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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Looking To Get Back The Edge

by on October 10, 2017 3:00 PM

Penn State hockey has always been the underdog. It comes with being the new kid on the block. 

So Penn State has always thrived on playing with something to prove. An extra edge to prove that the Nittany Lions hadn't come into the world as a mistake and the outcome of nothing more than millions of dollars.

"The guys just really wanted to prove that they belonged in the Big Ten," Penn State coach Gadowsky said Monday. "That was pretty intrinsic motivation that we didn't have to teach or talk about. One of our fears, coming in this year, is if that level of intensity -- a chip on your shoulder-- is maybe minimized a little bit. We have to play that way."

But what happens when you start to arrive? What happens to that edge when suddenly Penn State has a first round NCAA Tournament win and a Big Ten Tournament title to its name. Now the playing field is a bit more level, and the feeling of being the underdog is not quite as strong.

What happens when leaders like Ricky DeRosa and David Goodwin, who thrived on that underdog emotion are replaced by younger players. Who fills that role? Who brings the chip back on the shoulder?

"That will be replaced, but I can't tell you who it is," Gadowsky said, "I'm not thrilled with that level that we had yet -- certainly Friday night was not close to what we need. It was better Saturday. But that's something that we have to keep our thumb on."

The news for Penn State fans appears to be the simple fact that the Nittany Lions aren't looking to the past. And no time like the present, a weekend series against Minnesota on the road, to continue to look forward.

But of course, it still means finding that edge. It's one thing to say it, it's another to do it.

"We didn't teach them to play that way in the past, they just had it," Gadowsky said. "They're going to have to find it again."

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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