No. 9 Penn State is set to return to Pegula Ice Arena this weekend for a two-game series against No. 5 Notre Dame.
On Saturday night, it will also be the Nittany Lion’s annual teddy bear toss.
Coach Guy Gadowsky addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of the top-10 matchup.
Good to be home
Penn State will return to Pegula Ice Arena this weekend after a tough last two weekends on the road.
“I’d like to think that we could play as well on the road, however we feel great here. It is the best atmosphere in college hockey and we love playing here because of this matchup its really nice to be back home at Pegula,” Gadowsky said.
The Nittany Lions went 1-2-1 in their short four game road stretch and will be eager to return to Pegula in order to pick up some crucial Big Ten points this weekend.
“It’s really difficult to win on the road in this league and so right now being a little comfortable at home might be good for us,” Gadowsky said.
Penn State is currently tied for last in the Big Ten with eight points. Ohio State sits atop the standings with 16 points.
The line of lines
Penn State’s top line did it again this past weekend.
The Limoges, Barratt and Folkes combined for 13 points this weekend once again proving they are one of the top pairings in the nation. The rest of the team accounted for only 11 points.
Limoges and Barratt are currently tied for the most points in the country with 25. Barratt leads the nation in goals with 12.
“A friendly competition is good,” Alex Limoges said. “We both want to see each other do well and see ourselves do good too.”
The line which was put together accidently at the end of last season has absolutely exploded this year and Gadowsky has a very simple explanation for why.
“They are all very, very competitive guys and I think that the real big, big part of their success is how much they love playing the game and how much they love playing together too,” Gadowsky said. :They just have a blast. They have a blast at practice, they have a blast at games. They really, really have fun playing hockey and I think that’s a big part of it.”
A late collapse
Penn State carried a 5-4 lead over Wisconsin into the third period last Saturday, but the Badgers exploded for four goals in the final frame to win 8-5.
Penn State has had troubles this season in the third period and holding leads in the final frame.
“I think its management of the game. I think it’s managing momentum. It’s managing our shifts. It’s managing our energy,” Gadowsky said. “It’s not because we are lazy or playing individually if anything it’s playing harder and being caught out too long.
“It’s as much my responsibility as any of the players and together we are going to try to change that.”
The Big Ten is a very hard conference to win games in and anytime there is a chance to win a road game, the Nittany Lions need to do it and so far, this season Penn State has not done this.
If the Nittany Lions want to return to the top of the Big Ten, this is an issue that needs to be solved.
Wearing a different blue and white
On Monday, Penn State freshman, Aarne Talvitie was named to Finland’s preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships which will take place from December 26 to January 5.
“It means a lot,” Aarne Talvitie said. “I’ve been a part of the junior national team for a while now so to be named to possibly play in the last tournament that goes with it. It’s huge.”
Talvitie will be wearing his home nation of Finland’s sweater once again and to him every time he gets to represent his nation it means the world to him.
“When you get to represent your country and hockey is a big thing in Finland when it comes to national team tournaments,” Talvitie said. “It’s a huge thing and there is a lot of players that want to get in but only a small part gets in so it’s a huge thing.”
And according to Gadowsky, the honor is fitting for a guy with the character of Talvitie.
“What an accolade and an unbelievable experience to be a part of that,” Gadowsky said. “We are really, really happy for Aarne and it’s really well deserved both as a player and a guy.
“Finland knows what they are doing.”