Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Set For Key Series Against Wisconsin This Weekend
It's impossible to ignore, the looming postseason and a chance to take a program to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.
So yea, Guy Gadowksy knows where Penn State hockey stands just five games from the end of the regular season. He knows all too well that the Nittany Lions are just inside the bubble, he knows all too well that a loss or two this weekend against Wisconsin might put an end to the whole thing.
He isn't going to talk about it though.
“We do (think about it), but we try not to,” Gadowksy said earlier this week about the playoff picture. “To be honest with you, the coaches do look at it. But we don’t introduce that to the team. I’m sure they do, but we don’t talk about it. It doesn’t really matter if we have to win all four, or if we get one high rank. We still have to play the best we can every single game."
And that's the truth of the matter, Penn State can hardly afford a loss this weekend against a struggling Wisconsin squad. A point no better underscored than by Eamon McAdam preparing to start two straight nights in a series, something no Penn State goalie has done this year. All the chips are on the table and there's no hiding now. A sweep might punch the ticket, anything less will put pressure on the Nittany Lions to somehow manage points at Michigan and possibly a win or two in the Big Ten tournament.
Not to be overlooked though, the sheer impressive nature of this entire conversation. Penn State will graduate a group of seniors this year who were the first players to commit to the Division I program before Pegula Ice Arena was even built. And yet somehow in the short span of their collegiate careers, Penn State hockey will have gone from having no building to having a real shot at the NCAA Tournament. A field of just 16 teams and a field with many of the nation's best populating it.
And you can count these Nittany Lions among the nation's best.
But there is work left to be done.
“I really think (all the seniors) have been doing a great job all year,” said Gadowsky. “They’ve really done a great job of keeping everyone even-keel and we always get (these) questions, they always keep it in the present. So we’re not doing anything different. We’re going to rely on them the same way we have all year.”
So Penn State will take the ice on Friday and Saturday night, each game set for an 8 PM puck drop and each game a bit more important than the last.