Penn State Series Grades vs. Canisius
Penn State split a weekend showdown series with the Canisius Golden Griffins. A 4-1 loss against Canisius on Friday led to a 5-2 victory for the Nittany Lions the following day to finish out the series.
Let’s get to grading game-time aspects that made this series a learning experience for the blue and white.
Protecting the Posts: B
Friday’s game started off slow with a scoreless 20 minutes, but forward J.D. Pogue gave Canisius the 1-0 edge in the second period.
Penn State quickly responded with freshman defenseman Simon Mack blocking a puck and setting up forward Kevin Wall for a goal tying it at one apiece. However, the Golden Griffins rallied with three goals in the third period to win the game.
Senior goalie Oskar Autio’s 27 saves on the day was not enough to fend off Canisius, but the defending burden did not fall solely to him. Penn State’s defense did not have the reaction time to cover the entire ice and see the open shot.
Penn State’s goal protection improved throughout Saturday’s game and quickly took charge in the first period, even without fifth-year senior defenseman Clayton Philips to assist in the fight.
A surprising decision from head coach Guy Gadowsky deemed successful for the Nittany Lions. Sophomore goalie Liam Souliere started in the post for his first start of the year. He accumulated 36 saves and only allowed the Golden Griffins to score two points.
Shot Aggression: B+
Even with 40 shots on goal, Penn State only found the net once on Friday. In a postgame press conference, Gadowsky attributed the lack of scoring to a loss of identity as a team.
“We wanted to be cute, and they took advantage of us being cute,” Gadowsky said.
Gadowsky also touched upon how the blue and white lacked in voracity when it came to second and third chances at the net in Friday’s matchup.
Penn State’s offensive core took charge during the rematch even with Canisius leading in shot attempts. A major part of the plus sign after the B grade derives from the offense's shot quality.
Instead of taking shots impulsively just to get the puck to the net, the Nittany Lions focused in and racked up points with their notorious speed and efficiency.
Penalty Kills: A+
The blue and white’s penalty-kill efficiency improved as the series progressed. While going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill on Friday was a bright spot for the Nittany Lions, Saturday’s game showcased Penn State’s defense on the prowl.
Penn State shut down Canisius by going 6-for-6 on penalty kills. With home ice advantage, penalty kills can boost confidence and keep the defense rolling, which is what happened for Penn State.
Holding the Golden Griffins to two late-game goals garnered an A+ for establishing the defense and playing to the identity of the team as a whole.
Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email email@example.com.