Icers Update: A Trip To The Sooner State

There was no rest for the Icers, as the team found itself flying from Philadelphia to Oklahoma for two important ACHA games on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the Icers found themselves in Edmond, Oklahoma for a game against the Central Oklahoma Bronchos. Following that game, the Icers would travel to Norman to take on the #8 Oklahoma Sooners. Both games would be the first time the Icers would travel to Oklahoma to play these teams (the Icers have played both teams previously, just never at their respective home stadiums). Hoping to avoid some post-Winter Classic let-down and travel fatigue, the Icers were poised for their first ACHA weekend of 2012.

Friday, January 6th, at Central Oklahoma University:

Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT/SO Final
#1 PENN STATE 2 0 0 0 2
#17 Cent. Oklahoma 1 0 1 1 3
PSU Goals: Olczyk (x2)

With Taylor Holstrom back in the line-up, the Icers were hoping to get their scoring started again. Less than 3 minutes into the game, Holstrom's linemate Tommy Olczyk would provide the spark, getting his team-leading 15th goal. The Bronchos would counter a few minutes later to tie it at 1-1. The Icers would regain the lead midway through the period on the powerplay when Olczyk would tip a Brandon Russo shot past the UCO goalie. A scoreless 2nd period meant the Icers would take their 2-1 lead into the 3rd period. The Icers could not put the Bronchos away, and a late turnover on the powerplay gave UCO the chance to tie the game 2-2 with a shorthanded goal. The game would head to overtime, where both teams would get numerous opportunities to get the win. After five minutes of end-to-end action, the two teams would head to a shootout to determine a winner. Neither team could score in the first three rounds, but Kirchhevel's miss in the forth round gave UCO the opportunity to beat PJ Musico and steal one from the Icers, winning 3-2.

Saturday, January 7th, at Oklahoma University:

Team 1st 2nd 3rd Final
#1 PENN STATE 0 1 2 3
#8 Oklahoma
0 0
PSU Goals: Meiselman, Cerutti, Holstrom,

Having lost 3 of their last 4 games, the Icers were hoping to get some positive momentum going. In their way was a tough Oklahoma Sooners team. The first period went sluggishly for both teams, as neither team could really get anything going offensively, leading to a scoreless first frame. Five minutes into the 2nd period, Dan Meiselman would finally break the scoreless tie and give the Icers a 1-0 lead. The action would pick-up throughout the period, with both teams getting solid scoring chances, but the goalies would be up to the task, keeping it a 1-0 lead after 2 periods. Early in the third, Chris Cerutti would do some grit work and pick up his 5th goal of the season, giving the Icers a two-goal lead. A few minutes later, Taylor Holstrom would add a powerplay goal to make it 3-0. The game would get a little testy towards the end, but the Icers would maintain the energy advantage. Madrazo would do his job perfectly, as well, picking up his 2nd shutout of the season, and giving the Icers the 3-0 victory.

Season Record and ACHA Ranking: 15-3-1 (14-2-1 ACHA), ranked #1 in the ACHA

News, Notes, Observations: We'll consider the Friday night game an aberration - one of those games where the Icers out-played their opponent for most of the game, but could never pull away and ultimately lost. I'm willing to blame that one on the team being still a bit tired after playing a physical game on Wednesday in Philadelphia, flying to Oklahoma (via Dallas) that night, and then playing a decent team Friday night. The dragging seemed to continue into the Saturday game, but then the Icers started to pick up energy as the game went along.

Currently, getting healthy and getting consistent will be the keys for this spring semester. Taylor Holstrom returned to the line-up after missing a month and a half of the fall semester, while Bryce Johnson is expected to return to skating this week. Those two have been huge pieces of the offense this season, and getting them back will help return some balance to the lines. The defense now needs to find the consistency. All of the defensemen have had streaks of great play and poor play. Most recently, Steve Edgeworth has started to pick up his play after basically falling out of the lineup towards the end of last semester. The offense will find ways to score, so it will be up to the defense to make sure they don't give away any games.

The Icers experienced their first taste of transfers, as goalie Tim Carr has transferred to Western New England College as of the Spring semester. Carr has spent most of the season third on the depth chart, only playing in three games as an Icer. We wish Carr all the best at WNEC. As for filling the hole, the Icers will probably try to see if Dan Ivanir is ready and willing to be the 3rd goalie for the team. He has experience playing with the Icers, and he is not playing for the Ice Lions (which is both good and bad). The option of taking one of the goalies from the Ice Lions doesn't seem to be realistic either. The team seems intent on keeping everyone together, since they have been very successful thus far. And after the top two goalies, I struggle to trust the Ice Lions' 3rd and 4th string goalies at the ACHA D1 level. Time will tell what Coach Guy has in mind.

After five straight road games, the Icers return to the Greenberg in the hopes of starting up a winning streak. Next weekend, the rival Rhode Island Rams come to Penn State for a set of games. The Icers stay at home the following weekend for a set against West Virginia, before closing January with their final road trip of the regular season at Ohio U.

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