Penn State Men’s Hockey vs. Notre Dame Series Grades

Story posted February 7, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Maclain Young

Penn State had a bad time at Compton Family Ice Arena this past weekend getting swept by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by scores of 7-2 and 3-0.

The Nittany Lions removed any hope of hosting a conference tournament matchup by getting swept by the team just above them in the standings.

Now the Nittany Lions will battle in a grudge match with Michigan State and Wisconsin to avoid finishing last in the conference. Here’s a look at how the blue and white fared in its matchup against Notre Dame.

Offense: D

It’s not enough anymore to credit the Nittany Lion offense for putting up shots in bunches without scoring the amount of goals needed to win.

Penn State was shut out for the second time in three games this series and was outscored 10-2 at Notre Dame. The Nittany Lions also couldn’t finish strong in the one game they were in this series.

The opponents have obviously been extremely talented, but that has been the case throughout conference play. If the Nittany Lions want to pose a threat in the Big Ten Tournament, they need to bury their chances and finish off games.

Defense: D+

It’s hard to blame a defense for trying to hold up an inefficient offense throughout a series, but the unit cannot be excused from the third-period meltdown in Game 1 against the Fighting Irish.

Too often the defense was flat-footed and allowed for the Fighting Irish to get odd-man chances. It left both Oskar Autio and Liam Souliere out to dry.

While the defense can’t be blamed completely for being swept at all, especially not in Game 2, it did nothing to move the needle except collapse in Game 1`.

Goaltending: C-

The goaltending of this series didn’t cost Penn State the series, although Autio and Souliere did nothing remotely close to stealing the game.

Guy Gadowsky once again started Souliere for Game 1 and Autio for Game 2, a routine that is quickly growing stale inside the Penn State pipes.

Souliere had a fine game until the third-period meltdown from the whole team that has been mentioned numerous times, while Autio played decent as well but nothing game-breaking.

Overall, the goaltending was just okay against Notre Dame, but it will be interesting to see if Gadowsky will roll with just one goaltender for the series against Minnesota after the bye week.

Coaching: C

While Penn State’s special teams have been less than spectacular, it’s hard to fault Gadowsky and his staff for trying to coach up this young team.

The Fighting Irish are one of the most well-coached teams in college hockey and have the best penalty kill in the nation by far. It would have been foolish to expect the Penn State power play to get going in this series.

Penn State’s coaching staff just has to focus on grooming its guys to win games late and becoming a threat to the top teams in the Big Ten in the conference tournament.

If this series made anything clear, it’s that this Penn State team still has much to learn as a young hockey team.

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email