Each period told a different story for Penn State in its third game of the season on Friday.
After going scoreless in the first, trading goals in the second then finally letting up three scores in the third period, there was one common theme for the entire game — the Nittany Lions could not generate scoring opportunities.
While Guy Gadowsky has established a game plan predicated on taking more shots than the other team, many of the shots wind up being lower-quality shots.
Low-quality shots were evident Friday night, as after outshooting Canisius 40-31, the Golden Griffins found the back of the net more often than the Nittany Lions. While the Nittany Lions certainly put up an effort, their approach of firing an abundance of shots on net failed, and Canisius cruised to a 4-1 victory.
It’s hard to boil down just what went wrong for the once-undefeated blue and white, as a slew of issues held back Penn State in its first match against Canisius.
Seemingly, the Nittany Lions did too much on the ice, but somehow did so little at the same time — passing up shot opportunities when they didn’t need to and not passing when they should.
Though it may be difficult to put into words what Penn State displayed tonight, Gadowsky was quick to state what led to the team’s downfall tonight.
“We wanted a cute victory,” Gadowsky said. “We aren’t a cute team, but we played like we wanted to be one.”
Penn State has been searching for its identity, not once was flashiness part of the equation before.
On the other hand, Canisius played at its own pace, brought the physicality and, ultimately, did what it had to do to take a road win.
“They played to their identity much better and I think it was a great lesson for us,” Gadowsky said. “They took advantage of us being a cute perimeter team rather than us doing what we needed to do.”
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Three third-period goals lifted Canisius to victory over Penn State Friday night at Pegula I…
Gadowsky is certainly one to take credit for the mistakes on the team’s behalf, although it is up to the players to figure out what they need to do to improve.
With Canisius and Penn State primed for a rematch on Saturday, it's going to take some serious reflection to have the team where it needs to be — not just for the next few games, but for the rest of the season.
Nonetheless, every loss is a lesson learned for a team that has been in this situation before.
“We’ve got smart guys, they’ll figure it out,” Gadowsky said. “If they don’t, they are gonna watch [the tape]. I think it’s more of a realization than a conversation.”
The Nittany Lions had their fair share of frustrations as tempers seemed to flare more and more throughout the game.
Penn State, as a result, committed five penalties on the night.
While Canisius was an unfamiliar opponent, senior defenseman Paul DeNaples doesn’t feel that the players took the Golden Griffins lightly going into the game.
“I wouldn’t say underestimating,” DeNaples said. “You can play differently, and be fancy, and get away with playing like that, unfortunately that didn’t happen tonight.”
The Nittany Lions went on the man advantage five Friday night, yet the blue and white failed to find twine on any of its opportunities.
Though Gadowsky said that the team didn’t generate opportunities, there is an argument that the chances were there, the players just squandered them.
“It was all perimeter shots, maybe a few grade-A [opportunities] in there,” DeNaples said. “Even if there were pucks laying around, we weren’t there for them.”
To put the game in a nutshell, it was quantity over quality for Penn State, with very few positives to come out of Friday’s performance.
Based on the attitude of the coaches and players tonight, Saturday’s rematch can't end up much worse for the Nittany Lions.
“I didn’t feel frustrated.,” Gadowsky said. “I felt like we weren’t doing enough, to be honest.”
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