If there were any doubts that Tim O'Brien was back prior to last weekend, they were silenced in a big way.
During the weekend set against Drexel, O'Brien scored three goals, as many as he had scored all year up to that point as the Penn State Icers swept the Dragons.
With O'Brien taking the summer off battling a wrist injury, the junior felt he lost the touch in the work with his hands and feet along with the other nuances of the game.
Now that the forward is four weeks into the season, he believes those techniques are starting to come around.
"Hopefully it keeps developing more and more as the weekends go on and it just comes from working hard, getting back to where I want to be from last year," O'Brien said.
That wrist was a major source of mental stress for O'Brien during the early part of the season.
The junior admitted that in the back of his head he worried that if he jammed his wrist in a tight spot it might aggravate the injury.
He also worried that once the brace and the tape left he could re-injure the wrist and end up where he started.
Now that O'Brien has gotten his feet under him this season and taken the bumps and bruises that come along the way, he's much more confident in the integrity of his wrist.
"It's been 100 percent throughout the whole year and feels good," O'Brien said. "I think some of the rust I might have had from not skating this summer has finally come off, and I'm starting to get up and going to where I finally want to be."
That confidence has spread to all areas of his game according to the forward.
He now feels better about going into tight areas along the boards and getting into one-on-one battles knowing that his wrist is better than ever and doesn't hesitate in fear of hurting himself.
With senior captain Matt Kirstein battling injury along with other injuries and suspensions plaguing the Icers this season, O'Brien admitted he felt pressure to step up and carry the load offensively.
That pressure wasn't imagined either.
Paul Daley said that with the nature of the sport, injuries can happen at any time and people need to be ready to step up throughout the season.
Daley added that with O'Brien being one of the leading goal scorers on the team the past couple of seasons he hoped the forward was hitting his stride to help continue in that role this season.
While it may have been important for the team, Icers coach Scott Balboni felt it was more important for O'Brien to have a strong weekend.
"Not that he's had a bad weekend up to that point, it was taking him a while to click, he wasn't getting any bounces," Balboni said. "This weekend he got some bounces and his line started clicking and he played well and was able to cash in and get some points on the board."