There’s no Man with the Yellow Hat that takes care of him, but Guy Gadowsky is definitely curious.
Throughout the season, Gadowsky has often said that he has been curious to see how his team is going to perform against a certain opponent.
That’s because at the beginning of the season there was a lack of information on how the team would matchup with Division I teams because of the program’s infancy. In other words, the coach didn’t know what to expect because the team had yet to play any games.
As the season has progressed, the 9-12-0 Nittany Lions know there are aspects of the game that they can work on such as committing too many penalty and slow starts. The Lions own the sixth highest average in penalty minutes per game (15.9) in the country, while they have been outscored 19-16 in the first period and are outscoring their opponents 23-18 in the second period.
“I think that we have been having a little trouble mental toughness-wise,” Gadowsky said after Saturday’s 4-2 win against Vermont in Philadelphia. “I think we had to show it today because things weren’t clicking and they found a way. So maybe a little confidence that we can dig down and get a win.”
Now that the Nittany Lions have a little momentum coming off a game in front of a big crowd and another on the horizon, Gadowsky said he is curious again. This time the coach is curious about the prospect of facing the team’s second Big Ten opponent on its schedule. Penn State beat Ohio State 5-4, on Dec. 29 on neutral ice as part of the Three Rivers Classic at the Consol Energy Center.
Freshman winger Casey Bailey said he anticipates a hostile crowd on the trip to East Lansing, Mich. to face the Spartans. However, the big crowd will be going against them this time around. Gadowsky said he is also curious about how the fans accept them. The approach in preparing for the game in practice will not change.
Even though Gadowsky has coached in a Big Ten environments before as head coach of the Alaska Nanooks in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), but this will be the first time he brings a fellow Big Ten school with him.
A win on Friday would give Penn State two wins in a row, something that has not happened since the end of October and beginning of November.
Freshman goaltender Matt Skoff said the team needs to keep a “high compete level” if it wants to get at least one win.
“It feels good to build confidence,” Skoff said. “It’s good for the team. Michigan State is going to be a good test for us.”
Despite the challenge, the Nittany Lions had this weekend circled on their calendar.
“We’ve been looking forward to this all year,” Gadowsky said at Tuesday’s practice. “It will be fun.”