Max Gardiner said he and his teammates are looking for a comeback this week after losing five out of their last six games, and the answer is simply to keep a positive mentality.
Penn State (6-7-0) plays Fredonia State (5-7-0) in 7 p.m. Tuesday in New York The Nittany Lions were swept by Holy Cross last weekend and they’re only looking for one thing against the Blue Devils. Their other recent losses came from tough opponents, Air Force, Union and Arizona State.
“We’re traveling to there [Tuesday] with just one goal,” Gardiner, the third-round 2010 NHL draft pick for the St. Louis Blues, said. “And that’s to win a game.”
The Division III team has also lost five out of its past six games. The only other team the Lions played from that division this season is Buffalo State, which Penn State split a pair of games with..
Assistant coach Matt Lindsay said the team and coaching staff are both looking forward to Tuesday’s game, saying, “we’re kind of looking forward to that and taking it one game at a time.”
Freshman forward Casey Bailey said the match-up against the Blue Devils is going to help the team get right back into a rhythm after a loss. Most players said that mental toughness is what the team needs to work on at this point of the season.
Bailey, who previously played for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, said the mood in the locker room is to stay positive. Right now the team isn’t trying to dwell on losses, but rather getting prepared for the next opponent on its schedule.
Fredonia State isn’t a team to just look over, according to Bailey.
“Any Division III club team that we play is going to play it like it’s game 7,” Bailey said. “They’re going to want to beat us, they’re playing a Division I team, so we have to be mentally tough and know that and bring the same mentality and not take them lightly.”
Freshman forward Jonathan Milley, who hasn’t played since Nov. 3, came back into the lineup against Holy Cross this weekend and made an instant impact by registering three points (one goal, two assists) on Friday.
Bailey said having him back in the lineup would help on the power play. Freshman forward David Glen agreed, saying Milley is a big presence up front.
Freshman defenseman Mark Yanis continues to heal from a broken ankle suffered during a game against Buffalo State. Lindsay said he doesn’t know his current status, but the Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. native had a two-month timetable after the injury.
“We’re not quite getting the results we want right now, but we have to bounce back and hopefully go on a little win streak,” Gardiner said. “It’s good to battle a little adversity.”