's ability to come together and fight for a win. 

"You've got to have great goaltending, you have to have great chemistry, you have to have a tremendous work ethic, you have to have great support and a little bit of luck," Gadowsky said. "We'll see if it goes our way."

Jones Superb in Conference Final

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer 

DETROIT - As the puck dropped for the first period of the Big Ten Championship game Saturday night, Penn State men's hockey freshman goaltender Peyton Jones stared down the ice, knowing he was only one game away from helping secure Penn State's first conference title. Little did he know that Penn State would go on to defeat Wisconsin, 2-1, in yet another a nail-biting 2-1 double overtime victory.

Despite playing all 93:33 minutes in net in the double overtime victory against Minnesota the night before, Jones felt fresh heading into the Championship game.

"I just take it one second at a time," Jones said. "It's tough, it's a mental battle but I just take it one second at a time, keep telling myself to stay focused and keep locked on the puck and just go from there."

Saturday night's contest was challenging, and the Badgers fired everything they had at Jones, hoping to trip him up. However, Jones was ready, and kept a keen eye on the Badgers offense.

After a first period goal Saturday night from freshman forward Liam Folkes, Jones took a deep breath, knowing his offense was doing its job, so he could do his. During the first period, Wisconsin challenged Jones several times, forcing him to make a few close saves to keep the Badgers off the board. With 40 seconds left to play, Jones made his seventh save of the period, securing the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead heading into intermission.

During the second period, both teams were unable to score, but that didn't mean the Badgers didn't test Jones' focus. With eight saves during the second period, Jones once again outsmarted Badgers. As the clock ticked down on the period, Jones denied a couple of the Badgers' offense men at the doorstep, coming in clutch to keep Penn State up by one.

The Badgers tied it up at a goal each during the third period, forcing the game into overtime. As the game continued, and looked as if it would head to overtime, Jones kept a level eye on the task at hand, making 17 saves during the third period. 

"For me, last night and tonight especially, I felt like as we got into the third period and the first overtime I was heating up," Jones said. "I felt really good, I was making a lot of saves, the glove saves were going right into my pocket, shots to my chest I was keeping in and shots to my stick I putting into the corners, so I felt really good." 

From the other end of the ice in double overtime, Jones had a straight shot of Folkes' second, and game winning, goal of the night. Folkes was able to end the game with 6:43 left in the double overtime, thanks to a great feed from freshman forward Brandon Biro that gave him a breakaway. Jones saw the set up and execution, but wasn't able to wrap his head around that the Nittany Lions had won.

"To be honest, I was shocked," Jones said of his reaction to Folkes' goal. "I threw my hands in the air and I didn't know what to do. That was probably the most shocked and just hit with excitement I've been in a while. It was awesome, it's a feeling I can't describe."

Jones was named Most Outstanding Player during the postgame awards presentation, after securing 51 shots on Saturday night, but Jones said he couldn't take the credit for taking down the Badgers. 

"I don't think I won a hockey game for my team," Jones said. "To be honest, I made a ton of saves but I couldn't make those saves without those guys on the team. The defensemen, they're tremendous, every one of them blocking shots, keeping pucks out of the zone, forwards taking hits to get pucks out of the zone, I couldn't have done what I did tonight without them." 

Jones spoke of how the team celebrated the first conference championship for the program, saying it was nice to just take in the moment.

"A lot of fun, everyone's fired up," Jones said. "Everyone's very happy and I'm happy with this team. There's a lot of heart, a lot of character in that locker room and you can tell. Ten periods of hockey in 24 hours isn't easy."

Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Wisconsin (B1G Championship)

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DETROIT - Fourth-seeded Penn State men's hockey locked up its spot in the Big Ten Championship game with thrilling 4-3 double overtime win against top-seeded Minnesota. Now set to meet the Badgers for the second time in a three-month span, the Nittany Lions will square off against Wisconsin in the title game set for 8 p.m. ET at Joe Louis Arena. Follow along for in-game updates and exclusive content.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Gameday Live vs. Wisconsin (B1G Championship)

Teamwork Guides Lions Into Finals

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer

DETROIT - After a dominant 4-1 victory over Michigan Thursday night, Penn State men's hockey defeated Minnesota in a double overtime thriller, 4-3, securing a spot in the Big Ten Championship finals.

