Recently in Men's Hockey Category

Nittany Lions Look to Continue Momentum at Michigan State

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 16 Penn State men's hockey team (17-8-3, 7-5-0 Big Ten) will travel to East Lansing this weekend to take on the Michigan State Spartans (7-19-2, 3-9-0 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions are looking to continue their momentum from last Saturday's 5-3 win at Minnesota.

Penn State first faced off against Michigan State on Jan. 25 and 26, 2013. The series, which Penn State split with Michigan State, was part of the Nittany Lions' inaugural Division I season.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky noted how memorable the matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Spartans has been over the years and is eager to get another notch in the win column at Munn Ice Arena.

"We know what we have to do regardless of our opponent to be successful and we know what they do," said Gadowsky. "They played a little bit of a different style last year as compared to this year but I think that once we look at their game where they beat Michigan on Friday night we'll probably see some similarities. So we know what to expect but it's really a matter of playing our best game."

To date, the Nittany Lions are 2-6-2 against the Spartans and on the road, have only taken down Michigan State once. However, this season Penn State has already matched its road wins from the 2014-15 campaign, and has surpassed its win total away from home, with five.

The Nittany Lions swept the Spartans in December in Pegula Ice Arena as part of their first Big Ten matchup of the season. With two wins against Michigan State already this season, the Nittany Lions are prepared for the battle that the Spartans will give them this weekend.

"I think it was a really encouraging win [against Minnesota]," said junior forward Zach Saar of the team's performance last weekend. "It's tougher on the road in the Big Ten but we want to get that win in Munn."

Saar also noted how he has seen the freshman class step up during this second half of the season. Saar pointed out how players like freshman forward Chase Berger have settled in nicely this season and have impacted the outcome of many games in favor of the Nittany Lions.

"I think everyone is pulling their weight, everyone is stepping up to do their part and contribute in the way that they specifically can as a player," said Saar.

The freshman class has come a long way since the first game of the season back in October, and most have developed a consistent style of play that has helped their class bring success to the team.

On the offensive end, two freshmen lead the pack in goals scored this season for the Nittany Lions. Forward Andrew Sturtz leads the team with 13 and fellow forward Chase Berger is in second place with 12.

Having been able to successfully win at both Ohio State and Minnesota this season, the Nittany Lions are looking forward to keeping the pattern strong this weekend at Michigan State and work hard toward another challenging but rewarding win.

"We're not expecting anything easy," said Saar.

Penn State faces off at Michigan State Friday at 7 p.m. and again Saturday at 7 p.m.

Lions Come Back Strong, Beat Gophers

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11673061.jpegBy Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- For the first time in program history, the No. 16 Penn State men's hockey team  (17-8-3, 7-5-0-0 Big Ten) beat Minnesota (14-13-0, 9-3-0-0 Big Ten) in Mariucci Arena by tallying a 5-3 victory on Saturday night.

Despite a 4-1 loss on Friday night, the Nittany Lions bounced back and fought through every minute of Saturday's game to come out on top.

"It means a lot, I thought it was great, the guys just had a heck of a game and our trainer had a heck of a game," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "Our equipment manager [Adam Sheehan] was the one who said it was offsides to challenge it, so it was a pretty good win for the program."

During the third period, momentum seemingly shifted in favor of Minnesota as the Gophers scored their fourth goal of the night. However, the goal was ultimately overturned by a coach's challenge due to offside, giving the Nittany Lions the boost they needed to finish the period strong.

In the 5-3 victory, four Nittany Lions had multiple points, with junior forward Zach Saar's goal giving the team the game winner. Saar was able to get the puck off an offensive zone faceoff and find the back of the net with less than four minutes left in the third period.

"Right before I think we had a media time out before faceoff and Chase Berger, he called the shot," said Saar. "He said we're going to run me off the wall, it's a faceoff play we do, and he said he was going to win it and he said that if he won, step off the hash mark and sure enough he did it."

In a night of history making, another milestone was met for the Nittany Lions as freshmen forward Matt Mendelson notched his first collegiate goal. The Pittsburgh native has come dangerously close in several matchups before, but finally found the back of the net on Saturday night against the Gophers.

