Penn State Series Grades vs. Alaska-Fairbanks

Story posted 6 days ago in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

No. 7 Penn State picked up their fourth non-conference sweep of the season over Alaska-Fairbanks on a Tuesday and Wednesday holiday-week affair.

Tuesday’s match saw the Nittany Lions jump out to a quick 3-0 lead, and while they struggled to close out the Nanooks, they came away with a 3-2 victory.

Wednesday’s contest was the game of special teams, as the blue and white scored two power play goals to win 2-1 and secure the sweep.

Here are the grades from this non-conference series.

Offense: B+
A mix of depth scoring and the top players showing out led to the series victory for the blue and white.

Christian Sarlo scored a goal and added two assists in the series, now giving him points in seven out of his last eight games, with four goals and five assists in that span. He is also on a three-game point streak and is one goal away from tying a career best.

Along with depth scoring from guys like Sarlo and Tyler Paquette, the Nittany Lions got two goals from one of their best players in Ryan Kirwan.

Those tallies will be huge for Kirwan’s confidence, who was scoreless in his last eight games before the series.

Defense: A-
The young defensive group continues to play like a group of veterans on the back end.

Holding the Nanooks to just 27 shots in game one and effectively rubbing out their power play opportunities all series long would be the difference makers in the two contests.

Discipline was also key in this series, with the blue and white only taking three penalties all series long.

Goaltending: A
Liam Souliere looked like his old self against the Nanooks, bouncing back in a big way after getting yanked early in game two against the No. 16 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday.

The junior netminder would stop 58-of-61 total shots over the two games, and kept the Nittany Lions in control when they faltered late in game one.

The blue and white will need Souliere to be in the same form when they take on the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.

Coaching: B+
The power play is finally starting to click for Penn State, something that head coach Guy Gadowksy has stressed all season long.

Despite going 0-for-5 in game one, game two saw the blue and white go 2-for-3, with those two power play goals being the deciding factor to secure the sweep.

The power play wasn’t the only thing clicking, as the penalty kill went a perfect 3-for-3 on the series and adding a shorthanded tally in the process.

The Nittany Lions secured a much-needed sweep, especially considering how poor their execution has been in the second game of the last few series, and will look to ride the momentum into their next Big Ten in-conference slate.

Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jsb6137@psu.edu.