"I thought everybody played great, really hard," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "Very, very happy to be playing here tomorrow. It was a big win for the program, not only for the Big Ten but also I believe it solidified going to the NCAA Tournament."

Right from puck drop, the Nittany Lions were off and running with Penn State looking to advance to the finals on Saturday night. 

With a fitting 18:55 left in the first period, freshman forward Nikita Pavlychev netted the first goal of the night for the Nittany Lions off a rebound. Pavlychev was able to use his reach and grab the puck, before tossing it into a gaping net.

The Nittany Lions used the momentum from Pavlychev's goal to their advantage. Despite Minnesota's two goals during the first period, that didn't slow down the Nittany Lions. Penn State eagerly approached every offensive opportunity, quickly determining the play and getting shots on net. Penn State fired 11 times at the net during the first period.

Penn State started out strong once again during the second period. Sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz took the puck into Minnesota's zone and shot it on net where the rebound found the stick of sophomore forward Chase Berger. Berger was able to bring the puck around the back of the net and fire a backhanded shot just seconds later, with sophomore Alec Marsh credited for the goal that followed since the puck hit off his elbow. Minnesota's defense didn't see it coming, since they were still focused on Sturtz's presence near the crease. 

The Nittany Lions skated out on the ice for the third period with determination in their eyes. That fighting spirit paid off, as senior forward Dylan Richard secured the Nittany Lions' third goal of the night, his ninth of the season, off a great pass from Sturtz only a minute into the period. Tied 3-3 at the end of regulation, the game headed to overtime. 

"I thought they felt very confident," Gadowsky said of his team's mindset heading into the overtime period. "I thought we played a very good game, had a ton of chances. The guys just felt we didn't have to change anything, we just had to, as Erik Autio said at the end of the game, play Penn State hockey." 

During the first overtime period, freshman goaltender Peyton Jones made a phenomenal glove save that made the crowd gasp in awe. It was a textbook definition of a beautiful save. Jones made 37 saves on the night.

"It was fantastic," Gadowsky said of Jones' performance. "I think a lot of guys on the bench, when he made that glove-save, a lot of guys said 'hey, it's ours now,' so that was huge." 

After 80 minutes of play, both teams still looked fresh despite the lengthy outing. For all the marbles, it was junior defenseman Erik Autio who ended the game, giving the Nittany Lions the victory and the status of moving on to the finals. More than halfway through the second overtime, Autio caught a pass from freshman forward Denis Smirnov and found the back of the net, cheers erupting from the Penn State bench. 

"It's a pretty good feeling," Autio said. "Celebrating with the guys after a game like that, it's just unbelievable."

The Nittany Lions will spend the important hours between games letting their bodies recover and getting back into the mindset of game preparation. 

"We're excited," Autio said. "It's the Championship game."
DETROIT - No. 15 Penn State men's hockey advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals following a 4-1 win against Michigan in Thursday's quarterfinals. The Nittany Lions are now slated for an 8 p.m. ET matchup against top-seeded Minnesota Friday night at Joe Louis Arena. Follow along for in-game updates and exclusive content. 
Live Blog Men's Hockey Gameday Live - Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

Nittany Lions Focused on Wolverines

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey (21-11-2, 10-9-1 Big Ten) is gearing up for the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night. Despite the possibility of the Nittany Lions playing three games against three different opponents in as many days, head coach Guy Gadowsky is keeping the team focused on one matchup at a time.

The Nittany Lions, who are seeded at No. 4 for the tournament, will face the fifth-seeded Michigan Wolverines (13-18-3, 6-12-2 Big Ten). Penn State most recently dropped two games on the road at Michigan last weekend, but earlier in the season defeated the Wolverines twice at Pegula Ice Arena in December.

