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Penn State Hockey Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey weekly check in is back, featuring one-one-one interviews with Nittany Lion head coach Guy Gadowsky, James Robinson and Kevin Kerr. Listen in as the Nittany Lions recap opening weekend and look ahead to an early beginning to the Big Ten slate. 

Guy Gadowsky

 Robinson, Kerr

Freshman Feature: All Business for Limoges

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Like many other first year Nittany Lions on this year's team, freshman forward Alex Limoges arrives in Happy Valley bringing lots of experience, also arriving with a positive attitude that radiates from the locker room to the ice. 

The Winchester, Virginia native played his last two seasons in the USHL, mostly with the Tri-City Storm in Nebraska before being traded to the Waterloo Blackhawks in Iowa during his 2016-17 season. While in Waterloo, Limoges skated in 27 games, contributing 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points. 

"It was tough leaving, I left a lot of friends and teammates," Limoges said. "Waterloo was very welcoming and made the transition really easy."

In his USHL career, Limoges skated in 106 games, totaling 101 points, scoring 37 goals and dishing out 64 assists. 

Limoges also helped Waterloo to the Clark Cup Finals, a moment he says is his favorite hockey memory so far.

Many rookies and veterans come to Hockey Valley with similar experience, having played in the USHL for multiple different teams. Like Limoges, many of the Nittany Lions have either played with each other in the past, or had teammates who have played with each other, almost like a small network that can offer an added advantage on the ice in the collegiate setting. 

"It's a lot of trading stories from back playing against each other," Limoges said. "It's also a quick way to bond and make friends."

Limoges also has experience in a Team USA jersey, having earned a spot on the U.S. Junior Select Team, helping the squad to a gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge.

Still, it's his USHL experience that he noted has his most prepared to make the transition to the collegiate game.

"I think going in there, my coach Bill Muckalt, coached it like a college team so it prepared me with the style of play and just what to expect," Limoges said. 

This year, a freshman class of six skated onto a Penn State hockey team coming off its most successful season in its program's history, which could sound a bit intimidating. This close-knit group was able to make it through preseason and up to this point, it's all about supporting each other.

"All the freshman are really close, we have a pretty strong bond right now," Limoges said. "It's been unbelievable getting to know them.

Limoges not only has the freshman class to lean on, with an upperclassmen mentor like the rest of the newcomers. For Limoges, that's alternate captain Chase Berger.

"I look up to a lot of the older guys for different reasons, but mainly Chase Berger," Limoges said. "He's been helping me a lot on the ice, off the ice and in the classroom."

When asking Limoges about his first taste of collegiate hockey in last Sunday's exhibition against Ottawa, his response was quick and simple.

"College hockey is fast," Limoges said, "And it's physical, but I'm excited to get things started this season."

Limoges, along with all the other freshman, will have to wait a few weeks to get an official taste of Pegula's home ice advantage. The Nittany Lions open the 2017-18 season on the road at Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend before taking a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to meet the Golden Gophers.

Come Thursday, Oct. 19 though, Limoges will have the opportunity to see Pegula from an entirely new perspective.

"(I'm excited for) that first home game, being able to be there when they raise the banner and watch," Limoges said. "That is going to be really cool, and to see the Roar Zone in action."

The lefty shooter will also face a lot of former teammates throughout the season, like many others on the team, but he's not worried about keeping things professional and competitive once he steps on the ice. 

"I have a lot of old teammates on other teams and it's going to be a lot of fun to compete against them," Limoges said. "But there's no friends out there, on the ice it's all business."

Exhibition Provides Starting Point

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey lost a hard-fought 4-3 overtime battle against Ottawa in an exhibition game Sunday at Pegula Ice Arena. Although an early exhibition, the outing proved to be a productive benchmark for what's ahead for the Nittany Lions. 

All three of the Nittany Lion goals were scored on power play opportunities, the first coming from freshman defenseman Cole Hults' stick in the second period. Sophomore forwards Denis Smirnov and Brandon Biro also respectively contributed goals in the third period. 

Penn State went 3-7 overall on the power play, while Ottawa only went 1-2. Although able to capitalize on opportunities offensively, the Nittany Lions have identified some areas to improve  on the other side of the puck.

"There is some work to be done," Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "But because of the familiarity from last year, I thought at least when we got possession we did a pretty good job."

