UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a team that you expected to grow as the season
progressed and the Nittany Lions haven't disappointed through 15 games in their
inaugural season. They launched 63 shots in the first game in program history,
reeled off three wins in a row early in the year and, along the way, have shown
steady improvement on the ice.
When I watched this program play three months ago you could tell that they were
in the infancy of their transition into Division I hockey. However, when the
Nittany Lions faced off against Robert Morris on Dec. 15, you could tell that
this was a much more confident and mature team.
"As a whole, I can't be too disappointed," said head coach Guy Gadowsky after
the Nittany Lions last game on Dec. 15. "We have certain objectives that we
want to achieve...it's a matter of learning how to put it all together."
One thing that has made this transition easier for the Nittany Lions is the
person at the front of the program. Since Guy Gadowsky took the reins at Penn
State it has been nothing but positives and optimistic building blocks. To observe
Gadowsky on the ice during practice, on the bench during games and listen to
him speak with the media, you know that he is committed to making Penn State
into a national competitor, soon.
No one expected this team to run through their schedule undefeated and everyone
knew that there would be bumps along the way. Through it all, this team has shown
the moxie of their leader in taking every moment and building on it. Mistakes
will be made, especially mental lapses, like the one that allowed the go-ahead
goal vs. Robert Morris, but it is about limiting those mistakes and making
progress towards playing a full 60 minutes of focused, intense hockey.
"We've kept our focus pretty well," Gadowsky said after the Robert Morris
contest. "We got some pucks on net and got to net. I thought we were much improved
(overall). We made one big mistake, which is better than making five big
mistakes, like we had earlier (in the season).
We're not going to win an NCAA tournament in the first semester of our
first season and I think we have come a long way."
That last statement shows me that Gadowsky is in this for the long haul. He is
dedicated to molding this program and doing it his way. He knows expectations
are going to be high from the Hockey Valley faithful, but also knows that this young
program has a high ceiling and shouldn't be rushed along.
Early in the year it was evident that this team was young. It was hard to gauge
where they stood early on, because we really didn't have anything to compare
to, but over the past couple of week this team has started to show signs of
clicking into place. It has developed like a 10,000-piece LEGO set that
Gadowsky started building last year, not knowing if those pieces he had put
together were ever going to form into a team. Now he looks on and sees that
with a good number of those pieces starting to take place that he has a team
The puck movement has steadily improved throughout the season and each line is communicating
better. They now have a knowledge base on how one and other work, are reading
each other's body language better and anticipating moves instead of forcing
passes to where they hope their line mates are going to be. That comfort level
has allowed them pick up their pace of play and that has led to more quality
The game has also become more physical now that the Nittany Lions are skating
as a cohesive unit. Against Robert Morris, there were more glass shaking hits and
a tougher backcheck, which comes from solid play in the neutral zone and a
trust between teammates.
There is a heightened trust on the lines now, one that comes from playing
day-in and day-out with each other. The early season breakdowns in the neutral
ice have been replaced by steady play from all lines through the neutral zone.
A timid power play has gown and unleashed eight shots during a two-minute shift
versus the Colonials, which is a step in the right direction for Gadowsky.
"We had worries when we weren't getting many shots," Gadowsky said in an
earlier press conference. "If we weren't getting opportunities, if we weren't working
for opportunities or were being selfish and not shooting pucks, I would be
concerned. It's tough to get 40 shots on net and be too concerned that you are
not getting enough offense."
Sitting in the end zone at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion on Dec. 15 you couldn't be
concerned about this team. You can see that this team has taken some giant
steps forward and will enter the final weekend of the 2012 season with two more
opportunities for improvement after a much needed break for the holidays.
Pat White goPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -Penn State will take some time off for the holidays after
their one-goal loss to Robert Morris (7-4-2) over the weekend, but the Nittany
Lions (7-8-0) will have some encouraging things to talk about over the holiday break.
Despite the loss to Robert Morris on Saturday, a 3-2 setback, the team took a
step forward. The Lions generated 40 shots and kept a steady offensive flow
throughout the game. It was a physical game that maintained a fast tempo in all
three periods, which allowed head coach Guy Gadowsky to take a few positives
away from the defeat.
"I was happy with the way we played," said Gadowsky. "[We're] not happy about
the result, but we're happy with how we played. It's a matter of making sure we
are learning how to put it all together."
One area that has been a struggle for the young Nittany Lion team is the power
play. Penn State is just five for 60 with the man-advantage this season, but
the unit continued to move in the right direction against Robert Morris.
Despite going zero-for-five against the Colonials, Penn State generated 11
shots on the power play, with eight in the third period. They moved the puck
well and sustained good offensive pressure, including a couple of late scoring
chances during a 4-on-3 man advantage, but could not find the back of the net.
