Penn State Hockey Still Riding High, But Flaws Becoming More Apparent
It has been a special start to the season for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
The program knocked off a No. 1 ranked opponent for the first time in its history, then did it again in a series opener against Minnesota.
However, the Nittany Lions were unable to pick up sweeps in either of those series. Despite the special start to the season, Penn State has a staggering problem on special teams.
The Blue and White’s power play is a mere 11.76% so far this season, good for 50th in the nation. Even more concerning is the abysmal 1/21 the Nittany Lion power play has gone over the last six games.
In Penn State’s second game against Minnesota, its five aside scoring was not good enough. After Christian Sarlo’s opening goal, the Penn State power play went 0/3 and could not put together anything offensively.
The Penn State offense which has been so dynamic this season has suddenly stalled. Is it a sign of things to come or just a matter of running into some of the best teams in the country?
The Nittany Lions have been playing and winning against some of the top competition in the nation, but their lack of power play success cannot be sustained if they wish to be a contender in the Big Ten.
Head coach Guy Gadowsky has plenty of prolific scorers and puck moving defenseman to choose from on the man advantage, so what gives?
Perhaps the newcomer transfers and freshman defensemen are still trying to integrate on the power play or the puck movement is just a bit slow. One thing that certainly seems to be lacking is the confidence in the group.
In almost every facet on the ice, the Nittany Lions look full of life and certainty. In goal, Liam Souliere looks near untouchable and at five-on-five Penn State has been able to roll four strong scoring lines.
Gadowsky and his staff will need to put together a power play unit that is sure of themselves and has a high level of chemistry.
The bottom line - nothing is going right for the Penn State power play while almost every other part of the team is connecting on all cylinders.
Nothing’s getting easier for the Nittany Lions, either. The Big Ten is looking deeper than ever and conference play has just begun.
Penn State’s next series should be telling as the Nittany Lions prepare to face off against the Michigan State Spartans.
Spartan goaltender Dylan St. Cyr has been outstanding with a 1.998 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.
It’s likely that the Nittany Lions will have to score on special teams to beat the star Spartan goaltender.
This season has the potential to be special for the Nittany Lions, they just need a boost on special teams.
Maclain Young is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.