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Penn State Men’s Hockey’s Postseason Hopes On Thin Ice As Season Hits Low Point In Minneapolis

Another week has passed, and unfortunately for Penn State men’s hockey, another pair of games tallied the loss column. This time, the Nittany Lions were blanked 3-0 in both games by the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis.

It didn’t take long for Minnesota to grab two goals, as Rhett Pitlick scored twice in the opening minutes of the first period on Friday. Penn State squandered five power play opportunities, including a five-on-three in the second period. The Nittany Lions were outplayed throughout the entire game en route to the loss.

Although Penn State looked better the following afternoon, it still wasn’t nearly enough to compete with the top 10-ranked Golden Gophers. The Nittany Lions had some impressive chances early on, but Aaron Huglen’s two goals in the second period and Mason Nevers’ third-period goal were too much to overcome.

It was the first time in program history that the Nittany Lions have been shut out in a series, which puts their fourth time being swept this season into perspective. Penn State’s chance of returning to the NCAA Tournament was already low entering the series, but the result has it dangling by a thread, if there’s even a realistic chance at all.

The Nittany Lions have now lost four out of their last six games. The rough stretch has them under .500 at 12-13-3, meaning every remaining game could be considered a playoff game. Despite the circumstances, Guy Gadowsky remains calm.

“I don’t think I feel [pressure] because it hasn’t been like it’s new things,” he said.

“One thing I liked about this year is relatively soon in the year it was very much figured out, not only from an eye test but from analytics of when this team is at its best,” he continued. “I think we figured it out. It’s a matter of now putting it together, so that’s why I don’t think it’s a pressure thing.”

Regardless of whether or not there’s pressure, this team needs to apply what it claims to have figured out on the ice immediately. It shows flashes of good and competitive hockey on occasion, but something’s almost always missing, and consistency has been lacking.

Simply put, there are too many moving parts that haven’t been successfully assembled this season, and time is running out to get them right. With six crucial games remaining in the regular season, there’s no more margin for error. These remaining games are against No. 12 Michigan, No. 4 Wisconsin, and Ohio State. Based on what has transpired against two-thirds of those opponents thus far, this final stretch is going to be an uphill battle.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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