Even though a loss wasn't the outcome the team was hoping for, Gadowsky was still happy with the style of play and what it meant for final preparations ahead of the season opener. 

"I actually thought it was a good game," Gadowsky said. "It gave us a lot to work on and I think we got a lot out of it for an exhibition game."

Many of Penn State's newest freshmen also saw their first ice time in Pegula after a long preseason of captains practices and off-ice workouts. Even though the rookies played strong on their lines, there is still a long road ahead.

"I think it's good to get that first game over with," Gadowsky said. "It is a step up, but I don't think there was anything that really stood out."

Hults, specifically, arrived in Happy Valley with an impressive resume and high expectations on defense. During his first game at Pegula, Hults did not disappoint. The freshman scored his first collegiate goal to tie up the game halfway through the second period, forcing a goalie change for the Gee-Gees.

"I think he knew there was a possibility he would be playing in that position specifically because he's replacing Vince Pedrie and that's where he played on the power play," Gadowsky said. 

Hults committed to Penn State not long after Pedrie signed with the New York Rangers after last season and since his arrival, Gadowsky noted on media day that the Wisconsin native would be poised to skate alongside Autio as Pedrie's replacement.

Although the pair has only been together for about a week and a half at this point, while on the ice together, Autio and Hults displayed early potential,  both assisting on Smirnov's goal in the second period. 

"I thought it was nice to see them play, but it the experiment is not over," Gadowsky said. "But we didn't see anything that tells us it's not going to work."

Freshman Feature: Hults Adds Depth on Defense

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Penn State freshman Cole Hults has always played hockey close to his hometown in Stoughton, Wisconsin. After three years of playing for the Madison Capitols in the USHL, Hults decided on a change of scenery for his college career, and what place better than Hockey Valley. 

"For me, to get away was really good for my development," Hults said. "The facilities here are the best in all of college hockey and they give you every tool to be successful." 

Hults posted quite an impressive career in the USHL, a league in which Nittany Lion head coach Guy Gadowksy praised as the "best college preparation league in North America." Hults capped off his most recent season with the Capitols registering a team-high 32 points on six goals and 26 assists, finishing sixth in the USHL for defensemen scoring. Across three seasons, Hults played in 122 games, closing out his campaign with 42 points, scoring six goals to go along with 36 assists. 

"A lot of my points came from just moving that puck quick and getting it to the forwards," Hults said. "I know here they like to play fast, and that's what I'm really excited about because that's what I did back in Madison." 

For Gadowsky, Hults is just what the Nittany Lions were looking for when it comes to replacing Vince Pedrie, who decided to forgo his last two years of eligibility with Penn State after last season to sign with the New York Rangers.

"To have a puck moving, very intelligent, left-hand shot defenseman is essential," Gadowsky said, "We think he will be the guy who has a chance to replace Vince Pedrie."

With big shoes to fill, Hults has looked to older teammates as mentors and who better than senior defenseman, Erik Autio, who Hults could very likely play alongside this season. 

"They call him the horse because he never stops," Hults said. "It's been really influential on me, and I try to take after that now."

In addition to Autio, Hults also looks up to Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, the brother of his coach back in Madison, Garrett Suter.

"My coach Garrett always told me 'you don't want to be noticed out there,' and that's Ryan," Hults said. "You don't know he's there but he's really good at what he does."

Hults also comes into his rookie season having been recently drafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round. Even though it was a cool experience, it doesn't mean much, the lefty shooter said. 

With aspirations to play at the next level, Hults isn't the only member of his family with eyes set on the NHL. Hults' older brother Mitch, who also played for the Madison Capitols, decided to forgo his last two years of eligibility at Lake Superior State University to sign a two-year entry-level deal with the Anaheim Ducks in late March of 2017. 

"To see how far he's come and how much we pushed each other in the summer, he deserves it for sure," Hults said. "It's good to see things work out for him."

Nittany Lions Building on Chemistry Ahead of 2017-18

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Thursday afternoon, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky and his Nittany Lions were eager to preview the 2017-18 campaign, meeting with members of the media on media day.

For the first season in program's history, Penn State will open the season ranked, slotted No. 10 in the preseason poll. Picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten poll, the Nittany Lions are also coming off a Big Ten Championship season that saw Penn State finish with a 25-12-2 overall record. 