Penn State played one of its better games in all three zones last Saturday. The
offense was able to create opportunities, the defense played disciplined and
tight and the neutral zone was clean, for the most part. Robert Morris scored
the game-winner on a misplay in the neutral zone that led to a goal by Tyler
Hinds with less than nine minutes to go in the game. Other than the one miscue,
Penn State limited some of the mistakes they were making earlier in the season.
"I thought we had some flow and played better," Gadowsky said. "We also had
tempo, in terms of not turning the puck over like we have three weeks previous.
I think we had more flow...There was a lot that we can be optimistic about. We're
a young team and we're going to get a lot better."
Penn State put forth a good effort against Robert Morris, and head into the
holiday break on a positive note. The break comes at a good time, allowing the
team to rest and heal some injuries before the Three Rivers Classic.
"We can use a break," Gadowsky said. "We had four pretty good forwards not
playing tonight. It's very valuable for guys to go home and have a good
Christmas with their families. I think they are very fortunate to get to do that
and I want them to take advantage of it."
Sophomore forward Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) is excited for the break, but
is looking forward to getting another opportunity against the Colonials at the
Three River Classic.
"We get to play them right after break," Olczyk said. "We have two weeks until
we get another shot at (Robert Morris). We showed that we can play at this
level...and be a good team. There were times when we were outplaying them and we
have to get ready to see this team again in two weeks."
One concern about the two week layoff is staying conditioned and in shape. Both
Gadowsky and Olczyk agreed that player are going to have to have an accountability
for maintaining their conditioning and staying in hockey form.
"(We) have to keep ourselves accountable,"
Olczyk said. "We can't call and check up on (each other) and make sure everyone
staying in shape. At this level of hockey, you have to be accountable to do it yourself.
If you can get on the ice, that's great, but if not, you have to find a bike, a
treadmill or something."
Penn State will play Robert Morris on Dec. 28 in the first game of the Three
Rivers Classic, which also includes Ohio State and Miami (Ohio), at the CONSOL
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to
in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Men's Hockey season.
GoPSUsports.com will provide insight from press row for selected games
throughout the 2012-13 season. Check back often for running updates as
the action unfolds.
Tonight the Nittany Lions (7-7-0) host Robert Morris (6-4-2) and will look to
close out the home portion of 2012 with a victory over the Colonials. Penn
State defeated Fredonia State, 4-0, on Tuesday to even their record and
tonight's contest will be their final home game of 2012.
1st Period: 12:43 - Penn State 0, Robert
The Nittany Lions have come out hitting in the first seven minutes of this
in-state battle with the Colonials and they have held a solid time of
possession edge. Taylor Holstrom had the first good chance with a shot from the
point, and Peter Sweetland's shot went into the pad of RMU goalkeeper Eric
Levine. Connor Varley sent a shot into a crowd in front of the net that was
blocked by a RMU defender. The Colonials best scoring chance came on a PSU
turnover, but Greg Gibson's shot sailed wide of goalkeeper Matt Skoff's net.
1st Period: 8:32 - Penn State 0, Robert
Penn State has not been shy about testing RMU's Levine in net, but the senior
has been up to the task and saved all seven shots on net. A couple of neutral
ice turnovers have given Penn State a pair of scoring opportunities. David Glen
ripped a shot from the slot, but a RMU defender blocked the attempt. Tommy
Olczyk had the best look at the net with 10:32 left in the opening frame, but
Levine got his glove on the attempt to knock it wide.
1st Period: 7:53 - Penn State 0, Robert
A rare turnover for the Lions led to the opening tally of the game for Robert
Morris as Tyler Hinds grabbed a sloppy pass at the blue line and launched a
shot that was wide to Skoff's stick side, Jeff Jones controlled for RMU and a
touch pass from Zach Lynch found Chase Golightly who went high to Skoff's stick
side for the opening marker.
1st Period: 0:32 - Penn State 0, Robert
Baily had two shots from point blank range on the power play with four minutes
to play in the half, but could get enough of his blade on the puck and Levine
was able to turn away both shots. Penn State had the first two man advantages
of the night, but has come away empty on both. After Baily narrowly missed
evening the game on the power play, Robert Morris went on the man-advantage,
but PSU's Olczyk had the best scoring chance shorthanded.
End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, Robert
With only one game this weekend it seems like the Nittany Lions came out with a
little more intensity in the opening period, but the Colonials were the ones
that were able to capitalize on a PSU turnover in their own zone. Penn State
ripped 12 shots, but Levine was up to the test in net and made saves on each of
them. Skoff stopped six of the seven shots he faced in goal for Penn State.
Time of possession is not a stat that is found on the box score but, even when
playing shorthanded, the Lions seemed to control the puck for a good portion of
the opening frame.
2nd Period: 18:17 - Penn State 1, Robert
Cue the Zombie Nation and get the student section jumping as Olczyk redirected
a shot by Luke Juha past Levine. Juha took a wraparound pass off of the faceoff,
controlled the puck near the blue line and let one fly. Olczyk got the redirect
and snuck it into the near corner of the net to knot the game at one goal
2nd Period: 16:35 - Penn State 2, Robert
Two goals in the first three-plus minutes of the second half have the student
second thinking about something other than finals. Curtis Loik connected on his
fourth goal of the season on an assist from Glen - his eighth of the year - and
the Nittany Lions find themselves in front by a goal. There is still a lot of
time let in the period and Robert Morris has been more physical at the point of
attack this period. PSU still continues to control the puck, however.
