The program firsts just keep on coming.
This time, Penn State will take on its first Division I opponent from Pennsylvania at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky said the Nittany Lions are looking more at themselves in preparation for their match-up against Robert Morris.
Despite the possibility of the Colonials becoming an instate rival, Gadowsky sees it as a good thing.
“The better the hockey in all of Pennsylvania, the better for everybody,” Gadowsky said. “I hope they are becoming more visible and we certainly are going to be with the Pegula Ice Arena. We will become a catalyst for grassroots hockey in this area.”
The Lions are fresh off of a 4-0 shutout of Fredonia State Tuesday night.
“We are not looking at this year in terms of wins and losses,” Gadowsky said. “We had 50 shots on net. We want to get back to playing a high tempo game and I think we did.”
Freshman goaltender Matt Skoff, who stopped all 18 shots from the Blue Devils, will start between the pipes, Gadowsky said.
While the team will try to continue to build the foundation of its identity, Penn State is well aware of the Colonials’ recent success. The school located outside Pittsburgh, is riding a four-game unbeaten streak including a 3-2 win and a 2-2 tie against Ohio State.
“They are a very good program,” Gadowsky said. “They are very well coached. Any Division I team we can play is great for us.”
The Lions are still missing some key components of the foundation they are trying to build due to injuries.
Despite coming back with a career high three points against Holy Cross last weekend, freshman forward Jonathan Milley is still battling a lower body injury and is out indefinitely, Gadowsky said.
Freshman defenseman Mark Yanis is still unable to skate with a broken ankle that he suffered during the Nov. 3 matchup against Buffalo State. Yanis’ return is still weeks away, Gadowsky said.
The line combinations have also seen some fluctuation. Gadowsky said the changes are out of necessity due to the injuries.
The limited lineup will make the challenge even greater, Gadowsky said.
After Saturday’s game Penn State will have 13 days off to get healthy and prepare for the Three Rivers Classic tournament set for Dec. 28-29 at the Consol Energy Center where the Nittany Lions will face the Colonials again.