With just two hours a week on the ice at this point, Gadowsky noted that there's still much to figure out when it comes to this year's squad.

"I think the chemistry that we had last year hasn't been lost," Gadowsky said. "I think they're really good guys and I think they are working really well together so far. To really find out what has changed with chemistry on the ice, you have to play."

Come Sunday, Oct. 1, the Nittany Lions will host Ottawa in an international exhibition set for 3 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena.

"Moving into Sunday, we just want to do the right things, work on some things that we've worked on since we got here in August and try to put us out on the right foot headed into Clarkson and St. Lawrence," sophomore forward Nate Sucese said. "I think obviously every team is a preseason game for a reason and I think it will really tell us where we are at headed into Clarkson."

Catch up on four things you need to know before heading to Pegula Ice Arena Sunday afternoon.

Strong Leadership
Senior forward James Robinson was voted as one of three team captains by his fellow teammates in the weeks leading up to this season. "Jimmy Pucks," as he's known, is accompanied by senior defenseman Erik Autio and junior center Chase Berger as the team's alternates

"It's just a huge honor and I'm extremely humbled," Robinson said. "You look at that dressing room and we have so many guys who could be wearing not only the 'C' but any kind of letter." 

Robinson brings plenty of strong leadership experience to the role, wearing the 'A' last season as well as during his junior hockey career. Along with the rest of the team, Gadowsky and the staff are very excited to see the direction Robinson will take the team.

"He has the ultimate respect from everybody on the team," Gadowsky said. "He's perfect in that role."

Toughness Within the Big Ten
The Big Ten Conference has grown to become one of the most competitive conferences in college hockey, considering new additions in Notre Dame last season and Penn State's rapid rise in the national ranks. Combined with the high level of play Minnesota brings year in and year out, the Gophers are frequently among the top programs in the country, along with Wisconsin and Ohio State.

"This is by far the toughest head-to-toe league that Big Ten hockey has had," Gadowsky said. "The teams that come out of this league into the tournament are going to be extremely battle-tested." 

Defensive Improvements
The Nittany Lions worked toward improving many aspects of their game during the offseason, but above all, Gadowsky noted that the focus of those improvements were defensive.

"We have to be better defensively but also be much more consistent, and that sounds easy, but it's really hard," Gadowsky said. "If we are to have success, we can't always depend on Peyton Jones playing out of his mind for three games, we have to be much more consistent defensively." 

With that absence of defenseman Vince Pedrie, following his departure signing with the New York Rangers in the offseason, Gadowsky noted that freshmen Cole Hults and Alex Stevens could be potentially prime options to step into a big roles. 

"I've tried to teach the freshman this year that blocking shots goes a long way for the team," senior defenseman Trevor Hamilton said. "I think they've all bought into it and are committed to playing defense first."

In the Past but Not Forgotten
Last year's historic season ended in a heartbreaking 6-3 loss to top-ranked, Denver in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The eye-opening experience put a lot in perspective for the team, but now serves as a valuable experience in terms of what it takes to get back to playing March hockey. 

"It was unbelievable to play the best team in the country (Denver) and know what level we need to be at in order to get there," junior forward Chase Berger said. "Playing Big Ten teams is great, but it was an unbelievable experience to see the highest level." 

Looking closer at that experience, for junior forward Andrew Sturtz, this year is all about building on the success. 

"I think what we did last year, it was very special and now we have a lot of guys back who have been there," Sturtz said. "We've seen the NCAA Tournament, we've seen the Big Ten final. Now to get back there, we just have to remember what actually got us there. We weren't trying to be pretty, it wasn't cute plays, we were playing Penn State hockey and I think with the skill we have this year, if we play Penn State hockey we should be alright."

Freshman Feature: Barratt Brings Experience to Hockey Valley

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Calling Bristol, Pennsylvania home, freshman Evan Barratt will look to make a big impact in his first season with Penn State. The lefty shooter comes in with quite a resume, looking to add quickness and implement a higher level of play on the ice. 

For head coach Guy Gadowsky, Barratt brings a big hockey IQ, a unique asset for any incoming Nittany Lion. 

"He gets points in so many different ways, he creates offense in so many different ways, just because his mind is so quick" Gadowksy said. "That applies to both sides of the puck."