"I was super happy for him," said Saar. "I was really lucky to be on the ice. "You never forget your first goal and he's been working very hard lately and unfortunately has never really got a good bounce, so getting that first one out of the way is always good."

The Nittany Lions never trailed on Saturday night, and kept the pressure defensively on the Gophers throughout all three periods of play.

In net, junior Eamon McAdam made 34 saves on his way to his 10th win of the season.

For the upperclassmen on the team, Saturday night's win was a long time coming.

"I think for the seniors and juniors who've played in Mariucci for three years now, it's a really tough environment to play in, so I think it was an awesome step for our program to get a win there," said Saar. "It felt really good."

As the Nittany Lions continue on in their season, they will once again be on the road as they faceoff against Michigan State on Feb. 12 and 13. With only one home series left, getting vital wins on the road will be the key to keeping up momentum throughout the coming weeks of play.

"Personally, I think it's just playing as a team," said Saar. "It's a long season so we have to play games as they come but for now it's just sticking to our identity and playing together and for each other." 

The Strength Behind the Team

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11662653.jpegBy Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than halfway through the regular season, the Penn State men's hockey team (16-7-3, 6-4-0 Big Ten) is poised for another season of growth on the ice thanks to preparations that begin months before the teams hit the playing surface. It all starts in the summer before the fall semester, with workouts run by strength and conditioning coach Cam Davidson.

11662663.jpegBehind the scenes, Davidson's job is to prepare the players prior to the first game, and ensure they maintain their endurance throughout the grueling six-month season. It's a tedious process, but one Davidson enjoys.

The job of a strength and conditioning coach is to develop workout plans for players off the ice in order to prepare their bodies physically for the demands that college hockey places on them.

Each player is different, Davidson explained, and workouts are often developed specifically with one player in mind, depending on the individual improvements the staff believes the player needs to make.

"The season is built largely around what we do in the offseason," said Davidson. "Obviously we don't need to be the biggest athletes out there, some guys do have to gain weight sometimes but we want our players to be more lean, so the way we train is not really getting people huge, it's getting as strong as we can while getting faster at the same time."

Additionally, workouts can vary depending on the player's position.

For goaltenders, the focus is more on explosive lateral movements, which mimic their job in the crease. In contrast, for forwards the workouts revolve around developing the speed and strength necessary to support long shifts and end-to-end action on the ice.

As part of preseason workouts, Davidson presents a "Preseason Top Athlete" award to the player who demonstrates the most physical prowess during the offseason tests. Every year since the 2012 season, defenseman Connor Varley has taken home the trophy.

"The more time you put in here, obviously you're going to get better at it," said Davidson. "Varley the first couple years he really got by on strength alone and what he's really gotten better at is the speed part of it, which is why he continues to win that award. He's understanding of his strength, but what makes him a better hockey player was recognizing his weaknesses and working on them."

While fans see the result of Davidson's training when the players hit the ice, what separates him from other strength coaches at the collegiate level is what he does when not with the team.

Davidson is a senior-level competitive weightlifter and has competed at both the local and national levels. Davidson truly lives what he teaches and uses that experience to push his teams to do better.

"I love the fact that he's a competitor, that he competes," said head coach Guy Gadowsky of Davidson. "He's in the weight room training as well, so that's a great example."

Davidson credits his ability to effectively coach student-athletes from his ability to know exactly how a workout is going to feel, since he's put himself through the same workout routines he gives his athletes.

Growing up in Colorado, Davidson has always been a fan of hockey. Prior to the Avalanche moving to Denver from Quebec, Davidson followed the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL.

Davidson graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2005, and spent the following years working for several universities within their strength and exercise training programs.

While working for the College of Charleston, Davidson met his wife Kaleena, a former standout women's volleyball student-athlete at Penn State. Kaleena later had an opportunity to move to State College and work as an assistant coach for Penn State women's volleyball, transplanting the Davidsons to Hockey Valley.

Now in his third season working with men's hockey, Davidson is very proud of how far the team has come, both on and off the ice.