2nd Period: 11:02 - Penn State 2, Robert
Robert Morris spent a lot of time in the PSU zone over the last four minutes,
but Skoff turned away a nice backhand attempts and the defense has turned away
a pair of face offs in their own zone. Just after Loik gave PSU the lead, Hinds
came in on Skoff's glove side and sent a backhand high, but the rookie
net-minder was up to the test and snagged it. Glen nearly put the home team up
by two goals as he emerged from a scrum behind the net and sent a wrist shot in
that clanked off the post and bounced away. PSU has really done a nice job limiting
the scoring chances for RMU, who is riding a four-game unbeaten streak.
2nd Period: 6:49 - Penn State 2, Robert
The third power play of the night ended the same way the first two did for Penn
State and Robert Morris evened the game shortly after returning to full
strength. The Nittany Lions put a lot of pressure on the Colonials keeper with
the man advantage, sending three shots towards goal and narrowly missing on an
open ice connecting between Loik and Holstrom. Jones then took a pass from
Brendan Jamison from behind the net and stuffed home his second goal of the
season to knot the score.
2nd Period: 2:57 - Penn State 2, Robert
Penn State got a little sloppy in their own zone late in the period, allowing
the Jones goal to even the score and later turning the puck over twice near
their own net and forcing Skoff to come up with two big saves. David Friedmann
had the first look, which was turned away and Gibson ripped a shot from the
slot that Skoff gloved.
End of 2nd Period - Penn State 2, Robert
A pair of 4-on-4 skates produced a handful some fast paced, up-and-down action,
but no scoring came about over the final three minutes of the second period. The
Nittany Lions hold a 24-14 edge in shots, but Levine of RMU has been up to the
task in net. With so much possession of the puck, Penn State has limited Robert
Morris attack to near season-low totals. Oh and Santa Claus is on the Zamboni
to make sure the ice is ready for the third period.
3rd Period: 14:28 - Penn State 2, Robert
With five minutes gone in the third period, Penn State has had a flurry of
scoring chances with nothing to show. Max Gardiner took a close range slap shot
that was padded away by RMU's Levine and Loik knifed through the defense and
forced Levine to turn away his shot under immense pressure. Shortly after
Loik's chance, Bailey took a slap shot from the right faceoff circle that
Levine was able to turn away with his stick, but the Nittany Lions have had
3rd Period: 11:17 - Penn State 2, Robert
Penn State killed off their second power play of the night and, like their
first one, had the best scoring chance of the two-minute penalty. Loik snagged
a pass in the neutral ice and again closed in on Levine, but was turned away
once again by the senior keeper. After killing off the penalty, Penn State's
George Sadd had a chance in front, but missed wide to the glove side of Levine.
A boarding penalty on Robert Morris has now put Penn State on the power play
for the fourth time tonight.
3rd Period: 8:11 - Penn State 2, Robert
Hinds took it coast-to-coast for the go ahead goal on a wrist shot from the
left flank, beating Skoff to the upper-90 on the far post. It was his first
goal of the season and gave the Colonials their first lead since early in the
3rd Period: 4:15 - Penn State 2, Robert
Penn State had a 4-on-3 advantage for 1:30 and they nearly knotted the score on
three occasions, including a handful of swipes at a loose puck in front of the net
with Levine sprawled out on his back. Juha took a hard wrist shot from the
point that Levine saved, followed by an attempt from Bailey that was sailed
just over the crossbar. Then a shot from the point by Bailey was saved by
Levine and dropped in the crease. Glen had three swipes at the puck, but
couldn't get enough of his blade to knock it into the open net.
FINAL - Penn State 2, Robert Morris 3
This loss is going to be a tough one for the Nittany Lions to swallow, but can
send them into the holiday break knowing that when they take to the ice again,
they will have another crack at Robert Morris. Penn State outshot the Colonials
40-29 and had countless more scoring opportunities, but RMU's Eric Levine made
all the stops he had to make in the one-goal game. Give Robert Morris credit
for making the plays when they needed to and PSU continues to show steady
growth on the ice in their inaugural season. Skoff played another great game in
net and should get another crack at getting a win vs. Robert Morris when the
Blue and White open the Three Rivers Classic at the CONSOL Energy Season in
Pittsburgh versus the Colonials.
Quick Change Press Conference Quotes
"I was happy with how we played, but not happy with the end result. We are learning how to put it all together. I think we've come a long way and Robert Morris is a good team. I think we played fairly well and we can take away some positives (from tonight). We are a young team and we are going to keep getting better."
- Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky
"You never want to get too high and you never want to get too low. We have had our ups and downs, but overall we are a confident hockey team. I think we have continued to get better throught (the season)."
- Sophomore Tommy Olczyk
"I think we should have come out with that (win). We are getting better every day, every practice and every game. We won't have a sour taste in our mouth (from the loss), but we will look forward to getting another chance to play Robert Morris after the break."
- Freshman Curtis Loik "Our guys really showed some character tonight, but we didn't play our best and
good hockey team's find a way to win without their best game. Penn State really
punched us in the gut, but we were able to get a win on the road in a very
tough environment. I don't know if we deserved to win, but we earned it."
- Robert Morris head coach Derek
- In its first season of Division I men's hockey, Penn State has put together
an impressive resume and will look to continue to grow the program versus
in-state foe Robert Morris, who has nine seasons of Division I hockey
experience. The Nittany Lions and Colonials are two of just three Division I
teams in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, joining Erie-based Mercyhurst at the
highest collegiate level.
- The Blue and White own a 2-2 record inside Greenberg Ice Arena versus
Division I opponents, splitting a series with Air Force at the beginning of
Nov. after beating Buffalo State, 4-2, to start the month. The other Penn State
home game was their season opening loss to in overtime to American
- Penn State posted their second shutout of the season on Tue., Dec. 11 at
Fredonia State with a 4-0 decision behind the superb goalkeeping of freshman
Matt Skoff. The rookie made 18 saves to help the Blue and White snaps their
four-game losing streak.
- The freshman class has made major contributions to the team so far in the
inaugural Division I campaign, with eight rookies netting goals and nine
contributing at least two points on the season. Eight of the top 12 point
scores on the team this season are in their first year of college hockey,
including their top three goal scores and three of their top six point scores.
- Freshman David Glen and Casey Bailey are the top two scores on the team, with
Glen leading the charge with eight goals, seven assists and 15 points - all
team highs. Bailey has added found the back of the net six times and has five
assists for a total of 11 points in 2012-13.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Coach Guy Gadowsky and his coaching staff have set the foundation for men's hockey at Penn State with the excitement surrounding the new program, but the process took another step forward last week after the announcement of the 2013-14 recruiting class.
Gadowsky said that hockey recruiting is different from other sports because recruiting is a year-round process. Recruiting is especially important for a fledgling program like Penn State that needs the right pieces in place if they want to be competitive in the Big Ten next season.
"As we get further down the road, [we'll] find that [we're] missing pieces of a puzzle," Gadowsky said, "and then we'll go and get a certain type of player. We're still in the infancy stages of the program, so we just want to get the smartest hockey players we can who are the best students and best fit for Penn State University."
Gadowsky scouts potential recruits with assistant coaches Keith Fisher and Matt Lindsay. The primary leagues they scout are the Alberta Junior Hockey League, British Columbia Hockey League, Central Canada Hockey League, Eastern Junior Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Ontario Junior Hockey League and United States Hockey League, as well as New England prep schools. "We have specific areas that we start to cover and then we have some crossover once the season gets going, as well," Fisher said. "You try to get four or five games a trip because it's a long trip and you want to maximize your opportunities to see kids while you're out there. You have to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time."
Fisher said that the USHL is the best junior league to scout because the players transfer well over to college hockey. In the future, however, the coaching staff aims to focus on recruiting closer to home. They want to a good job scouting the Pennsylvania area from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.
"Hopefully in a decade, we're going to have more and more excellent hockey players from Pennsylvania and this region that we'll be able to choose from," Gadowsky said.
NCAA hockey programs are allotted only two scouts to go on recruiting trips at the same time. That seems like a low number, but it makes it easier for the coaches to evaluate players.
"For the amount of players you have to cover its difficult," said Fisher, "but the more people you have seeing players the more things can get mixed up a little bit. [Coach Lindsay and I] work very well together and we can get into friendly arguments about players. Sometimes the more people you get involved it kind of muddies the water."
Penn State hockey is on the upswing as a desirable destination to play college hockey. With the building of the Pegula Ice Arena, players will have an opportunity to play in one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in college hockey. The new arena is one of the many great selling points that the coaching staff presents to recruits.
"The selling points are the same things that attracted me to Penn State," Gadowsky said. "I loved the student body, the passion and the pride that the student body and the alumni have for this university. It is tremendous and important."
The opportunity for players to play in the Big Ten against some of the top programs in the country is another factor in the recruiting process.
"The Big Ten [forming a] hockey conference is a huge selling point," said Gadowsky. "They're going to be playing against some of the most successful hockey programs, traditionally, in college hockey. They all have great buildings...and the Big Ten Network is going to carry hockey games live across North America."
As a young program, there can never be an overabundance of leadership in the locker room. There are already many former junior hockey captains and alternate captains on the current roster and that trend will continue with the next class. All four position players recruited for next year are either captains or alternate captains for their respective team. Gadowsky said that captaincy isn't a mandatory attribute, but it furthers along the foundation process.
