People tend to look back on their fondest memories when something comes to an end.
That’s exactly what coach Guy Gadowsky did after he and his team played for the last time at Greenberg Ice Pavilion on Saturday against American College Hockey Association club team Oklahoma — a 3-0 win.
His memory looked back to Friday, Jan. 11 when the Nittany Lions played the United States Under-18 National team.
“Honestly, I’ll never forget when the [public address] system went off and the student section started singing the national anthem,” Gadowsky said. “Stuff like that is what I’ll remember.”
Even though the Greenberg Ice Pavilion is no longer home to the Nittany Lions, the team sees a bright future down the road at Pegula Ice Arena.
The 32-year-old rink hosted 14 sold-out games in Penn State’s inaugural NCAA Division I season. The last of those sold-out games honored alumni, which Gadowsky said held a lot of meaning.
“It means a lot to honor them, for this season alone, for all the support we got going around the state,” Gadowsky said. “This is the last game at Greenberg and it’s also not just to honor them, but let them know that we need them for success in the future.”
Throughout the season, Gadowsky always mentioned how much he loves the student section. Saturday wasn’t any different, as he explained something else he’ll always remember from Greenberg.
“For me, it was the first time seeing the student section and how much support we have,” Gadowsky said. “It was fantastic. You saw them standing the whole time and chanting, really making it such a fun place to play.”
For the six Penn State seniors, Saturday was also a memorable moment. Brian Dolan, Michael Longo, Dominic Morrone, Rich O’Brien, George Saad and Eric Steinour not only played their last game at Greenberg, but also the last game of their college career. All six played on Penn State’s ACHA club team, the Icers, before this season.
“It was a good game,” O’Brien said. “We didn’t get to start off the way we wanted to, but it was definitely the kind of ending I was looking for in my final game at the ‘Berg.”
Kenny Brooks admitted he also felt a little sentimental, although he’s just a freshman.
“Even just seeing these guys out there today — the seniors — I could see the emotion on them and it made me want to play more,” Brooks said. “It even made it a kind of emotional day for me, even though I’ve only been here for a year.”
Gadowsky said he’s nothing but proud of his six graduating seniors, who ended their Saturday night “having a blast.” He said it was harder for those six to get on the team than anyone else because they went through a year-long tryout coming from the Icers.
“They will have a lot of pride in us, forever,” Gadowsky said. “...And these guys, they were tremendous all year and they really deserve to be Division I hockey players, which they are, and they’ve done a great job for us.”