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Series Finales Becoming Ongoing Issue For Penn State Men’s Hockey

Penn State men’s hockey had a generally productive series against a tough opponent in No. 17 Ohio State this weekend. Head coach Guy Gadowsky was satisfied with the team’s play in the series, but a scary trend continued for the Nittany Lions in game two with a 4-3 loss.

Penn State has completed nine series, five of which have been against Big Ten opponents. Of those five conference series, the Nittany Lions won the first game and dropped the second to settle with a split four times.

“I thought we played well [against Ohio State],” Gadowsky said. “And I thought we actually showed a lot of what we like to play like. Last game we didn’t win, but there’s a lot to be happy about from a coaching standpoint.”

The team’s struggles in series finale games have become more than a coincidence. It’s become a trend that needs to be fixed as the team dives deeper into conference play.

“Yeah, I know it’s a bit of a problem here,” defenseman Paul DeNaples said. “I don’t have an answer for you as to why it’s happening and why we’re playing differently, but it’s something we need to get fixed in the new year.”

Taking a deeper look at the numbers, Penn State has been outscored 18-10 in those four games. Two of the losses to Big Ten opponents come after outscoring those same teams 13-6 in game one.

Goaltender Liam Souliere has also been shaky in the latter games of the two-game sets. He’s gotten the start in all four of Penn State’s losses and has allowed 4.5 goals per game, compared to just 1.5 goals per game in the first games.

Gadowsky still thinks highly of his star goaltender despite struggles in game twos.

“He’s had a huge impact,” Gadowsky said. “I think he’s been excellent. He’s certainly giving us a chance to win almost every single night that he’s in and that’s extremely valuable.”

Both Gadowsky and senior forward Kevin Wall were at a loss attempting to identify the reason for the team’s struggles when trying to finish off a sweep.

“We’re asking those questions. We’ve examined it again this morning,” Gadowsky said. “I don’t have an answer. We don’t know why.”

“No, I don’t know,” Wall said. “I think it just comes down to how badly we want it. There’s not really one thing we can point at as the reason why we’re losing the second game.”

The Nittany Lions will try to exorcise their game two demons when they take on Notre Dame for a two-game series beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 9. It’ll be Penn State’s final series until late December when it takes on RIT.

“If we could end this semester on a high note, it would mean a lot,” Gadowsky said. “They’ve worked extremely hard and had some good results, but it certainly would be nice to end it all correctly.”

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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