"Right now, we like the fact that we are getting guys who are captains from good programs and you will see that with some of the guys coming in next year," Gadowsky said. "We don't have guys who have been here for four years in our program with Division I experience and success. Everybody is sort of a freshman so we want to bring in as much leadership as we can."
The coaching staff is also looking for players with good character. In collegiate hockey, redshirting a player is not a common occurrence like it is in some other sports, so getting players to make an impact right away is crucial.
"We want guys that want to work hard on the ice as well as in the classroom," Fisher said. "We also look for hockey sense, skating ability and play makers on the ice. We're looking for guys that can step in and help us right away."
Gadowsky said that being a young program makes it hard for the staff to get selective about recruits. A few things on their holiday wish list included another goaltender, added size on defense, and bringing in players with high hockey IQ.
Fisher said that it is tough to predict if all of them will turn out to become great college hockey players until they arrive at Penn State, but, nonetheless, he thinks the coaching staff addressed all the areas they looked to improve.
"Eamon McAdam is the highest goaltending prospects in USA hockey, so he has great credentials coming in," Fisher said. "David Thompson is a great leader and a captain on the best team in the British Columbia Hockey League. Eric Scheid, David Goodwin and Zach Saar are all going to be able to come in and help us score some goals and play in all situations."
The upcoming freshmen are coming at a great time for Penn State hockey. Competition for playing spots is difficult amongst the top programs in the country, and at Penn State there are multiple opportunities for playing time.
"One thing about coming to Penn State is you have a very good opportunity as a freshmen to play Division I hockey," said Gadowsky. "There is going to be more and more competition as the program builds."
Pat White goPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's ice hockey team split an exhibition series
with ACHA opponent Arizona State over the weekend in Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The
series was a tale of two games, with the Nittany Lions finished with a strong offensive
outburst in Friday's 8-3 win, but Saturday's 3-1 loss was just the opposite. Arizona State came out flying and caught the Lions playing on their heels. Dan
Styrna gave the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game, but Penn
State would respond when freshman defender Luke Juha (Mississauga, Ontario)
scored on the power play to knot the game at one.
Both teams played sloppy in the second period, but Penn State was able to
muster enough offense to take the lead, and they didn't look back.
Sophomore Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Pa.) started the offensive flurry when he
found a loose puck in the slot and put it past Arizona State goaltender Joe
D'Elia. Two minutes later, senior Michael Longo (Allison Park, Pa.) put home a
rebound to give the Nittany Lions a 3-1 lead and David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan,
Alberta) scored on a wrist shot from the slot to cap off a four-goal offensive
surge in a little over five minutes.
Glen finished the game with a hat trick, including two power play goals. He
attributed his success to his line mates who put him in positions to make
"I caught a couple lucky breaks," Glen said. "Credit to my line mates who made
it easy for me out there. They make great plays and I was lucky enough to make
it go in the back of the net, tonight."
All but three Nittany Lions recorded a point in the game and Longo had his best
performance of the season, playing physically and making the small plays. He
was rewarded for his hard work with a two goal night.
Like Glen, Longo humbly credited his line mates for his success.
"I think my line mates were playing
really well," Longo said. "We were getting pucks on net. As a team we were
getting more pucks on net than usual and creating more rebounds and more
After a game in which the Nittany Lions took only one penalty and the power
play capitalized on all three of its opportunities, it was almost like a different
Penn State team took the ice on Saturday night.
Penn State came out strong in the beginning of the first period with sustained
offensive pressure and a good cycle down low in the series finale. Penn State
had a five-on-three power play, but the Blue and White were unable to continue their
success on the man advantage from the previous night.
After a scoreless opening frame, Arizona State's Faiz Khan gave the Sun Devils
the 1-0 lead just 38 seconds into the second period. The Sun Devils dominated
the second period, mostly in part to a neutral zone trap that made it difficult
for Penn State to break out of their own zone.
"They did a really good job [with the trap]," Juha said. "We didn't have enough
speed coming through the neutral zone, and they were catching us. We couldn't
build much momentum because of it."
Freshman Curtis Loik (North Vancover, British Columbia) scored the lone Nittany
Lion goal, a shorthanded strike on a nice pass from Olczyk. Penn State could
not sustain the momentum from the goal, and dropped a 3-1 decision to Arizona
"We played on our heels for the first two periods," Loik said. "We didn't have
any momentum and I think that was a bit of our preparation from the beginning."
Gadowky fears his team didn't have the desire coming into this weekend that
they did heading into their matchup last weekend with nationally-ranked Union.
He said after a great showing against the Dutchmen last weekend the team needs
to learn to bring the same intensity against every opponent.
"In sports it's tough to turn on the
switch and turn off the switch," Gadowsky said. "We won't know if we've learned
[that lesson] until we get in this situation again. Credit to Arizona State,
they definitely wanted to be here and to take advantage of this opportunity.
Desire is a big value in sports."