"We feel that if we execute our game that we have a very good chance of winning," Gadowsky said. "That doesn't guarantee anything, but we're not taking it for granted that we feel we have a good team to do this. We're going to work extremely hard but we're certainly not panicking because we got beat twice against [Michigan]."

The Nittany Lions are known for working one game at a time, and this round of games is no different. Gadowsky emphasized that if Penn State wins on Thursday, then the Nittany Lions will deal with preparing for their next opponent when the opportunity comes, but that's not what the team is concentrating on now.

"Up to now, I can tell you we've been very proud of how they've turned the page in several instances," Gadowsky said of his team. "We just got swept in games that were important and I think it could be easy to get down and point fingers and we just don't see any of that."

This year's Big Ten Tournament is set to get underway at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, playing host to some of the final hockey games played in the venue before it's demolished. The Nittany Lions last played at Joe Louis Arena during the 2015 Big Ten Tournament, where Penn State bowed out after a loss to Ohio State.

Gadowsky has coached several games in Joe Louis Arena before, with both his previous teams and Penn State. Although Gadowsky has fond memories of the historic venue, he noted that the overall notion of the famous atmosphere wouldn't take away from the task at hand on Thursday night.

"I've always really enjoyed the experience [at Joe Louis Arena]," Gadowsky said. "I look forward to another one, however, it doesn't matter to us what the atmosphere is like."

The Nittany Lions face a short week of workouts and practices before heading to Detroit, and are looking forward to making a statement come Thursday night. As the postseason draws closer, Gadowsky is looking toward every member of the team to make an impact, regardless of age or class.

"We don't have freshmen right now, that's how we look at it," Gadowsky said. "The expectations are that we know exactly what our game is and that we execute it to the best of our ability. There are things that are out of our control that we really don't want to worry about at all, and our expectations are the things that are in our control, that we're committed to them and that we execute them very well." 

Seniors Make Statement in Final Home Game

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 11 Penn State men's hockey (21-9-2, 10-7-1 Big Ten) regained its footing following a tough Friday loss to No. 16 Wisconsin (19-12-1, 12-6-0 Big Ten), defeating the Badgers 6-0 on Saturday's senior night. 

"Two things, one, love the seniors," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "And I love this community too. It was such a big game for us and to come out and, obviously the students aren't here, but just to see it packed by the community was just awesome."

Prior to the game, the five senior members of the team were recognized for their endless commitment to the program during the last four years. David Goodwin, Ricky DeRosa, David Thompson, Dylan Richard, and Zach Saar were all honored, along with student assistant coach Mike Williamson. Additionally, video manager Will Bensur, and equipment managers Collin Kearns and Kevin Seifert were recognized as well. 

Nearing the end of regulation with the Nittany Lions on the power play and up 5-0, it was sophomore forward Alec Marsh who suggested to Gadowsky that he should put all the seniors on the ice for an "all-senior power play" as Gadowsky put it.

Gadowsky followed through and encouraged the class of 2017 to take one final skate on Pegula Ice Arena's surface in front of the home crowd. With just seniors on the ice, Saar registered the final goal of the night, with just nine seconds to play.

"To see not only Zach score but to see all the seniors on the ice at the same time and get that last one, believe me, playing in Pegula means a lot to them," Gadowsky said. "So for them to be able to get that goal at the end in such a big game was pretty cool." 

From the moment the puck dropped, the Nittany Lions came out strong offensively, with freshman defenseman Kris Myllari notching the first goal of the night to set the tone for the rest of the game. 

Followed by a quick goal from senior captain David Goodwin, Penn State made its offensive presence known early. Those two goals were the only two in the first period for either team, but they helped the Nittany Lions pace themselves to victory, ending the night with a 6-0 win.

Four of the six goals scored by the Nittany Lions were scored by a member of the senior class, including two goals from Goodwin. Thompson and Saar each added a goal of their own on senior night.