Barratt fits right into the Nittany Lions' fast paced play that guided them a Big Ten Championship last year. His ability to quickly process on both offense and defenses, only serves to make him a double threat on the ice.

Barratt also brings a lot of international experience with him, including his 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship gold medal, an event he highlighted with a total of seven assists and one goal.

"Anytime you play outside the country it's definitely a harder type of game," Barratt said. "It has definitely helped me as a freshman."

Barratt played on both  the U17 and U18 U.S. National teams before enrolling at Penn State, as well as the U.S. Junior National Team Development Program in the USHL during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Barratt's style of play has already attracted the attention of the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him 90th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but he hasn't let that go to his head.

"Of course it's awesome that it happened to me and I'm so thankful for it," Barratt said. "But I don't put more pressure on myself or anything, I just continue to play."

Now at Penn State, Barratt is preparing for the 2016-17 season just like any other season, working to build strength and add muscle to his frame to play at the next level.

This year, Barratt will face off against one of his teammates from last year in almost every Big Ten competition of the season, something he's excited for, but not taking lightly.

"Every game is going to be fun for me but every game is important, too," Barratt said. "It's going to be a lot of fun battling out there."

Come October 1st in an exhibition against Ottawa, Barratt will experience his first game at home in Pegula, although already having seen a packed arena last year, as well as at last week's NHL preseason game. 

Suiting up in the Blue and White is also a bit of a homecoming as the Bucks County native, returns to his home state. Having moved away from home at the age of 16 to Ann Arbor, Michigan for hockey, his family can now come watch him play in front of a rowdy Hockey Valley crowd. 

"How can you not be excited?" Barratt said. "Selling out in 2:12, I mean, you can't, not be excited for that."

Champions Visit State Capitol

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - Penn State hit the state capitol today for an afternoon of recognition, celebrating Nittany Lion conference champion student-athletes and head coaches following a record-setting 2016-17 season both in competition and in the classroom.

Joined by select head coaches and staff members as well as student-athletes, the group toured through the Pennsylvania House and Senate, stopping in for lunch with Sen. Jake Corman in his office. Penn State then made its way to the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate before remarks from Corman, welcoming the group to the state's capitol following a few early proceedings.

Penn State then made its way to the floor of the Pennsylvania House, which holds all 203 members, including Pennsylvania's Rep. Mike Hanna, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, Rep. Rich Irvin and Rep. Scott Conklin, who read a resolution to again welcome and congratulate the Nittany Lions on an all-around successful season, one that drew a standing ovation from the members on the floor. 

"I want to congratulate the teams for not only what they do on the field but what they do in the community, the outreach they give, the coaches who oversee them," Conklin said. 

Nittany Lion director of athletics Sandy Barbour only echoed the all-around success in her remarks in the main rotunda later in the afternoon, noting that the individuals surrounding her representing a combined 2016-17 total of nine conference titles, among a few other crowns, are only one part of the story.

Penn State was recently slated fourth in the first spring update of the Learfield Directors' Cup standings following a year that saw seven Nittany Lion squads earn Big Ten Championships or tournament titles in seven sports, the most of any league institution and the third-highest total in school history.

As head coach Cael Sanderson brought instantaneous cheers from the floor of the Pennsylvania house upon his introduction, the room was reminded of Nittany Lion wrestling team's stunning second consecutive NCAA Wrestling Championship, marking its sixth in the last seven years, with five individuals earning NCAA titles along the way.

As Barbour pointed out though, the impact of the Blue and White extends much further than excellence in competition.

Nearly a month ago, a school record 114 Penn State student-athletes graduated, bringing the 2016-17 total to 142, with more students on track to cross the stage in August. Penn State also revealed its 89 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate this year, which stands just one point below its all-time program mark. 

"Penn State student-athletes, not unlike their student colleagues and their servant hearts, have dedicated themselves to service," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes served over 6,200 hours of community engagement this last year. This comprehensive excellence is embraced by our Penn State and Pennsylvania community. It's truly Penn State's point of difference. It has historically motivated a state and a community, connected passionately to each and every one of our programs and each and every one of our student-athletes who wear the Blue and White."

Representative of just a small piece of a variety of community engagement close to Penn State student-athletes is THON, a beloved annual event that encompasses the entire university and Happy Valley community.

