Series Grades: Penn State vs. Canisius
It was a job well done for the Penn State Nittany Lions this weekend, getting a series sweep over the Canisius Golden Griffins.
After splitting with the Griffs last season, the blue and white handled business winning game one 5-2 and game two 7-5.
But how did each position group fare during the exciting back and forth tilts of Penn State’s opening weekend? Let’s get into the series grades.
Offense? Forwards? What does it matter, everyone and anyone got on the score sheet this weekend for the Nittany Lions.
12 total goals from eight different goal scorers, including three from the power play. Penn State showed off its forward depth this weekend, especially from their shiny new transfers.
North Dakota transfer Ashton Calder scored a goal in both games of the series while RPI transfer Ture Linden showed he could be the team’s number one center by having two multi-point outings.
The Nittany Lions even had timely scoring, as in game two Tyler Gratton scored immediately after his squad finished killing off a five minute major to change the momentum.
Simply put, it was a joy to watch Penn State’s offense in action this weekend.
You know who else was able to score a lot? Canisius. Like last season, the Golden Griffins made life tough on the Nittany Lions by hanging in games.
The Penn State defense core struggled with penalties and killing them off all series long. Four of the Griffs’ seven goals in the series came with the man advantage.
While you cannot completely fault the defense for penalties, they did give up some big chances at even strength.
This is not completely unexpected. In game two, the Nittany Lions rolled out three freshman defensemen in the top six and an additional first-year d-man as the extra skater.
All in all, it will take time for this group to mesh and improve.
This series had two completely different games in terms of goaltending.
In game one, Liam Souliere made 34 saves on 36 shots including some show-stoppers when the young defense lapsed.
The only times the Griffs could beat Souliere were on the man advantage as he quelled the Canisius attack for the rest of the contest.
However, in game two Souliere was a game-time-decision and we were eventually informed freshman Noah Grannan that he would be making his first career start.
Grannan played fine for his first ever collegiate start. Nothing spectacular, but a majority of the goals he did give up were from high danger areas due to some Nittany Lion miscues.
A bit of a roller coaster ride in goal this weekend for Penn State, but if Souliere is healthy, the Nittany Lions should be firm between the pipes this season.
It was an eventful weekend with some good and bad for Guy Gadowsky and his staff with the first series of the year. Despite the bumps, Penn State was able to come away with the sweep and a 2-0 record to start the year.
The penalty kill was a bit rough at times, going just 50% on the weekend, but the coaching staff is dealing with some very inexperienced defenseman and in game two’s case, an inexperienced goaltender as well.
The Nittany Lion power play on the other hand looked great, going 50% during the series. The first man advantage opportunity of game two stood out as Penn State made quick work and was able to get out in front early.
Overall, there is not much to complain or nit-pick about on the coaching staff after a series sweep over a team Penn State split with last season.
Maclain Young is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.