Goodwin was reflective on his time spent in Pegula as he answered questions during the postgame press conference.

"It was a really special night," Goodwin said. "I can't really believe it's over here at Pegula, but I think we went out on as high of a positive note as we could've."

Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Wisconsin (3/4/17)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 11 Penn State men's ice hockey is set to officially wrap up its regular season home slate, closing out its weekend series against Wisconsin on senior night at Pegula Ice Arena. The Nittany Lions and the Badgers square off Saturday, March 4 with puck drop set for 8 p.m. Follow along for exclusive content and in-game updates. 

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Wisconsin (3/4/17)

Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Wisconsin (3/3/17)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 11 Penn State men's ice hockey is set to close out its regular season home slate, welcoming Wisconsin to Pegula Ice Arena for a two-game weekend series. The Nittany Lions and the Badgers begin Friday, March 3 with a 7 p.m. puck drop. Follow along for exclusive content and in-game updates. 

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog vs. Wisconsin (3/3/17)

Seniors Motivated for Final Home Series

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey's senior class has seen it all. From the first game in Pegula Ice Arena to the first time the program received a No. 1 poll ranking there been some pretty big moments across the years, but they're not done yet.

With two final home games left in the regular season, the class of 2017 believes there is still more greatness to come.

Before puck drop Saturday, five graduating Nittany Lions will be honored. Forwards David Goodwin, Dylan Richard, Zach Saar and Ricky DeRosa, along with defenseman David Thompson make up the quintet that will be recognized for their commitment to a program that was just beginning and the progress they've made since arriving on campus.

When deciding to commit to Penn State, the group took a chance on a program that was just getting starting. The senior classes' freshman year was the first year in Pegula Ice Arena, and no one knew what to expect of the next four years.                                                                                                      

"Obviously you're taking a risk when you do that," Thompson said. "At the same time we knew what this place, the institution and university had to offer us not just athletically, but academically." 

As a senior, Thompson wants to best represent the senior classes that came before him, honoring the personalities of the student-athletes who helped kick start the program. Former Nittany Lions like captains Patrick Koudys and David Glen, along with the charismatic locker room presence of goalie PJ Musico are just a few of the legacies that Thompson has tried to embody his senior year. 

"I look at the professionalism that those guys exuded every day on and off the ice," Thompson said. "The character that they had, the big personalities, and just being around these guys every single day is just an absolute pleasure. They put a smile on your face and they make the days when it's not going your way a little easier."

Head coach Guy Gadowsky has praised these seniors for their commitment to the foundation of Penn State hockey both on and off the ice. Especially proud of their involvement in the local community and on the international scale, when it comes to giving back Gadowsky is pleased with how the Nittany Lions have bridged the gap between the team and its fans over the years. 

DeRosa started a reading rewards program for elementary school students, which the rest of the team volunteers with, from seniors on down. Goodwin has volunteered his time each summer since freshman year, serving communities abroad in countries like Cuba and Mexico.

"It's become a part of the culture of this program which we're very proud of," Gadowsky said of his team's desire to give back. "That is something the coaching staff set out to do." 

As for this weekend, the Nittany Lions and coaches are working one game at a time and just thinking and about Friday's matchup against Wisconsin, rather than the emotions that come with playing their final home games. 

"As I'm preparing for Saturday's game I'm sure there will be a big part of me that will realize, man this is my last time I play here at Pegula," Goodwin said. "But I'm sure I speak for [Thompson] as well, it'll be very tough to leave this place but it will be a lot easier to leave this place if we're going to the NCAA Tournament, so that really is our focus." 

Looking forward to the challenging series against the Badgers, Goodwin is optimistic about the Nittany Lions' abilities to earn two wins in the series. 

"Our biggest concern here is Friday night, not Saturday night and the accolades we'll be receiving," Thompson said. "It's all about the team right now and we know what position we're in and have the opportunity to do something special. We're keeping that in mind and all our focus is on Friday night."


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