"I knew I wanted to work in hockey, because of the speed of the sport, and it's a really intense culture and I knew I wanted to be around that. It's very rewarding to see how far some of these guys have come over the years," said Davidson.

With his passion for not only hockey, but also for his role within the team, Davidson has become a core team member for the Nittany Lions. Davidson looks forward to the rest of Penn State's season and is eager to help the Nittany Lions in the weight room and beyond.

Penn State will faceoff at Minnesota on Friday night at 8 p.m. and again Saturday at 5 p.m. 

Students Pack the Stands of MSG, Lions Fall to Wolverines

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
NEW YORK - Despite fantastic support from the Penn State fans in attendance, the No. 15 Penn State men's hockey team (16-7-3, 6-4-0 Big Ten) was unable to edge No. 6 Michigan (16-3-4, 7-1-2 Big Ten) on Saturday as part of Big Ten Super Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The Nittany Lions fell to the Wolverines, 6-3.

More than 500 Penn State students traveled to Madison Square Garden to support both the men's basketball and men's hockey teams as part of the doubleheader against the Michigan Wolverines. Penn State sent 13 buses of students to the Big Apple to cheer on the Nittany Lions.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky was extremely appreciative of the student body turn out at the event and noted how vital the fans are for the team's game mentality.

"They continue to surprise us, they are the best," said Gadowsky. "I hope that doesn't sound like a cliché because they are. They've proven it ever since we got here and this is just another example, to have over 500 kids come down and make this trip is amazing, it's just amazing."

The students and fans cheered every chance they got, and didn't let up until the third period horn.

Thunderous applause erupted thanks to a late goal in the first period by junior forward David Goodwin, sending the Nittany Lions into the second period tied 1-1 with the Wolverines.

It was end-to-end action throughout the second period as the Nittany Lions fought for possession of the puck. Two more goals from the Nittany Lions, from freshman forward Andrew Sturtz and junior forward Ricky DeRosa, gave the Nittany Lions the edge heading into the third period, with Penn State leading 3-2.

Despite the consistency of play throughout the first two periods, during the third period the momentum shifted as the Wolverines found the back of the net four more times with the Nittany Lions unable to answer. Penn State was outshot, 22-11, in the third period.

"I thought, like coach said, the first two periods there was a good sense on the bench, everyone was really confident, it's just one of those things that we didn't play all three periods to have success against a good team like Michigan," said Goodwin.

Junior goaltender Eamon McAdam made 43 saves during Saturday's contest, with the loss now putting McAdam's record at 9-4-0 during this season.

The Penn State men's hockey team was humbled by the opportunity to once again play at Madison Square Garden and look forward to opportunities to return to New York City in the future.

Next for the Nittany Lions, they will travel to Minnesota for two of their remaining eight road games. Penn State will host their only remaining home contest on Feb. 19 and 20 against Ohio State.

With little remaining home matchups, the Nittany Lions will look to notch critical wins on the road to help their chances of advancing to post-season play. 

VIDEO: Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Sights and Sounds

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NEW YORK - Penn State fans helped create a tremendous atmosphere for the first Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader inside Madison Square Garden.

The Nittany Lions fell short on the scoreboard on the hardwood (79-72) and ice (6-3) in contests against Michigan, but the Big Ten's first-ever day-night doubleheader was a resounding success. More than 27,000 fans attended the two events, including a traveling brigade of more than 500 Penn State students from the Legion of Blue and The Roar Zone.

"It was a great event and a great atmosphere," men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "During the basketball game and then out on the streets in between games and certainly the hockey game. I'm sorry we lost, but it was a great event."

Take an inside look from the Super Saturday festivities in New York, including the changeover from hardwood to ice in a Sights and Sounds highlight video from Madison Square Garden.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

MSG Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Live Blog

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NEW YORK - Welcome to the first Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader from Madison Square Garden. The Nittany Lion basketball and hockey teams are set to face Michigan in a day-night doubleheader in the "World's Most Famous Arena". 

