Penn State Men’s Hockey Series Grades: Wisconsin

Story posted January 23, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Joshua Bartosik

In arguably the best overall series played by Guy Gadowsky’s squad, Penn State swept Wisconsin in dominating fashion to improve to 5-11-0 in conference play. Here are the grades for the series that included the first “Wear White” game in two years.

Offense: A+

One name: Ryan. Kirwan.

The freshman was unstoppable in this series against Wisconsin, finding the back of the net early in Game one with a power-play goal and adding three more goals before the series ended. Kirwan now sits third on the team in goals with nine.

Connor MacEachern made his presence known after missing the last series against No. 3 Michigan with an injury. The junior forward had a goal and assist to bring his point total to 21.

16 different players found themselves on the scoresheet in a series that saw the Nittany Lions outshoot the Badgers 98-63 and outscore them 11-3, including four helpers from Kevin Wall and a three-point night for Ben Schoen in Saturday’s contest.

Defense: A-

Don’t let the scoring downpour from Penn State distract you from how dominant the defense was for the Nittany Lions all series long.

The Penn State blue line shut down nearly every odd-man rush and held Wisconsin scoreless until the 5:13 mark of the third period in Game one despite giving up 41 shots.

It was more of the same story in Game Two, with Penn State holding Wisconsin to just two shots in the first period. Things got dicey in the third period with two goals against in under three minutes, but it was all Penn State after that.

Goaltending: A

Liam Souliere was looking for his first career Big Ten win and he delivered with a career-best 40 save performance in Penn State’s victory Friday night.

Oskar Autio took the reins for game two and secured a 20-save win, making critical saves throughout the first 45 minutes before the Nittany Lions ran away with it.

Liam Souliere moves to 5-2-0 on the season and Oskar Autio now has even wins and losses with 10 each.

Special Teams/Coaching: A+

Special teams were one of the main factors in Penn State’s loss in their series last week against No. 3 Michigan. This weekend, they were one of the main factors in their sweep.

Ryan Kirwan opened the scoring on Friday with a power-play marker that was followed by two power-play goals on Saturday from Ben Schoen and Connor MacEachern.

Despite taking four penalties in Friday’s matchup, the Nittany Lions’ penalty kill stood strong, with the only goal coming off the stick of Corson Ceulemans. Saturday’s “Wear White” showdown featured a much more disciplined Penn State squad, one that took a single penalty in a game full of emotion and chippiness.

After giving up two quick goals in the third period in Saturday’s matchup to make the score 3-2, Guy Gadowsky decided to use his timeout to try and regroup his squad. Penn State came out of the timeout putting on the pressure, resulting in two goals in 43 seconds to put the game out of reach for the Badgers.

The learning curve for this young team continues to trend upwards every game, as they look to stay hot against a tough No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes squad before traveling to South Bend for a revenge series against No. 13 Notre Dame.

Joshua Bartosik is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email joshbartosik13@gmail.com.