Recently in Men's Hockey Category

THON and Senior Day To Spotlight Final Home Series

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11701040.jpegBy Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the No. 15 Penn State men's hockey team (18-8-4, 8-5-1 Big Ten) will be facing off against Ohio State (8-16-2, 3-7-2 Big Ten) this weekend, across the street from Pegula Ice Arena thousands of Penn State students will be dancing on the floor and in the stands for THON.

For the Nittany Lions, THON has become more than just a four-letter word, and has provided the opportunity for the team to develop life-long friendships with their THON child, Colton Buckley.

First paired with the men's hockey team at the age of four, Buckley
fits right in with the Nittany Lions. Now an 8-year-old who loves hockey and is taking skating lessons, Buckley's relationship with the hockey program has grown exponentially.

Over the years, several players have become extremely close to the Buckley's, specifically senior captain David Glen and senior alternate captain Luke Juha.

"He was going through chemotherapy when we first met him and really shy" said Juha. "Now he's eight and in remission, and just being able to see his development and to see him come out of his shell and grow up in front of us is pretty cool."

For Juha, his favorite memory of Buckley, other than his constantly upbeat personality, is all the times the pair has been able to play mini-sticks together.

While the purpose of being paired with a team or organization is so families can have a support system while their child undergoes treatments, the Nittany Lions would agree that the Buckley's have been just as big as a support system back to them.

Over the years, the Buckley's have traveled to games in Hockey Valley, making the two-hour drive from Reading to see the Lions take the ice. That mutual support system is what Glen credits to the close relationship the team has with the Buckley's.

"They come to as many games as they can," said Glen. "I know it's a little bit of a hike but they've been great, they've been so supportive and it's nice to be able to spend time with people like that, that are so courageous and to have the opportunity to give back even just a little bit is nice to have that opportunity."

Buckley has become part of the team in more ways than one. He has a locker in the locker room, right alongside the team. While Buckley's locker might be slightly smaller, it is just a mere puzzle piece representing the large impact such a young boy has had on the program.

"He's always in the back of our minds, he's become a part of our team since day one here," said Glen.

A highlight of THON weekend is the Nittany Lions' participation in THON's "Pep Rally," in which various athletic teams perform dance routines on stage in front of the several thousand students in attendance. Last year's men's hockey team performance was a hit, which included various props, the team wearing highlighter-pink and yellow tank tops, and ended with a pyramid that at the top, was Buckley. The performance won first place.

"Hopefully even just the little things we do make his day," said Glen. "If we can make his day just a little bit better, and his family's a little bit better, then we're doing our part."

With this weekend being the final home series for the regular season, emotions will be high for several reasons, THON being one of them. However, this weekend also is emotional because it will be the senior class' final showdown in Pegula Ice Arena.

Senior Day this year will honor eight Nittany Lions, the first class of Penn State hockey to have worn the Blue and White sweaters for all four years of the program's Division I history.

"I've been pretty emotional these last couple weeks," said Juha. "You try not to have that emotion affect you and try to turn it into a positive but obviously I'm really looking forward to [Senior Day] and at the same time I'm really dreading it because my time here at Penn State is ending and it's something I don't want to give up."

The senior class is looking forward to one final series at Pegula Ice Arena and the possibility of adding a couple more wins to their legacy.

"Penn State has done so much for me," said Juha. "And hopefully at the end of the day [the senior class] has made it a better place."  

Penn State hosts Ohio State on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and again Saturday at 3 p.m.

Nittany Lions Return from Munn Victorious

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11691347.jpegBy Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. - For the first time since the 2012-13 season, the Penn State men's hockey team (18-8-4, 8-5-1 Big Ten) defeated Michigan State (7-20-3, 3-10-1 Big Ten) in Munn Ice Arena.

Friday night's victory was a consistent barrage on the Spartan net. The Nittany Lions recorded 49 shots, and defeated Michigan State, 6-1.

Freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie kicked off the Nittany Lions' strong road performance with a power play goal halfway through the first period. The Nittany Lions have been working on returning to their early season power play success, and they are currently seventh in the nation with a .246 power play conversion rate.

The six-goal performance was the result of all facets of the Nittany Lions' game said head coach Guy Gadowsky.

"This really was a total team win," said Gadowsky. "There really wasn't one area that really out shown another, and there really wasn't another area that needed work."

Senior goaltender Matt Skoff tallied his first win in Munn Ice Arena since a 31 save performance on January 26, 2013, improving his overall season record to 8-4-3.

"We had to kill three power plays in the second and [Skoff] was really big on the power play for us, and made some big stops," said Gadowsky.

Six different Nittany Lions beat Michigan State goaltender Jake Hildebrand Friday night, including Andrew Sturtz who leads the team with 14 goals so far this season.

On Saturday night the Nittany Lions returned to the ice looking to take home another win.

The game that ensued was much closer than Friday night's. Senior forward Eric Scheid netted his second goal of the weekend to kick-start Saturday's contest.

With less than six minutes left in the third period, senior defenseman Luke Juha found the back of the net to force the game into overtime.

With the weekend sweep on the line, the Nittany Lions faced their fourth conference overtime of the season. With both teams playing tremendous defense, the Nittany Lions were unable to end the game in overtime, and instead found themselves in a shootout.

A raucous busload of Roar Zone faithful who made the trip to Munn on Saturday cheered on the team as they prepared for the shootout.

After exchanging missed shots in the first round, Michigan State missed in the top half of the second. Junior forward Ricky DeRosa followed with a successful shootout attempt.

The Roar Zone held its collective breath as Michigan State prepared for its third shot of the shootout. Cheers erupted as junior goaltender Eamon McAdam saved the shot, and the Nittany Lions took home five points from the weekend.

"Well hopefully it speaks to you maybe we're getting a little more mentally tough, more seasoned," said Gadowsky. "I really thought today was a great win because they came out really hard but I thought Michigan State played extremely hard, extremely well, and we really had to fight back hard, a big goal with five-something to go and a great kill and a shootout victory it was a heck of a win." 

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)