James Franklin is constantly preaching about Penn State’s next opponent on the gridiron, refusing to talk about any game other than the next one on the schedule.
At Tuesday’s media availability, Franklin’s men’s hockey counterpart, Guy Gadowsky, was unwilling to even do that.
The coach said that he had not even begun to think about the season’s opening series with UConn this weekend, despite being a mere three days away from the puck dropping on the Nittany Lions’ second season in Pegula Ice Arena.
Gadowsky maintained throughout his press conference an idea of "big picture" thinking, constantly maintaining that he’s working on getting the team’s infrastructure where it needs to be before he begins to get into specific game plans.
Goalie Matthew Skoff was thinking otherwise, however.
"Absolutely," the junior goalie said emphatically, when asked about whether he was thinking about the upcoming game against UConn. "I think as a hockey player, you have to go with whichever’s next. Whatever game is next is the most important. And now, October 10th is the start of our season, and we’re not looking past that."
The fourth-year coach did find time, however, to acknowledge that the team’s "honeymoon period" might finally be over.
"We feel like we are going to demand more of what we control," he said. "In terms of ‘we definitely feel accountability to perform, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end result is going to be wins against who we have to play in the Big Ten"
Gadowsky’s third year with the Lions as a Division I program will commence on Friday, and the coach will have a lot on his plate yet again.
LINE ‘EM UP
Gadowsky said that he was still uncertain of the lines that would play together in Friday’s season opener—with one exception: he told the media that the line of Curtis Loik, David Glen, and Kenny Brooks would again be skating together in the season opener, a line that he said had "synergy." Specifically, Gadowsky spoke about Loik.
"He grew a lot as a hockey player last year," the coach said, mentioning that the forward is still in the process of learning to adapt from someone with a playmaking mentality to someone with a shooting mentality. Gadowsky believes that Loik has one of the best shots on the team, and wants to encourage him to use it more often.
Gadowsky mentioned last week that all three of his incoming freshmen would have a chance to make an impact right away, but one in particular is already making the best of that chance. Scott Conway, of Basingstoke, England, was already seeing time on the Nittany Lions’ power-play unit during Tuesday’s open practice. Gadowsky had previously noted that Conway would be able to add some "scoring touch" to the team, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that anyone was able to see that on display.
The 6-foot, 190-pound forward was his team’s leading scorer a year ago for the USHL champion Indiana Ice, also coming out with a +40 goal differential for the season. Conway is already making an impact on his teammates, as well.
"That kid has some serious skill," Skoff said, after being asked who had been impressive to him in practice thus far. "[He] can flat out play."
The freshman is hopeful that his scoring prowess will carry over as he takes his skills to the college game.
"There’s no holding back," he said. "There’s no limit to my game, and our team’s game right now."