Led by the efforts of the Penn State Student Athlete Advisory Board, SAAB raised $59,679.49 for THON in 2017, which ranked third among the 400-plus general organizations represented. Surging past a fundraising goal of $50,000, the 2017 figure is SAAB's second-largest total in the history of the organization, adding to a career total of $680,000, all for THON and the Four Diamonds Fund, with four Penn State student-athletes joining the 703 dancers on the floor this year.

Among those dancers this year was women's soccer's Megan Schafer, a Big Ten Champion from Langhorne, who joined the group today for her second trip to state capitol, but first as a Nittany Lion. 

"A couple of years ago I got recognized for winning a state championship, so I think it's pretty cool coming back at the collegiate level to get recognized for our hard work all season," Schafer said. "I think it's really cool everything that people put together just to recognize us today."

Prior to Penn State, Schafer scored the overtime game-winner to lead Neshaminy high school (also the alma mater of Penn State head football coach James Franklin) to a Pennsylvania state title.


The entire group of Nittany Lion coaches and student-athletes were treated to a personal meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf, who stopped by the steps of the main rotunda to greet the champions before heading back to Happy Valley.

Wrapping Up A Historic Season

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Tuesday afternoon, Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky concluded the Nittany Lion 2016-17 season with his final press conference of the year.

Gadowsky started off addressing the team's most recent news: defenseman Vince Pedrie's departure after signing with the New York Rangers.

"It's something that we expect is going to happen more and more, and Vince, he's been a great player for us, and a great person and representative for our program and our university," Gadowsky said. "He's a really good guy. I really enjoyed having him and really I wish the very best for him." 

Gadowsky knew Pedrie signing was a possibility after the Nittany Lions concluded their season, but also noted such dynamic players like Pedrie don't just leave the team simply to sign a contract, they leave when there's a high possibility they're headed to the NHL. 

Despite a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and one win shy of the Frozen Four, Gadowsky said there is much for the team the be proud of. Among those items, Penn State's first No. 1 ranking and bringing home the Big Ten Championship, just to name a few. 

Referring to Penn State's staff long-term checklist, Gadowsky noted proudly that this team was capable of taking great strides toward those goals this year, checking many accomplishments off the list.

"There's not very many anymore, which is nice to say," Gadowsky said. "This experience has made us hungry to want to learn more and get better." 

For Gadowsky, the 2016-17 season has been a year where he has learned more about coaching than ever before, and that experience in itself is extremely valuable to the success of the team in the future. 

So what's next for the Nittany Lions? 

Across the next weeks, the coaching staff will meet with each player individually and then meet as a staff to evaluate the program itself and start prepping for next year's campaign. 

"That's what I'm really looking forward to," Gadowsky said. "We already have a number of things we know we have to improve on and that's exciting. Physically, we're a little bit tired but I can't tell you how much we want to get back to improving and I know we can."

As for the departing senior class, forward Ricky DeRosa said he'd like the legacy of the class of 2017 to be that of a group of guys who were hard workers until the very end, and great representatives of Penn State off the ice. Reflecting, DeRosa had some fitting words to end the season, explaining why this particular team has been so special. 

"I'd say it's the people in the locker room," DeRosa said. "You had the younger guys pushing the older guys, the older guys kind of leading the way with the different leadership styles that have been instilled is us over the last three, four years here. Then you throw in Coach Gadowsky and the other coaches in the mix and it's a recipe for success."

A Season to Never Forget

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By Arielle Sargent,

CINCINNATI, Ohio - When head coach Guy Gadowsky assumed responsibilities as Penn State hockey's head coach, he didn't arrive with a timeline for program milestones and accomplishments in mind. Rather, Gadowsky and his staff have a checklist, having decided to focus first, on forging a foundation built on the principles of work ethic and commitment. 

On Sunday night, third-seeded Penn State's 2016-17 season officially came to a close in the NCAA regional finals, as top-seeded Denver emerged with 6-3 decision. 

Regardless of the bitter end, there's no denying that the 2016-17 season saw plenty of list-checking worthy moments that filled loyal fans with a palpable sense of pride, leaving enough excitement to pique even the interest of the most skeptical critics.

First there was the program's rise to a No. 1 national ranking, which came January 16th following a pair of wins against Michigan State. Next, a thrilling marathon run through the Big Ten Tournament, culminating in the program's first conference title, a feat that Gadowsky noted postgame, he and the staff didn't think possible so soon.

Just days later, the Nittany Lions earned their first NCAA Tournament berth in program history, making a striking debut with a record-setting 10-3 win against Union before arriving in the regional finals, facing Penn State's toughest test all year long.

"This season can be a very important one," Gadowsky said. "I don't think anyone will forget this season, it was magical."

The Pioneers opened the scoring with a goal 3:17 into the first period before widening the advantage to two, sending a laser through traffic and past Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones at the 7:19 mark.

Nikita Pavlychev's shorthanded goal shaved the deficit to one as the freshmen dished to Ricky DeRosa, who sent it right back just in time for a finish. At 2:02 in the second period, it was fellow freshman Denis Smirnov who scored to tie the game, 2-2, striking up the pulse of the Nittany Lion fans in the stands at U.S. Bank Arena.

Penn State couldn't find its rhythm to settle into though as Denver scored again to recapture the two-goal lead before adding a power-play goal with 1:18 left in second period, stretching the gap to three, 5-2.

"I don't think we were necessarily us, but you have to give them a lot of credit for making us not us," Gadowsky said. 

Although facing a daunting deficit, as DeRosa noted postgame, there was no panic on the bench headed toward the final period of play. 

"We have a saying, don't panic just manage," DeRosa said. "We posted five goals in the third period yesterday so that was the mindset in the locker room, just chip away at it."

Penn State did make every attempt to do just that, as James Gobetz fired a shot from up near the blue line to for his first goal of the year to bring the Nittany Lions back within two, 5-3, at 12:40 in the third period. 

The Nittany Lions wouldn't pull any closer though as Denver continued to stifle the offense, turning away a variety of seemingly promising opportunities with Pioneer goalie Tanner Jaillet finishing with 24 saves. Denver added an empty net goal late in the frame to make it 6-3 before the final blare of the horn. 

As the scoreboard illuminated with zeros, Penn State retired to the locker room with the sting of the season-ending loss setting in. 

"I believe it was Nikita Pavlychev who said thank you on behalf of the freshmen, and James Robinson thanked everyone else," Gobetz said. "Everyone was pretty emotional, kind of consoling each other. I mean, we are brothers. It is obviously a tough loss, but we will bounce back and we are thankful for the seniors for sure."

In early March, Penn State honored a group of five seniors on senior night at Pegula Ice Arena. A group of Nittany Lions who committed to a program in its early beginnings, unknowing of the future or what to expect, they proudly helped shaped an already special legacy from the moment they said yes to Hockey Valley. Seeing everything from the first game in Pegula Ice Arena to their last game, which came in Penn State's first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, it's a journey that features unprecedented achievement.

"The seniors have really taught me a lot," Gobetz said. "I think we have a lot of freshmen here, and we are all very thankful for what they have done. Without them, we would not be here, that is for sure. They built this program and we thanked them in the locker room after the game and obviously, we could not be more thankful for them."

Strengthened by the 2016-17 seniors and for all those who have come before and for those who are still yet to come, the future for Penn State hockey is undoubtedly bright. 

Among the blazing outlook, Penn State returns 11 from its standout group of freshmen, including Smirnov, who netted the second period equalizer, setting a single-season Penn State freshman record with his 19th goal of the season, breaking Andrew Sturtz's record (18) from last year.   

"We'll remember this team forever, but at the same time, I hope the guys that are returning use it as motivation," Gadowsky said. "We didn't match up great today. I don't think we were us and I hope we get another shot at a Denver. I'm proud of what happened this year, but we use it as motivation. We learned a lot this year, as a program, as coaches, and as individuals as well. It's tough right now, but we'll definitely use is as motivation."
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Second-seeded Penn State men's hockey is back in action, continuing its NCAA Tournament debut with a regional finals matchup against top-seeded Denver. With a trip to the Frozen Four on the line, the Nittany Lions and the Pioneers are set to square off Sunday, March 26 at 6 p.m. in U.S. Bank Arena. Follow along for live in-game updates and exclusive content. 

Live Blog Men's Hockey Gameday Live - vs. Denver (NCAA Regional Finals)


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