Sophomore winger and men's hockey team captain Tommy Olczyk mentioned tradition and animosity as characteristics when asked about Penn State's rivalry with Ohio University.
Penn State hockey has history with Bobcats even though it is a first-year NCAA program.
For two decades, ACHA club teams knew that they would likely have to face either Penn State or Ohio if they were to win the championship.
The Icers swept the Bobcats in a two-game series at Bird Arena last year,bringing the longtime club rivalry to a close.
When Penn State announced that it was moving up to the Division I level, it was thought that the long lasting rivalry that the former Icers had with Ohio would evaporate into history.
Those who thought the rivalry would end were mistaken last May when the Nittany Lions' schedule was released.
Both Penn State and Ohio were instrumental in the development of the ACHA and have combined for 10 national championships. The two teams also faced off in the ACHA national championship game five times with Penn State winning the final twice (1998, 2003) and Ohio winning three times (1988, 1995 and 2004). The Icers won the national championship for four straight seasons from 2000-2003.
Gadowsky said the team is not going to take the Bobcats lightly just because they are a club team.
"We're not going to go in and kick garbage cans and break sticks," Gadowsky said. "I don't want to do that as a coach. I want to see it come from the players."
The Bobcats are currently ranked fifth in the ACHA and boast a 22-5-3 record and are on a five-game winning streak.
"They played us really tough," Olczyk said. "They're a very respectable club hockey team. I know myself, coach Gadowsky, the other coaches, and the guys who were on the team last year know the ACHA, so we have to come ready to play because if we don't, Ohio University is definitely a team that can [pull off an upset]. We're going to make sure that doesn't happen."
Several seniors like forwards George Saad, Eric Steinour and, defenseman Rich O'Brien have been part of the Ohio rivalry all four years at Penn State. Olczyk said he will look to those guys for help in setting the pace. Olczyk also added that no matter what level either team is, playing against the Bobcats will always be a fun game to play in.
The Lions look to keep up the momentum gained from last Saturday's 3-2 win at Michigan State.
The two teams will square off tonight at 7 at the Giant Center in Hershey, home of the Hershey Bears (minor league affiliate of the Washington Capitals) of the American Hockey League. Tonight's game will also be Penn State's third game at an AHL arena and the final of five games at neutral sites.
Then the teams will have a short bus ride back to State College for game two of the series at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion, which is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff.