Guy Gadowsky Growing Closer To ‘Getting Back Penn State Hockey’
Hockey is a very complicated game. Thanks to recurring struggles and obstacles, it’s likely felt more complicated than ever for Penn State men’s hockey this season.
The Nittany Lions were recently swept for the second consecutive series, this time against No. 4 Michigan, losing Friday night’s game 3-2 and a close one Saturday night 4-3. The team’s record fell to 12-12 overall and to a disappointing 3-11 mark within the Big Ten. On the surface, it may not seem like the team is producing enough, but analytics drawn up by the coaching staff (and even the simplest eye test) say differently.
Penn State lost three consecutive games by only one goal against ranked opponents, and the fourth loss was a one-goal game until a late empty-net score from Notre Dame gave the Irish a two-goal lead. In their most recent loss to Michigan, the Nittany Lions held a 3-1 lead before a three-goal surge from the Wolverines put them back on top.
Even though that might sound like Penn State blew the game, head coach Guy Gadowsky thinks of it a bit differently.
“We didn’t look at it like we blew it,” Gadowsky said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We looked at it like we did so many things really well. And if you look at the analytics, we had an excellent game. [The players] were extremely disappointed in the result, as were the coaches, but it didn’t take long to really look at the big picture and what this year is about.”
Gadowsky also mentioned that being happy with the performance does not mean that he and his team are satisfied with the result. Instead, they are taking every positive they can out of last weekend’s sweep to move forward and learn.
Now that the Nittany Lions have bottomed out in the Big Ten standings, it’s also time for Gadowsky and his staff to reevaluate what the end goal is for the season. Obviously, the main objective is to win a championship, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for Penn State unless the team makes a magical run in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament. Moving forward, this season is now about growing as a team and creating sustained, consistent success by getting back to its identity.
“[The goal] is getting back Penn State hockey,” Gadowsky said. “That starts with a great culture. If you talk to any of the alumni we have, they will tell you how much they loved coming to Pegula Ice Arena…That’s what this year is about because last year, going through what we did, we took a lot of steps back, and we need to get it back.”
To get back to its identity, the leadership needs to embrace it and show that to the rest of the team. Gadowsky has emphasized that to his players as well.
“The leadership has to buy into the successes that you have, regardless of the score, or the lessons that need to be learned, regardless of the score,” Gadowsky said. “As long as the leadership buys into that, I think that’s how you get the point across [to the team].”
Penn State’s season continues with a two-game series against Wisconsin at Pegula Ice Arena starting on Friday, January 21. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Your ad blocker is on.
Please choose an option below.
Purchase a Subscription!
About the Author
Despite losing key contributors at wide receiver and on the offensive line, the combination of young talent and proven transfers should benefit Penn State’s attack this fall.
Applications to join our staff are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, September 2.
This marks the first time the Nittany Lions are left out of the preseason poll since 2016.