Hockey Game Grades: Canisius
Penn State defeated the Canisius Golden Griffins twice this weekend, scoring four goals in both games and dominating the visitors in shots on goal. Here are the game grades for the Nittany Lions’ performance.
Guy Gadowski continues to implement a new system that is a completely different style than many other hockey programs around the country. Every night on the ice, whether the Nittany Lions win or lose, Gadowski wants his team to outshoot every opponent they play. This strategy was apparent on Friday night, particularly in the first period when Penn State outshot the visitors 31-5. This is exactly the type of offense and pressure Gadowski hopes to use against higher-powered foes in the Big Ten schedule.
The forwards played a solid series, scoring four goals in both games. Led in game one by captain David Goodwin who tallied two assists. Freshman Denis Smirnov also finished the night with one goal as well as an assist on Vince Pedrie’s second period goal. Game two had a similar theme with Goodwin again assisting on two goals. Penn States forwards in this series dominated the Canisius defenders who were unable to clear the puck from their own end. It would have been nice if they had found the back of the net a few more times as they did against Mercyhurst, however, they did what they needed to do to win the series.
On an extremely positive note, it appeared as if Canisius never found their rhythm offensively the entire series. The Golden Griffins were only able to amount 40 total shots throughout the entire series. This is a testament to Penn State’s ability to control and keep possession of the puck. Kevin Kerr, one of the Nittany Lion’s defensive leaders, scored a goal in the second game as well as assisting on another in the first. The defense needs to continue to keep pressure off of goalie Peyton Jones as the season progresses.
Peyton Jones continues to shine as a freshman goaltender for the Nittany Lions and is making large strides forward as this season starts to heat up. Looking more comfortable in the net every game he appears to have a cool and calm demeanor. The only criticism that could come out of this series is goals he gave up on amounts of shots faced. In game two, Jones gave up two goals on only 19 shots. Hopefully Jones can continue to mature and learn so he can emerge as a consistent and strong presence in the net for the Nittany Lions.
Special Teams: B+
If there was one area of weakness this weekend it was on the power play for Penn State. Friday night, Canisius gifted Penn State with five shorthanded opportunities in the opening period. Penn State turned this into 35 shots and two goals. Canisius only went to the penalty box twice more but Penn State failed to convert. Going 2-7 on the night is something that Guy Gadowski would definitely like to improve on. Saturday night lead to an even worse performance where they finished 1-8 on the power play. As bad as Penn States power play may have been they made up for it with an outstanding penalty kill. The Golden Griffins were unable to score on only three chances through two games. The highlight of this penalty kill came in game two when Andrew Sturtz gave Penn State the lead on a shorthanded goal. Even more exciting the assist on this goal came from none other than Nittany Lions goalie Peyton Jones. If Penn State can put these together and play a complete game of special teams, they will be a force to reckoned with on the ice moving forwards.
Brian McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.