Stay tuned for live coverage from Manhattan with game updates, behind the scenes photos and more from a unique day of Penn State sports.

Live Blog Super Saturday - Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader at MSG

Lions Fall to Wolverines, Prepare for Rematch in MSG

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a thrilling first period of hockey, the No. 15 Penn State men's hockey team (16-6-3, 6-3-0 Big Ten) was unable to complete a third period come back and fell to No. 6 Michigan (15-3-4, 6-1-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night, 7-4. Up next for the Nittany Lions is a rematch in Madison Square Garden against the Wolverines on Saturday.

The first period of Thursday's game got off to an eager start, as both teams tirelessly fought for possession of the puck. Michigan found the back of the net first, but Penn State was not going to give up easily.

Thanks to a goal from freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie, the Nittany Lions ended the first period tied with the Wolverines, 2-2.

Although their third period comeback fell short, head coach Guy Gadowsky observed several favorable things about Thursday night's contest.

"What a tremendous crowd, it was great to see the white out," said head coach Guy Gadowsky.

Thursday night's game was easily the most enthusiastic atmosphere the Nittany Lions have played in all season, with cheers for the home team and taunts of the Wolverines tirelessly filling the arena throughout the game.

Gadowsky also noted his team's ability to skate with Michigan's unrelenting offense, a goal he had stated earlier in the week.

Up next for the Nittany Lions will be a much-anticipated rematch between Penn State and Michigan in Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The team is eager to return to the ice and get back in the win column.

Gadowsky noted that although the team has a day in between, they won't necessarily be using the time to make significant changes to their strategy of play.

"This isn't the first time that we've lost a game and we have to come back, so no we're not going to change anything up, we're going to prepare like we can," said Gadowsky.

When asked about the significance of playing in Madison Square Garden and participating in a historic doubleheader on one of the biggest stages in sports, Gadowsky was eager to praise the opportunity his team has at hand.

"We're very excited, I think it's a great thing with the Big Ten, I mean we're really excited about not only playing Michigan hockey but our basketball program, it's going to be exciting," said Gadowsky.  

The Nittany Lions will be part of a double-header series on Saturday in Madison Square Garden. The Big Ten Super Saturday College Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader will feature Penn State taking on Michigan in basketball at noon, followed by Penn State hockey's rematch of Michigan at 7 p.m. Both games will be on the Big Ten Network.

Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Michigan (1/28/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage from the 2015-16 Nittany Lion men's hockey season. Penn State opens a two-game series against No. 6 Michigan in the annual Pegula Ice Arena White Out.

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Michigan (1/28/16)

Busy Week Ahead for the Nittany Lions

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coming off a split against Ohio State last weekend, the No. 15 Penn State (16-5-3, 6-2-0 Big Ten) will face off against No. 6 Michigan (14-3-4, 5-1-2 Big Ten) this Thursday in Pegula Ice Arena and again on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

The Nittany Lions are eager to bounce back after their Saturday loss to the Buckeyes and look forward to the challenge of playing such a highly ranked opponent.

For Thursday's game fans are encouraged to wear white, a continuing tradition for when Michigan comes to Hockey Valley.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky is thrilled to know the fans are just as enthusiastic about the matchup as his team is, and is eager to see what kind of atmosphere Pegula has on Thursday. Gadowsky expects nothing but enthusiasm from the ever-passionate fan base.

"We love the fans, we love the Roar Zone and really looking forward to seeing how white our white out is," said Gadowsky.

Although there is understandable hype about the game in New York City on Saturday, Gadowsky noted that Thursday's game is not to be overlooked, as every game provides opportunities for the team to continue a push towards a postseason berth.

Thursday night's game will be the last home game in Pegula Ice Arena until Penn State's matchup against Ohio State Feb. 19 and 20.

Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the second time Penn State has played a matchup in the Big Apple.

During the 2014-15 season Penn State faced Cornell in the Frozen Apple, a 3-1 loss for the Nittany Lions. Building off their previous experience in New York City, Gadowsky and company are looking forward to their familiar, and hopefully triumphant return to the Big Apple.

