Penn State Men’s Hockey’s Noah Grannan Wins First Start Of The Season At Goaltender
Penn State men’s hockey goaltender Liam Souliere has been a consistent presence in the Nittany Lion net since his sophomore season where he started 15 games. In his junior year, Souliere was cemented as the main goaltender and started 36 games. This year, Souliere was pulled in favor of sophomore Noah Grannan a little over halfway through the contest with AIC.
Grannan made seven saves in his 25 minutes at goalie against AIC and boasted a .875 save percentage.
A week later, Grannan says head coach Guy Gadowsky let him know he was going to be the starter for Thursday’s matchup with Alaska Anchorage prior to practice on Wednesday.
“I usually prepare to play whether [Souliere’s] starting or I’m starting,” Grannan said. “I’m not gonna change my pregame routine because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Grannan had a long while to adjust to his start with Penn State not allowing a shot for the first five minutes of action Thursday night during an offensive flurry to start the game.
That same offensive explosion that allowed the Nittany Lions to continue to put pucks on net early and gain momentum didn’t have the same effect on Grannan, though.
“I keep the same mindset I had going into the game whether I see 15 shots or three,” Grannan said. “I always just try to have the next shot mentality.”
Once the Seawolves finally established a presence in their offensive zone, Grannan’s next-shot mentality paid off and he recorded five saves and held Alaska Anchorage scoreless through the first 20 minutes.
Penn State started the second period with the same domination of time of possession it had in the first period. The Nittany Lions struck fast in the second period and quickly found themselves with a 2-0 lead with Grannan still seeing little action.
Grannan’s chance at a shutout came to an end with just under 10 minutes to go in the second period after he gave up a long rebound that was put back by the Seawolves. Nevertheless, Grannan didn’t falter and continued his stifling style of play for the rest of the game, finishing with a .962 save percentage.
Grannan, however, wasn’t the only personnel change Gadowsky made prior to the matchup with the Seawolves as the Ryan Kirwan-Danny Dzhaniyev-Aiden Fink line was broken up and Chase McClane and Carson Dyck also got the start at forward.
“There’s a little bit of a method to the madness,” Gadowsky said postgame. “We have a lot of faith and belief in what Christian Sarlo and Xander Lamppa can do not only on the ice, but as leaders. We thought that putting a little bit of each on different lines would help.”
Gadowsky was happy with how his lineup changes worked out against Alaska Anchorage but also knows his lineup is far from finalized. Ultimately, the change at goalie was an opportunity for both goaltenders to assess their strengths and weaknesses at the position.
“With this team, we really tried to embrace internal competition,” Gadowsky said. “Iron sharpens iron, and every position is subject to that.”
As for Grannan specifically, Gadowsky is pleased. The Nittany Lions once again took control of the third period and Grannan didn’t have much thrown his way until the final minute when the Seawolves pulled their goalie.
“He didn’t get a lot of work early, but he was sharp,” Gadowsky said. “I think he looked really, really good.”
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About the Author
The ranking comes after the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State 42-0 on Black Friday.
This is the first time the Lady Lions have received AP Poll votes since 2014.
The Onward State crew headed to the Motor City for some football, pizza, and a swing set overlooking Canada.