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Nov. 18, 2013
By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - From the second the puck dropped at Pegula Ice Arena Thursday night, the Nittany Lions made one thing clear: they were not going to back down against the No. 13/16 team in the nation.
Coach Guy Gadowsky and his team were excited to get the chance to compete against one of the top college hockey programs in the nation. They were anxious to see how they would matchup against a team like UMass Lowell.
The good news is they matched up very well.
Every second the Nittany Lions were on the ice, they were a tenacious, intense team looking to make a statement. They battled hard over 120 minutes of hockey, but fell short both nights.
Saturday nights' game, however, was a statement from both the Nittany Lions and freshman goalkeeper Eamon McAdam.
McAdam was making his first start at home this season and was the first chance Hockey Valley had to watch the third round pick of the New York Islanders in action.
McAdam and the Nittany Lions didn't have the start they wanted to the game. After the first 20 minutes of hockey, the Blue and White found themselves down, 3-1. McAdam had given up three goals off of rebound chances, something the freshman has been working on since he arrived on campus.
"I thought I improved as the game went a long," McAdam said. "I knew we needed to shut them down after a shaky first and that was my goal going into the second and the third periods."
After the rough start, the nerves of Perkasie, Pa. native started to settle. He started to play the kind of hockey that his teammates knew he could and that Penn State fans had been waiting for.
McAdam closed all doors and windows for the final two periods. He made save after save, giving his team a chance to battle back and bring the game within one goal with seven minutes left in the third.
"I was really happy to see him get into the flow of the game," said Gadowsky. "He made a really big save in the second period, which kept the game alive, and then he played really well after that.
"He gave us a chance to come back. He was a little nervous and that's expected since he's a freshman. He's playing in a great building against a Frozen Four team that was the preseason No. 1 team in the country. This is a great step for [Eamon] and seeing how he responded after the first period was great."
The big moment of the night, however, came in the second period. The River Hawks had a huge momentum boost to start the second period and were charging hard on McAdam and the Nittany Lion defense.
They were came down the ice and looking to give themselves a three goal advantage, but Penn State's goalie would have none of that.
The initial shot was turned away by McAdam, but a rebound led to a quick centering pass. The freshman goalie slid to his left, covering the whole crease, to make the save. It was a huge momentum shift for the Nittany Lions and McAdam.
During the final two periods he made 31 saves and UMass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin noticed the play of the freshman.
"I thought he settled down and played very well the last two periods," Bazin said. "The first period, I thought we got to him a little bit. However, the goals we got in the first proved to be enough for us to come out with the win."
The potential for McAdam was shown this weekend. He made some big saves on Saturday night and although he was the losing goalkeeper, his teammates talked about this game being a positive moment for him and the team moving forward.
He looked strong, intelligent and capable on the ice Saturday night, like any good goalie has to be.
McAdam has started to find his groove and as he gets more comfortable between the pipes and soon the wins should come. Gadowsky, McAdam and the Nittany Lions are all looking at this game as a positive, as well.
"Those first couple of games I was shaky throughout. I let in a couple goals I should have stopped," McAdam said. "I think the last two periods [vs. UMass Lowell] I was getting more into my groove. Hopefully I can put together complete games like that and really shut down teams down."