Pegula Opener Was An Adrenaline-Filled, High Energy Masterpiece
“The student section was definitely the first star tonight,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said after the Nittany Lions defeated Army 4-1 in the Pegula Ice Arena opener.
He couldn’t be more right. On a historic night for Penn State hockey, Penn State athletics, and Penn State as a university, the dominating force throughout the game in Pegula was the “Roar Zone.”
The student section was rowdy and reckless for all three periods. The atmosphere in the arena was dictated by the students. Their high energy might have led to a few too many Penn State penalties as the team was about as jacked up as possible. The section was built as steep as code allowed to ensure that as many students as possible could pack themselves in.
Not only was the student section loud, but it was creative too, coming up with new chants throughout the game. Some were obvious, like a “Hockey Valley!” chant that echoed throughout Pegula over and over during the game. Some were less obvious, like “government shutdown” chant that came with Penn State leading 3-0 in the third period. The shutout didn’t stick, but it’s the thought that counts.
The “Roar Zone” reverted to some old favorites too, like the standard “You suck!” chant directed at the opposing goalie, Rob Tadazak, who spent two whole periods directly in front of the packed student section. There were no hard feelings though. Tadazak was extremely complimentary of the Pegula atmosphere after the game.
“That’s what hockey is all about,” he said. “They were chanting ‘you suck’ at me all game long. I love that. I wasn’t going to go shake their hands after the game, but that’s hockey.”
David Glen, Nate Jensen, and Matt Skoff spoke to the media after the game, with Jensen and Glen mentioning blacking out at least once during the game because of the adrenaline that came with the Pegula opener. The trio admitted that the Nittany Lions’ whopping ten penalties had a lot to do with the arena’s atmosphere.
“This was a tremendous night,” Gadowsky said. “The student section was definitely the first star of the night. The star of the show tonight was definitely the student section. I thought the atmosphere was tremendous, right from walking out onto the bench for the first time which was a phenomenal feeling. I can’t wait to get back and do this again. It’s so motivating to play [at Pegula].”
“That’s why a lot of us came here, because of the passion of Penn Staters,” he added. “It was awesome. It feels so good to come out and hear that. And when you score a goal and you see that come and you feel an avalanche, you know what I mean? They’re a big factor. I think they had a really good time.”