Series Grades: Penn State vs. Robert Morris
The Nittany Lions completed the sweep over Robert Morris this weekend as they continue to play at a high level. Penn State has now won seven of its last eight games.
Penn State dominated Robert Morris this weekend in a home-and-home series with their offense being the main catalyst. The Nittany Lions exploded for 12 goals this weekend over the Colonials. The return of sophomore forward Denis Smirnov from injury has been a huge boost the Nittany Lion attack. Smirnov totaled three goals and two assists en route to being the most effective Nittany Lion this weekend. Penn State managed to put 86 shots on the Colonials goaltending that turned out to be an impressive performance. Penn State took advantage of an inferior opponent to continue its great stretch of games. Sophomore forward Nate Sucese and junior forward Andrew Sturtz also played pivotal roles in the sweep of Robert Morris. Sucese totaled three goals and one assist while Sturtz added four assists. The power play for the Nittany Lions was excellent again this weekend. Led by Smirnov, Penn State scored four goals on their 12 power play opportunities.
The Nittany Lions allowed six goals this weekend to the Colonials in route to a sweep. Penn State did not play their best defensively against Robert Morris, but it was good enough to beat an inferior team. Letting up 33.5 shots per game against Robert Morris isn’t a winning formula, but the offense did their job to offset some miscues by the Penn State defense. Sophomore James Gobetz was the star of the Penn State defense this weekend as he was the number one star for Friday’s game. Gobetz had one goal and two assists to go along with a plus/minus of +3. Senior Trevor Hamilton led the team with six blocks this weekend. Penn State was once again strong on the penalty kill as they squandered seven of the eight opportunities Robert Morris had this weekend.
Sophomore goalie Peyton Jones got the start in both games for Penn State this weekend and led the Nittany Lions to a sweep. The headline for Jones, however, is after Saturday’s win over the Colonials, he became the all-time program leader for goaltender wins. To accomplish this as a sophomore is an incredible achievement and shows how far this Penn State program has come over the past several seasons. While Jones’ numbers weren’t the greatest this weekend he was still able to make several key saves for Penn State when he was needed most.
Coach Guy Gadowsky’s team is clicking on all cylinders at this point in their season. With wins in seven of their last eight games, with points in all eight, the Nittany Lions have gone from an average team to back contending for the Big Ten championship. Gadowsky has shuffled lineups several times this to make up for injuries, but with an almost completely healthy lineup, we are finally seeing what this Penn State team can do. Now the Nittany Lions will get a long stretch off for the holiday season and hope to continue this momentum into 2018.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org.