Penn State was not able to build upon any momentum throughout the second game and
Arizona State made the most of the Penn State miscues. After taking an early
lead, the Sun Devils didn't take it easy on the Lions.
"When a team that can feel that they're about to take advantage of a great
opportunity, they become better, they become tougher," Gadowsky said. "It's
difficult to turn that switch. Hopefully the desire will come at the start of
game and we won't have to panic."
Loik echoed his coach's message about bringing desire to each contest.
"We shouldn't have a change in mentality," said Loik. "We came into Union and
we fought hard. I thought we played
really well and we should have brought that to this game. Any team we play, it
has to be the same mentality and I think that if we brought what we had brought
at Union (into Saturday's game), we would be coming out of here with a
Penn State is also dealing with some injuries and will use this week to rest
and get healthy before next weekend's matchup at Holy Cross.
"We need time [off]," Gadowsky said. "We have bumps and bruises. That's that an
excuse, but where our mental state is right now...we're going to take a little time
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Despite dropping a two-game series to No. 7 Union College (8-2-1), the Penn State men's ice hockey team (6-5-0) took another step forward in building a foundation for the program.
"I think we can take a lot of positives (away from the Union series) because we were in two games with the No. 7 team in the country," assistant coach Keith Fisher said. "We're not at that level yet, but we aren't far."
Union was the No. 1-ranked offense in the country, but they were kept in check by some stellar play by the Penn State defense. Sophomore Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) was pleased with the way the team played against a top-10 team.
"Unfortunately we didn't come away with the results that we wanted," Olczyk said, "but there were some positives to take out of there. [Union] is first in the ECAC, was in the Frozen Four last year, and is definitely the best team that we've played all year. They're a very respectable opponent."
One of the bright spots of the weekend was the play of freshman goaltender Matt Skoff (McKees Rock, Pa.). Skoff stopped 82 of 86 shots in the series, including a career-high 42 saves on Sunday. He made some spectacular saves and displayed great lateral movement to keep up with Union's quick passing.
"Playing a team that went to the Frozen Four last year will give any goalie confidence to get in the net and measure yourself against the best kids in the country," said Skoff. "It was a good weekend for the team to figure out that we can play against teams in the top 10. It was a good confidence builder."
Olczyk said the team showed their identity as a hard-working team in the series with the Dutchmen. The Nittany Lions showed that they can play tough against any team, and Olczyk is pleased with the progress of the team.
"I think we're progressing a little bit faster than people thought we would," Olczyk said. "I thought it would be a tougher transition, but we have been able to hang with Union and beat Air Force. We're just trying to take it one game at a time and don't want to look too far."
An area that Penn State has excelled in this season is the penalty kill. Union came into the weekend matchup with the top-ranked power play in the NCAA, but was held to only one goal on eight attempts. "We stick to our habits: forcing the puck, forcing a dump, getting in lanes and blocking shots are really what we're about," freshman forward David Glen said. "So far we've done a good job with that."
After the successful weekend at Union, Fisher expects the team to use the success against Union as fuel for the rest of the season.
"We have to move forward," Fisher said. "We were given a good lesson by Union about how hard you have to work to be a top team and pay attention to details, not only in practice but in games. We need to carry that over no matter who we play."
The Nittany Lions look to continue that success as they prepare for a matchup with the No. 1 club team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Arizona State (18-0-0). A few members on the PSU team faced ACHA competition last year at the club level, but the team is preparing for Arizona State like any other opponent.
"We have to get up for every game," Glen said. "The point of this season is to build a foundation, and it starts over every single game and practice. We make sure we stick to our fundamentals."
Arizona State brings a high-octane offense into the weekend matchup with Penn State. The Sun Devils have scored 114 goals in 18 games while only allowing 29 goals. Olczyk is expecting the team to play the brand of Penn State hockey they know best.
"We don't change our game for anyone," Olczyk said. "We play our way so that we can be successful and there's no reason to change it. We just have to play hard and the results will come."
Penn State kicks off the weekend matchup with Arizona State on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn State Athletics would like to
take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.
As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the
Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State
Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unrivaled support you give
every team on campus. Penn State's teams
would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.
Make sure to get out and support the Penn State men's basketball (4:30 p.m.)
and women's soccer teams (7 p.m.) on Friday and the football (3:30 p.m.) and
women's volleyball (8 p.m.) teams on Saturday in home games during this holiday
As a token of their appreciation, several members of teams on campus would like
to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give them
throughout the athletic season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --Coach Guy Gadowsky
has said all season that his team's success is not measured by the amount of
wins and losses, but rather the way they play in building the foundation of
Penn State hockey. The same thing can be said about the success that freshman
forward Kenny Brooks (Las Vegas, Nev.) has had so far this season.
Gadowsky lauded Brooks' poise and consistency as a blue-collar player that
shows up to play every game. Casual fans may not notice Brooks' skill set, but
his teammates do.
"Players love him," Gadowsky said. "He's the kind of guy when he goes over
the boards, the players are comfortable. He gives you that every single time.
