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Penn State Men’s Hockey Focused On Preventing Costly Turnovers

Following a split series against No. 12 Ohio State this past weekend, it’s fair to say that Penn State men’s hockey needs to work on playing consistently.

One constant between those two games, and throughout the team’s season, has been a high turnover rate both in the neutral zone and the team’s offensive zone. High turnover rates in this weekend’s games led to a handful of odd-man rushes that head coach Guy Gadowsky identified as a bigger problem than normal.

“The odd-man rushes that we gave up [through turnovers] were extraordinarily high for us in at least the last 13 games,” Gadowsky said in his weekly media availability. “It’s something we like to think we are smarter about. It’s more decision-making than it is skills.”

Gadowsky also noted that while some players do have certain skills that can prevent turnovers, the whole team needs to be on the same page when it comes to making in-game choices.

“It’s everybody making the correct decision that really matters,” he said. “It sounds easy, but to do it at a high pace is different than to do it in practice.”

The No. 12-ranked Buckeyes blanked Penn State Saturday night in a 6-0 win. Looking back on the game, Gadowsky felt his team got desperate while facing an insurmountable lead, which easily contributed to more turnovers and mistakes.

“We broke,” he said. “We seemed to feel that we got down, so our decision-making was based on not panic, but we’re pressing to get something done quickly…We were desperate and doing things out of desperation, not based on what our training set.”

What can Penn State do to fix its decision-making problems in high-pressure situations? Gadowsky thinks that is up to the players and their mentality.

Team captain Paul DeNaples agreed, noting the team didn’t pay the weekend’s games the attention to detail that they required.

“I think, in the past, we haven’t had the consistency to be the team that we want to be and to take the next step,” he said. “Against Ohio State, we just got lazy, and our commitment to doing the right things wasn’t there. This is a good week to bounce back and get back on track because it can go two ways. We can learn from it and build on, or we can sit back and hope, which isn’t what I want to do and I don’t think the team wants to either.”

Freshman Danny Dzhaniyev agreed that the team’s consistency wasn’t there.

“We’ve just got to be consistent with all that stuff and not doing it, because we know it hurts us in the long run,” Dzhaniyev said. “Especially this Saturday, we had, like, six odd-man rushes. So, I think we just have to eliminate that from our game and keep consistent without it.”

Sophomore goalie Liam Souliere thinks it’s a matter of sticking to the basics of the team’s game.

“It’s something in our control as a unit,” he said. “High turnovers or bad pinches, making sure we have the third man high, that’s how you get those odd-man rushes. In hockey, those are killer, and if you get them, you get chances to score. We just have to do a better job at playing our game — simple.”

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About the Author

Caitlin Burns

Caitlin is a senior majoring in english. She watches "Dance Moms" from the beginning three times a year and thinks she's a barista because she can make one drink from Starbucks. She can usually be found taking a nap or being unreasonably angry at small inconveniences. You can contact her at [email protected]

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