Hockey Game Grades: Penn State vs. Wisconsin
It was another successful weekend on the ice for the Nittany Lions with a sweep of Big Ten foe Wisconsin. It took overtime in game one, but David Goodwin hammered one home to send the Nittany Lions home winners 4-3. Game two was all Penn State as they dominated the Badgers 4-1.
The Nittany Lions certainly produced tallying 99 shots between two games and eight goals. But, they had room for improvement when it came to goal scoring. In game two especially, Penn State players missed wide open nets. But, they came away with two wins nonetheless.
It’s hard to complain after a sweep against a Big Ten team but there was certainly some place for the Nittany Lions defense to improve. Quite often, defensemen are getting caught too far up in the offensive zone and leaving an open player for an opposing team rush.
Both Eamon McAdam and Matthew Skoff continue to impress and not much needs to be changed. McAdam leads the Big Ten in save percentage and Skoff comes in at sixth on the list. McAdam is clearly the stronger goalie but there is no doubt Skoff is above average. There’s no question this system is working for Gadowsky. Skoff tallied 22 saves in game one and McAdam 39 in game two.
The Nittany Lions have a few kinks to work out on defense but besides that it has been smooth sailing with only one loss in Big Ten play. Now is the time they need to be on their game though. Next weekend Penn State travels to Ohio State for a two game series and then play host to Michigan with a game at Pegula and then a neutral site game at Madison Square Garden. After that, they travel to Minnesota, then Michigan State, and finally play host to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have had an extremely good start but there are still plenty of challenges ahead.
Special Teams: B+
Penn State did a good job when it came to special teams as well. In game one each team had six penalties and the Lions went 0-4 on the powerplay, allowing a powerplay goal, but also scored a shorthanded goal. In game two Penn State was 2-4 on the powerplay, tallying just the second and third powerplay goals Wisconsin has allowed in Big Ten play. Eric Scheid also scored a shorthanded goal for Penn State’s ninth of the season which leads the country.
Brandon Pelter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.