No one expected what coach Guy Gadowsky said after an overtime loss in his first NCAA Division I game at Penn State.
“I am thrilled right now,” Gadowsky said. “I thought we played great. We had no idea what we had. We didn’t know if we’d be completely out-matched, and I thought we played tremendous… It’s hard to say why I feel so good after an overtime loss, but right now I’m thrilled.”
The Penn State men’s hockey team lost to American International College, 3-2, in sudden-death overtimeFriday. The Nittany Lions had five minutes to get one more goal for a season-opening win, but in the last 21 seconds, AIC senior forward Jon Puskar secured a victory for his team with a goal.
The Lions out-shot the Yellow Jackets, 63-29. AIC goaltender Ben Meisner broke the Atlantic Hockey record for most saves in a game by a goalkeeper. Meisner made 61 saves on 63 shots, while Penn State freshman goaltender Matthew Skoff made 26 saves on 29 shots.
“He is a freshman, but he also the past three years played more games than anybody else we have and had more wins,” Gadowsky said. “For a freshman, that’s a lot of experience, and this is his first Division I game.”
Gadowsky said he also learned a lot about his team Friday night and said it would take too long to go into detail about each player.
“We see things from new players that we will have to address,” Gadowsky said. “But I also learned a lot of good things. For us to generate 60 shots in a Division I game right now ï‚¾ that’s something I learned from our team. We have that ability, and that’s something great to know.”
Before the season started, Gadowsky said he wouldn’t judge his team on wins or losses this season, and he stuck to that statement Friday after the game.
He said the team does Gadowsky said he was surprised at how many shots his team generated and said he’ll want his team to capitalize on that many shots-on-goal in the future.
“I was happy with the work ethic,” Gadowsky said. “I give [AIC goaltender Ben Meisner] a lot of credit, he played very well…There aren’t a lot of games where you will be able to get 60 shots and not come out with a victory.”
Junior forward Taylor Holstrom said he was also surprised at how many shots he and his team accumulated throughout the game. Holstrom collected four shots and one goal, which he scored near the end of the third period to force the game into overtime.
“You always hope for it,” Holstrom said of the team’s 64 shots. “…But I think it’s good to have those shots, there’s more of a chance to put the puck in the goal.”
Gadowsky mentioned why he put Skoff in the net for the team’s first game. He said since he didn’t have too much time with the team, because of a week of official practice, the goaltending coach chose Skoff for the starting position.lk about wins and losses, but he reiterated that he just wants players who are hungry to build a foundation.
“It is not about wins and losses,” Gadowsky said. “This is our first Division I game. We have a lot to be proud of, especially our offense. We see a lot of optimism for our future.
I think they also know that looking at what they have accomplished they will be optimistic about the future.”