PSU Hockey Finishes In Style

After being thoroughly outplayed on Sunday night in a 5-0 loss to No. 16 Wisconsin, Penn State rebounded from a two-goal deficit on Monday to record its first victory over a ranked opponent, winning 3-2 in overtime.

Sophomore goalie PJ Musico stopped a career-high 46 shots on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Badger247)

Despite coming out of the gate strong on Sunday, Penn State couldn’t hang with Wisconsin, who peppered the Lions behind 51 shots. Sophomore goalie PJ Musico had 46 saves and made at least five point-blank stops that would have been goals on any other night.

After the game, head coach Guy Gadowsky didn’t sugarcoat the loss.

"We're nowhere close right now. We've got a lot of work to do,” said Gadowsky following the 5-0 defeat. “They're an excellent team, and they gave us a lot of information."

Gadowsky used the information gathered in the series opener as a teaching point as Penn State started strong on Monday evening. After the first period, Wisconsin held a 11-10 shot advantage in what was a very open-ended affair.

Penn State eventually went down 1-0 in the first after giving up a 2-on-0, and then conceded another goal midway through the second period. Seven seconds after going down 2-0, junior forward Taylor Holstrom netted for Penn State, cutting the Wisconsin lead in half.

The back-and-forth play continued throughout the third period, and with over seven minutes remaining in regulation freshman Casey Bailey poked in a power play goal to tie the score.

The Nittany Lions relied heavily on freshman goaltender Matt Skoff in the third, as he repeatedly made highlight-reel saves to keep the Badgers from going ahead, ending up with a career-high 42 saves.

After 60 minutes of hockey the game went to overtime, and Holstrom grabbed his second goal of the game on a scrum in front of the net, sending Penn State into the off-season on a positive note.

The Nittany Lions finish up their independent Division I campaign 19-16-0 in all games this year, 13-14-0 in NCAA games and 11-12-0 against NCAA Division I opponents. Penn State had an overall record of 3-2-0 against future Big Ten teams, beating Ohio State, Michigan State and finally the Badgers in the last game of the season.

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  • To say that I'm excited about the future of this program is an understatement. Awesome win last night for the program to finish out the season.

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    "DOMINATE the state" - James Franklin 1/11/14

  • Andrew, season over. Did this team meet, exceed or fall short of expectations?

    I honestly wasnt sure what to expect. We had a nice club team, but D1 is a new animal. I am almost inclined to say maybe exceeded a little of expectations. Beating osu, wisconsin and michigan state was a nice sign. Beating the under 18 national team was good and had some nice performances throughout the year.

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  • No Andrew but I'll give my own incite. I followed the program closely this year, more closely then when they were a club team, just because I'm stoked about them being full blown Division I now.

    I think it's fair to say that the team exceeded expectations in year one. At least from general on-lookers who may not know much about hockey. We had some marquee wins in year one over MSU on the road, OSU on the road, Wisky on the road, and vs. Vermont in Philly. Those four teams alone are in and out of the rankings, for the most part on a yearly basis. The key wins are the first three I mentioned, obviously, since they will be Big 10 opponents starting next year. Guy is getting the guys he wants to fit his system and we have some good young talent currently on the team and more coming in for next year to add the necessary depth we need. There's no denying the fact that we could be a premiere hockey program at the Division I level in time. We have all the resources necessary to get us there and with the new arena, that will be even more enticing for future prospects.

    signature image

    "DOMINATE the state" - James Franklin 1/11/14

  • There were some lulls, but they well exceeded what I had them pegged for. I didn't think they'd lose to any of the club teams on the schedule but they fell to Arizona State in December which ended up being their worst stretch of the season. Also thought they'd beat UConn at least once.

    To beat Wisconsin on the road is a result I NEVER expected. Michigan State was down this year so a win over them wasn't too surprising, even thought it was at Munn. Also beating Ohio State is a nice confidence boost. 11-12 against NCAA Division I opponents when only one one of the top-16 scorers came to Penn State prior to 2011-12 (Gadowsky's first season as head coach, and the team's final season in the ACHA club ranks) is impressive.

    Of those top-16, four are Division I transfers, nine are freshman and two are sophomores recruited by Gadowsky. Lots of young talent already on campus, with more on the way in the form of the 2013 class. They'll provide much more depth and give Gadowsky quality options on the 3rd and 4th lines.

  • Not Andrew, but it was what I expected to be honest. There are ups and downs with first year programs. You never know what you are going to get. Losing to Arizona State, a club team, then Neuman and Buffalo State, both Division III schools - you don't expect. You don't expect to barge into Madison and split with the 16th-ranked Badgers either.

    However, last night you could see the talent is there. While this Wisconsin team isn't the Badgers coached by Bob Johnson - loaded with talent, its a team with nine freakin draft picks - three or four of them were first or second rounders too boot. They could have given up down 2-0 on the road, but didn't. They can back harder, got some breaks and capitalized. It's a good way to end the season and gives them a great base to build on heading into next year. On paper, with the class coming in, PSU could easily take the next step up next year.

    OSU win was "nice" only the fact it was against a BIG team. Traditionally, OSU isn't good. Sparty had an off year. MSU has been down for a few years. Vermont hasn't been the same since Viktor Stahlberg left. RIT was a nice win in front of a hostile crowd in Rochester. US Under 18 win might have been better than some of the Division I wins since that team has beaten some powers over the last few years. If anything, absent the Wisconsin win, that might hold more significance than any other win on the books. Why? Because those are the kids you want in the program. You beat them, they take notice and might listen should PSU approach them with an opportunity.

  • How does a win/season like this help recruiting? Do kids pay enough attention to college hockey to be impressed with those kinds of wins in their first season as a D1 program?

    I don't mind the bad losses, given the great wins. Always said in football (and it applies to most sports, IMO), that the sign of a young, good team is that they'll beat teams they shouldn't and lose to teams they shouldn't.

  • Its tough because the 2013 class is locked in for the most part, and there isn't much room in 2014 because of the large 2011/12 classes they had to take to build up the foundation.

    There are already a few 2015 kids in the fold, and a win like this will only help. Also beating the USNTDP program when they came to State College, like Hamilton said, is big because those are the top young players in the country. Showing them this team can compete will go a long way.

    Also, this new arena recruits for itself, to be honest. It's a gem.

  • Kids are well aware that a first year program will have inconsistencies. The win-loss record isn't that much of a factor really at this stage. The kids will see a win at #16 Wisconsin, a win over US Under 18, the best developmental program in the country,a win at Michigan State and while that program has struggled the last few years, it still carries some weight. Add in the fact a brand spanking new state of the art hockey facility is coming and the program will be playing the likes of Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Sparty every year, you have alot of things to take notice of.

    Also, Gadowsky and his staff have that rapport with the kids they are recruiting and they, the recruits are listening - not closing the door. It's a process, but even kids coming in the next two or three years will be classified as program builders - even though they weren't on the inaugural season's roster. That is appealing to alot of kids, especially when you are talking about a program like PSU.

  • That was a great win last night! Glad I was able to catch it on TV!

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