This time, Guy Gadowsky wasn’t very thrilled. He didn’t point out many things the team did right. According to him, the team has one issue to focus on right now, and that’s mental toughness.
After the men’s hockey team lost to NCAA Division III Neumann Tuesday night in overtime, 3-2, the head coach uttered the word “disappointed.”
“I don’t know why, but we have a real tendency to be as focused at the start of the game as determined on how we feel our opponent is going to be,” Gadowsky said. “Not, we’re going to dictate the game regardless, whether we’re playing a midget team in an exhibition game or playing Ohio State in the Consol Arena.”
Gadowsky often finds the positives and negatives in games, focusing on those rather than the outcome of the contest.
The Penn State coach wasn’t happy about his team’s play in the first period. The Nittany Lions allowed a goal in the first shift, just 20 seconds into the game, and were losing 1-0 for the rest of the period.
Gadowsky often mentioned the maturity of his team after Tuesday’s loss, noting that it’s mostly comprised of freshmen. The team has 10 freshmen within a roster of 26.
“We have to grow up. We do,” Gadowsky said. “We’re a whole team of young guys of freshmen right now. We have to grow up. It’s not going to be a lot of fun if we don’t learn how to be prepared to compete and have results at the start of the game.”
Gadowsky promised that the team is in the process of maturing, and explained what he expects in its results.
“Everybody talks about success of athletes, whether it’s in a team or individuals, and they always talk about skills and things that you can quantify — how fast, how strong, how high,” Gadowsky said.
He continued, saying that a successful team is one who can perform at the highest level the most consistently. Gadowsky said he doesn’t know how long this process will take, but emphasized that it needs to happen sooner than later.
The Lions have six more teams left on their schedule, including ones against future Big Ten conference schools, Wisconsin and Michigan State.
“With no disrespect to any of the teams we’ve played this year, [games] are going to get a heck of a lot harder,” Gadowsky said. “If you’re not ready to play, it’s not like you’re down 1-0 after one [period]. It’s like you’re down 4-0.”