Hockey Game Grades: Penn State vs Alaska Anchorage
The Penn State Nittany Lions continued their hot start to the season with a win and a draw against Alaska Anchorage. Andrew Sturtz led the team in game one as he tallied two goals to back a 19 save effort by Eamon McAdam. The following night, the Nittany Lions used a late power play goal from Luke Juha to tie the game at one before threatening in overtime, but falling short of securing the sweep. The team moves to 7-2-3 on the season and is off to another fantastic start. Here is how the game grades shook out for the weekend tour in Alaska:
It was a tale of two games for the Nittany Lions offense, but for the most part, it was what it has been all season with one of the most potent offenses in the league, led by a bunch of young stud under- classmen. In the first of the two game set, the Nittany Lions netted five goals while applying considerable pressure all game. Andrew Sturtz tickled the twine twice, while Chase Berger and Kenny Brooks both had two-point games as well. The best part of the offense for the Nittany Lions in this game was the resiliency. After scoring two goals, they gave up two in a span of 29 seconds. However it was all Blue and White (gray and blue and white that night because of the alternate jerseys) from there on out as three unanswered sealed the deal. Scoring one goal the next game isn’t much to talk about, but five posts over the weekend means these games could have gotten out of hand.
Much less of a tale of two games, the weekend series was just a complete effort defensively for this Nittany Lions unit. The mix of speed and skill on the blue line is undeniable and these kids can also defend as well. The defensive corps tallied three points in the weekend meeting, but more importantly, they held Alaska Anchorage in check with just two goals in both games. If you are only allowing a goal a game to the opposing team, that’s pretty solid work. Both games saw the opposition put only 21 shots on goal, this also indicates the level of defensive play from the Nittany Lions.
It has to be tough for both Matt Skoff and Eamon McAdam to not know who the go-to-guy is, as it seems to be both of them. Yet for the most part, these two seem to be able to coexist in the net, albeit one at a time. McAdam got the start in game one and played 59 minutes and 31 seconds of shut out hockey. A lapse in overall play from the Nittany Lions was the only reason the two goals were scored. Outside of that, the Islanders draft pick was fantastic once again between the pipes. Skoff turned in an equally impressive game, allowing one fewer goal then McAdam. Don’t expect that to determine who starts the next game, but Skoff has looked better as this young season has progressed. Both goalies are good and Skoff played well enough to get the win Saturday instead of the tie.
Special Teams: B
Penn State was 1-8 on the weekend as far as the power play goes. Not the best showing from a unit skilled enough to scare the opposing goaltender any time they are up a man. They did put a considerable number of shots on goal, but when none go in, it’s tough to be too happy with the product. On the flip side, the one power play goal that they scored was good enough to get them a tie in the second game and they also netted a shorthanded goal in the first game. The Nittany Lions held Alaska Anchorage in check on the power play as well as the Sea Wolves totaled zero special teams goals over the weekend.
You have to say that Guy Gadowsky did a great job preparing his guys to deal with a considerable time difference and get them ready to play and win the first game. Maybe you can attribute the tie to a little fatigue, but overall, the coaching is where it needs to be. It still remains to be seen if splitting time with the goalies will work, but when the results have come in so far this season, they have been impressive. 7-2-3 on the year is a fantastic start for Penn State, but this is the part of the season last year where they started to falter. Let’s see if they can keep it together this year.
Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.