He does it game in and game out."
Fans often equate goals and assists to being a top player on a hockey team, but
that is not always true. Brooks stats aren't eye popping - one goal and four
assists- but he is highly regarded as one of the best two-way forwards on the
Penn State hockey team. Gadowsky preaches back-checking and doing the little
things right to his team, both areas that Brooks excels in.
"He's so valuable to your team in areas that don't necessarily show up in the
box scores," Gadowsky said. "In terms of playing a 200-foot hockey game and
winning battles in the defensive or offensive zone, he is phenomenal."
Brooks has played alongside fellow freshmen, David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan,
Alta.) and Curtis Loik (North Vancouver, B.C.) to form one of the most exciting
lines on the team. Loik said that their like-mentalities are what make it fun
to play as a unit.
"It's such a joy to play with those guys," Loik said. "Glen's a great shooter,
skates well, back-checks hard, and does all the little things. Brooks plays the
same way. He has great vision and can see the ice and makes great plays. We work
well together out there."
Glen leads the team in scoring with 10 points, in large part to the space
created by his line mates. Brooks is the catalyst that has led to the offensive
production of his line with his grinding style.
"He's causing goals, or hitting guys to cause a turnover that gets the play
going the other way," Gadowsky said. "He's a part of so many goals, and he's
also a guy that saves goals. He plays to win in every area of the ice, and
that's what's special about him. A lot of players think they're like that, but
he really is."
Their line - that Loik said is called the "Green Machine"- has accounted
for 20 points, and nine of the team's 22 goals. While the line has provided a
spark on offense, its Brooks play in his own zone that he is most satisfied
"I've always taken pride in my defensive game" Brooks said. "[If] you play
tough defense, eventually the offensive game will come. I feel like Loik and
Glen play that way, too."
Brook's dedication to winning the individual battles and playing tough
defense is what makes his teammates better players. Gadowsky said the team
benefits from his hard-nose game in the corners.
"You talk about players who make other players better, he's (one of those),"
Gadowsky said. "There are perimeter players that have to benefit from other
players work, and then there are players who make everybody around them better.
Kenny Brooks makes his teammates better."
Growing up in Las Vegas, Brooks said that he had a far commute to play
other teams when he was younger. His love for hockey began at a young age at a
"When I was little I went to a birthday party at a hockey rink and was just
skating around," Brooks said. "There were people playing hockey on the other
rink and I told my parents that's what I want to do and I've been going at it
Brooks grew up a Colorado Avalanche fan, and his favorite player was
Avalanche forward Peter Forsberg.
"I loved to watch him growing up, Brooks said. "I was so little I couldn't pick up exactly how he played, but I always wanted to be like him when I was
Before coming to Penn State, Brooks played junior hockey for the Tri-City
Storm of the United States Hockey League (USHL). In 165 games he tallied 31
goals and dished out 55 assists for 86 points. During the 2011-12 season, he appeared in 59 regular-season
games ranking second on the team in points (42) and assists (27), while also
scoring 15 goals.
"Tri-City was a lot of fun," he
said. "I had somewhat of an attachment to Tri-City. I always wanted to win and
win for the program. It was a blast playing there the three years I was there."
Hockey is different from other college sports when it comes to incoming
freshmen. Players usually play two or three years of junior hockey before
making the leap to college. Brooks said he had to get back into the swing of
being a full-time student again.
"At first it's a really big change because in juniors you don't go to
school," said Brooks. "I've been out of school for two years. I'm getting used
to it now so it's not bad. There are so many people on campus that help you, so
Brooks and the rest of the Nittany Lions travel to Schenectady, N.Y to play Union College
(6-2-1) on Saturday Nov. 24. Union advanced to the Frozen Four last season, and
is currently ranked No. 8 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
By Pat White GoPSUsports.com Student Staff writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's ice hockey team (5-2-0) got revenge in the form of a 4-2 win against Buffalo State (2-2-1) at the Greenberg Ice Rink on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions lost a tough 3-0 game on Oct. 19 at Buffalo State, but were able to claim their first NCAA Division I victory at home against the Bengals.
Freshman goaltender Matt Skoff (McKees Rock, Pa.) got the start for the Nittany Lions, and recorded his first win of the season, stopping 23 shots. Skoff was solid the entire game, making some key saves down the stretch to hold on for the win. Head coach Guy Gadowsky was glad that Skoff got his first win out of the way after losing his first two starts.
"He still looked a little nervous," Gadowsky said, "but he made some tough saves and looked very calm doing it. When he looks like that I think he's going to be at his best. I think it's good for him to get (his first win) out of the way."
The offense was led my freshman forward David Glen (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) who scored two goals, giving him five on the season. Michael Longo (Allison Park, Pa.) and Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.) scored one goal each. Glen extended his point streak to four games with his two goals, scoring the first and last goals for Penn State in very similar fashion by crashing the net and capitalizing on loose pucks.