"I hope that last year will be a good experience for us," said Gadowsky. "I know Michigan has played there in the past as well so I don't think any team is looking to get an advantage, but the fact that we've been through it once we understand the building, we're used to the bright lights in New York I think is only going to help us."

With the schedule slightly different than normal, Gadowsky has implemented shorter practices this week in hopes of keeping the team fresh for a home game on Thursday and then travel on Friday.

Friday morning the team will have an open skate and practice before leaving for New York City. Saturday will follow a little bit of a different schedule than normal, as a morning skate is not possible due to the double header with Penn State basketball taking on Michigan that afternoon.

Although the morning skate will be missing, Gadowsky is confident his players don't need the little bit of extra preparation time.

"We're going to skate on Friday and then leave for New York after that," said Gadowsky. "Saturday obviously there's no morning skate, personally I think those are way overrated in my mind. They're somewhat good for the goaltenders to get out and look at the angles and look at the puck in the building, but for the team I think they're a little overrated."

Historically, the Nittany Lions are 6-3-0 against the Wolverines; including a thrilling 2-1 double overtime win during the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on March 20, 2014.

The matchup between Penn State and Michigan never disappoints, and this week's contests will likely follow the same pattern. Both teams have forwards in the top 10 scoring rankings of the conference, as well as have had several Big Ten Players of the Week.

Penn State takes on Michigan at 7 p.m. Thursday in Pegula Ice Arena and again at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. 

Lions Eager for First Conference Road Series

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11627450.jpegBy Maria Canales, Student Staff Writers
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a home sweep of Wisconsin last weekend, the Penn State men's hockey team (15-4-3, 5-1-0 Big Ten) is looking forward to its first conference road trip of the season, facing Ohio State (6-12-2, 1-3-2 Big Ten) in Columbus. This weekend's games are vital for the Nittany Lions as they inch closer towards the stretch run of the season.

While head coach Guy Gadowsky constantly raves about how good of a home ice advantage the Roar Zone gives his team, the Nittany Lions will be without their most vocal and loyal fans this weekend. Instead, the Nittany Lions will need to manufacture their own energy.

"I think it's something I believe that the guys are sort of looking forward to the challenge," said Gadowsky on playing in Columbus this weekend. "We love playing in Pegula, we love the Roar Zone, they're huge for us, they're huge for enjoyment, they're huge for motivation, I think they've been a big part of the strong home ice advantage we have and the strong home record."

The Nittany Lions are 11-3-1 at home this season, and went 13-2-3 at home during the 2014-15 campaign. In contrast, the Nittany Lions are 2-0-2 on the road this season, and look to improve on that record this weekend.

"I think any time you play in the Big Ten it's going to be hard, whether it's home or on the road and I think if you want to be a good team you have to learn how to win on the road," said Gadowsky.

Senior forward Curtis Loik knows that any away game is an opportunity for the team to focus in on what the team refers to as a "business trip." Away games allow for players to focus in on their task at hand, rather than all the distractions game day at home can provide.

Rather than be entranced by the Roar Zone's chants, or the blaring of "Timber" through the speakers, being behind enemy lines provides an atmosphere of work instead of play.

Loik mentioned that although home games are a different atmosphere, each player enters every game with the same level of seriousness, whether on the road or not.

"You have to come to each game with the same mentality," said Loik. "It's a challenge on the road but we're going to get there early, get ready and be prepared for Ohio State."

As the season digs deeper into conference play, matchups become more important for rankings and the possibility of a post-season, especially seeding in the Big Ten Tournament.

Last March, the Buckeyes ended the Nittany Lions' season by defeating Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, 3-1.

Penn State has faced Ohio State 10 times in its short history as a varsity program, and has come out on top three times. Gadowsky is confident that after this weekend the Nittany Lions will be closer to evening the record. 

The Nittany Lions look forward to putting all their hard work to use this weekend, and come home with two vital wins.

"Every game is a business trip for us," said Loik. "Each one of these games coming to the end of the season, it's so important for the rankings and for our personal success, so it's going to be a big weekend for us."

Penn State takes on Ohio State on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Columbus.