Coach Guy Gadowsky is curious to see this weekend’s match-up.
The Penn State men’s hockey team plays Buffalo State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Greenberg Ice Pavilion, and Gadowsky said he’s interested to see how his new NCAA Division I team plays against a Division III team they lost to three weeks ago.
He said he and the coaching staff aren’t going to say much to the team leading up to the game, they’re just going to watch the response they get from the team.
“I think they might be pissed,” Gadowsky said, “and they want a tone for what happened last time and I’ll be interested to watch.”
The last time the Nittany Lions played Buffalo State they lost 3-0, and Gadowsky said his team was instead focusing on its game against Rochester Institute of Technology the next day.
He hopes his team has learned something from that.
“We knew that RIT just beat Michigan the week before,” Gadowsky said. “We knew that it was going to be 11,000 fans sold out at Blue Cross Arena. I think that’s where our minds were. It was a great lesson and hopefully we learned it.”
Freshman forward Curtis Loik said the team’s energy was low at Buffalo State, where it was challenged by a big and intimidating student crowd.
“I think we just didn’t come in with the fire they did… I think coming to this weekend, we have them in our barn and our student section is a good time,” Loik said. “I think our energy isn’t going to be a problem.”
Freshman forward Kenny Brooks said the team is improving at a high rate and is better than it was just three weeks ago. Loik echoed Brooks and said their youth is their advantage to their rapid growth.
Brooks played in all six games so far, recording one goal and two assists. He had the primary assist on David Glen’s game-winning overtime goal against American International College. Loik also played in all six games, recording two goals and two assists. He scored his first collegiate goal against RIT and also assisted on Glen’s game-winning goal against AIC.
“I think from a young group we have a lot to learn and we’re excited to learn,” Loik said. “That’s why we’re doing so well and we’re improving fast.”
The Lions are on a three-game winning streak after their loss at Buffalo State on Oct. 19. Sophomore goaltender PJ Musico is undefeated (3-0-0) and recorded Penn State’s first NCAA shutout Oct. 26 against Army.
Gadowsky said he hasn’t picked a starting goaltender and said he wants to see what happens in practice on Friday.
“We haven’t really committed to one goaltender yet,” Gadowsky said. “We want to continue to see [freshman goaltender Matthew Skoff], but it’s hard to dispel what PJ’s been doing.”
Loik said he and his teammates aren’t out for revenge Saturday, he said they just want to establish themselves in their first season as a NCAA Division I team.
“I think we just have to prove we’re not going to let [Division III] teams run over us and I think we have to show the leagues that they’re playing a Division I team,” Loik said.