"It was kind of just a big goal for the team," Glen said about his last goal. "I was really happy to be able to get one and put the game out of reach."
Gadowsky praised Glen for the leadership that he has brought to the team despite being a freshman. He also said that Glen is a guy who is not afraid to go into the dirty areas around the net, something that he preaches to his team.
"You sort of saw why he's been a captain everywhere he's been," said Gadowsky. "He does everything right and he's such a warrior and that was a huge goal for us."
"David Glen is the kind of guy that excels in tough areas and in today's game, the perimeter pretty plays are the minority. You need guys who can get to the net and grit it out and I expect you'll see that the rest of the year."
The sophomore captain, Olczyk, scored his first goal of the season in the second period on a highlight pass from sophomore forward Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.). Gardiner charged down the left side and made a spin-o-rama pass to Olczyk, who fired the puck to the back of the net. Olczyk said it felt good to score, but humbly deferred the goal as a team effort.
"It was good getting the monkey off the back, but it doesn't matter who scores," Olczyk said. "We've been winning a lot of games lately and beating some pretty good teams. Who gets credit at the end of the day doesn't matter as long as you get the [win]."
Gadowsky, who coached Olczyk last season at the club level, was happy to see his captain finally get his first goal.
"I think when you have leadership like that, people really rally around you and that has obviously happened with Tommy," Gadowsky said. "Everyone was happy to see him get (a goal). He's had chances that just haven't gone in so it's nice to see him get that one tonight."
Penn State out-shot Buffalo State 49-25, and went 1-6 on the power play.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are off to a 4-2 start in their first season playing Division I hockey. The team is coming off of an upset win on the road two weeks ago against RIT and wins at Army and Sacred Heart last weekend, thanks in large part to goaltender PJ Musico.
Musico (Orange, Calif.) played for the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey (SJHL) before coming to Penn State last year. With the Bombers, Musico led the SJHL in minutes played, saves and shutouts.
Last season, Musico played for the Penn State club team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). He went 14-1-1 with a 1.49 goals against average, while posting a .930 save percentage and two shutouts. The Nittany Lions are looking to Musico to provide the same success this year at the NCAA level. Despite the 4-0 start, Musico said he's had to make adjustments moving from club to Division I.
"The speed and the talent level is a step up from playing club," Musico said. "Luckily we have a lot of talented guys on the team this year. [The transition] definitely stepped up the pace at practice and it helps being here last year. Last season got me a little in touch with the university and what everything is about at Penn State."
Musico's first two starts were in front of large crowds, his first being an overtime win at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. His second start was two weekends ago at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. Musico said that playing in front of big crowds and loud atmospheres has been an incredible experience, especially against RIT.
"It was a really rewarding experience to play in front of all those fans," he said. "I couldn't be more grateful to play in that facility and represent Penn State."
Musico has faced 130 shots through four games and has only allowed eight goals. He said that facing that many shots gets him in the zone while on the ice.
"It definitely helps keep you warm" he said. "One of the nicer things about seeing a lot of shots is that it keeps you busy. You don't have time to think about anything and you can just do what you have to do out there."
Musico was recruited by head coach, Guy Gadowsky before his freshman season to play Division I, but Musico didn't always play hockey. As a kid, he said he played baseball and soccer like most kids growing up. It wasn't until he watched a game with his dad that he thought about playing hockey.
"[Soccer and baseball] weren't thrilling or fast enough for me," Musico said. "One night, there was a [Anaheim] Ducks game on TV and my dad was like 'Hey do you want to try hockey?' and sure enough I fell in love."
Musico began his hockey career playing forward and defense, but his dad thought that he blocked too many shots. That was how Musico started playing goalie.
"My dad didn't like that I was blocking shots and taking saves from the goalie," he said, "so he said if you're going to be doing that you might as well wear the proper equipment. So I became a goalie."
Growing up Musico looked up to former Anaheim Mighty Ducks goaltender, Guy Herbert. He said as he got older, Hall of Fame goaltender, Patrick Roy became a player he emulated.
Coach Gadowsky had high praises for his sophomore goaltender. He said that it shouldn't come as a surprise that Musico has seen success this season. He complimented Musico's ability to make big saves at crucial times in game, but is even more impressed by his work ethic.
"He's a gamer," Gadowsky said. "He's worked extremely hard all summer and since he's been here on conditioning, strength and as a goaltender, as well. The fact that he's such a great athlete and he is so committed is a big reason for his success so far."
Gadowsky said that Musico was a major factor in the win against RIT, especially when Penn State had to kill off a five minute major-penalty at the end of the game. The goaltender has to be the best penalty-killer on the team, and Gadowsky said he was a key part of preserving the 3-2 lead late in the game.
"He is an unbelievable athlete," Gadowsky said. "He did have to make a couple great saves late in the game. I thought he tracked the puck extremely well all game long. I think his biggest, most difficult saves were the ones he had to fight through a lot of traffic and he worked really hard to track the puck."