PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey is headed to its first NCAA Tournament, set
to meet Union in the opening game of the Midwest Regional Saturday, March 25 at
at 4:30 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio. In
preparation for the historic event, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky met with
members of the media to preview the upcoming trip to U.S. Bank Arena.
Check out a
few updates from the afternoon media session.
Enjoying the Moment
Gadowsky noted that as much of a business trip as the NCAA
Tournament will be, the Nittany Lions will still take some time to savor the
"I will tell you that it is really hard to get there, we
know that, and we're going to enjoy it," Gadowsky said. "It's a business trip
but we're going to enjoy it because we know how hard it is to get there."
For Gadowsky, the key to keeping the balance between
business and enjoyment all comes down to easing the mindset into different ends
of the spectrum.
was a little light and lighthearted, but we're getting to work on Wednesday and
I think that's what you have to do," Gadowsky said. "They are very tired right
now and we have to let them rest and enjoy it, but then we're getting back to
An MVP Of The Weekend
Fresh off the program's first conference tournament title, the Nittany Lions
emerged from the three-day event, that concluded with back-to-back marathon
outings in double overtime wins against top-seeded Minnesota (4-3) and
Wisconsin (2-1), with yet another opportunity to make history.
earning the program's first NCAA berth on Sunday, the Nittany Lions have hit
the ice baths to soothe sore bodies. Still in awe of his team's ability to play
essentially more than four games in the short stretch, Gadowsky noted that
credit is due to Nittany Lion performance enhancement coach Cam Davidson.
Davidson was an MVP of that weekend for sure," Gadowsky said. "So we have a ton
of faith in him, I know he'll have them ready to go by the weekend."
Making an Impact
point in the season, it's easy to see how much of an impact Penn State's
newest Nittany Lions have had this season, as Gadowsky pointed to key weekend
contributions from Liam Folkes, Brandon Biro and Peyton Jones. Gadowsky also reiterated
his point from earlier this season, that the team isn't looking at the
newcomers like freshmen anymore.
"They've exceeded all of our expectations and again, I think
just the upperclassmen have really taken them in and made them feel
comfortable," Gadowsky said. "Obviously there are no freshmen now and because
of that I give a lot of credit to the upperclassmen, to make them, bring them
along so quickly."
Foundation in Work
Ethic and Commitment
Since arriving on campus, Gadowsky and his staff set out
with the top priority to construct a solid foundation the program could
continue to build on as it develops. Within the foundation are principles of
work ethic and commitment, two things that Gadowsky noted have been embedded in
the program since day one - and not just day one of the 2016-17 season.
"That's something that has been started for five years, it's
nothing that just comes around this year," Godowsky said. "So the work ethic
that you see, especially in a double overtime game is a result of that, not
anything that the coaching staff has done this week or this year."
Quick Thoughts on Union
familiarity with the program, Gadowsky noted that what he's most impressed with
when it comes to Union is their work ethic and grit.
coaching staff has done a really tremendous job bringing in really quality,
hard working players," Gadowsky said. "So now that they are getting so many
high-end scorers, that's what making them extremely dangerous."
their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last eight seasons, the
No. 2 seed Dutchmen are coming off of a 4-1 loss to Cornell in ECAC semifinals
last weekend, which snapped a seven-game win streak.
Vecchione and Spencer Foo are atop the team standings in scoring with Vecchione
earning ECAC Hockey Player of the Year honors as Union's all-time leading
Reach Arielle at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @arielle_sargent