Hockey Preview: Canisius

Audio/Story posted October 27, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Sports Staff

PODCAST:

Eric Ohlson and George Stockburger bring you all you need to know about this weekend's series between No. 19 Penn State and Canisius. 

 

No. 19 Penn State Men’s Hockey is returning to the valley this weekend to take on the Canisius College Golden Griffins. The series will be held in Pegula Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday night. The puck will drop at 7PM both nights.

This series also marks the beginning of a 10-game stretch at home for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State is coming off a huge victory over No. 3 Notre Dame. The series boosted the Lions into the rankings, which is a huge step for the young program and team. 

“To take off a team like that of that stature, they were very hard to play against and just kept coming,” said sophomore Andrew Sturtz, Penn State’s leading goal scorer. “It was good for us to see that we could play against a team like that.”

The Nittany Lions went into overtime in both matchups, revealing a lot about the fortitude of the young group.

“We seem very calm. We aren't frantic at all,” Head Coach Guy Gadowsky told GoPSUSports.com “With a team as young we are, I thought that we would show some of that, a little bit of immaturity and being frantic, but we didn’t see any of that in two games that went into overtime.”

The player receiving a bulk of the praise is freshman goalie Peyton Jones. He had a career high 30 saves against one of the most effective offenses in the nation.

“He didn’t let the first game get to him,” said Sturtz, “and he definitely didn’t let that second game get to him.”

Penn State will be heavily favored over Canisius. The Griffins have only won two of their five games this season. Last year, Penn State beat Canisius with ease scoring six goals to their one. The Griffins also graduated their top scorers last year in Ralph Cuddemi and Shane Conacher, making them rely on new talent to step up.

Felix Chamberland has been the best player for the Golden Griffins this season. The sophomore has three goals this season and was named Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week last week. However, the Griffins’ offense has been limited this year, only scoring 11 points so far.

The Lions faced an opponent of a similar skill set earlier this season against Mercyhurst, a game in which Penn State won 7-0.

What to look for:

Denis Smirnov has been like a magician on the ice. His stick skills allow scoring opportunities such as the one he set up against Notre Dame to beat the Fighting Irish.

Sturtz will look to maintain his title as the leading scorer in the Big Ten. He currently has 4 goals, two of which lifted the Lions to victories. 

Shots on goal shouldn’t be an issue for Penn State. They are averaging 38.6 shots a game.

Penalty kills have been the highlight of the Lions’ defense. They prevented goals on 29 of the 31 power plays. A big part of that has been the composed play of Jones as well as the defense limiting mental errors that expose open lanes for the offense.

Since Penn State is so young, and coming of one of the biggest wins in program history, it is important for the team to not go into a lull this series. If the team can maintain the poise and composure that they have shown thus far in the season, the Canisius series should add a couple of tallies to the win column.

 

Paddy Cotter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email fpc5043@psu.edu.