McAdam feeling good
On Friday, November 15, 2013, Eamon McAdam was in net for Penn State when they took on UMass Lowell at Pegula Ice Arena. Despite 41 saves, McAdam was unable to get the win, as the Nittany Lions fell to the River Hawks, 3-2.
One year later, to the exact day, McAdam was between the pipes yet again against UMass Lowell. This time the result was more favorable, as the sophomore led Penn State (6-2-2) to a 4-1 defeat of the River Hawks for his first win at the collegiate level.
"I thought about it, and it was a little shot at redemption," McAdam said. "Coming in with a team that was a lot further ahead than we were at this point last year, it was kind of nice to prove a point that we have improved from last year, and we can take on top teams."
McAdam didn’t need to rack up the saves this time around, as 24 was all he would need to hold the then No. 4 ranked team to only a single goal.
The 2013 New York Islanders third round pick finally saw his first action of the season on Friday night, entering in relief of starter Matthew Skoff when the Lions were trailing 4-1. McAdam stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced that night, but the Lions still fell, 5-3.
It was the goalie’s first action in over nine months.
Coach Guy Gadowsky knew that it was time to get McAdam back out there.
"He certainly deserves that opportunity given the work he’s put in," Gadowsky said.
The coach noted that McAdam has been putting in work on the ice, as well as being a really positive presence off the ice, both as a teammate and a locker room presence.
Gadowsky and McAdam both seemed unsure of the plan in net going forward, but according to the coach, it’s all about proving themselves against strong competition.
"We wanted to prove that we could have a good performance, whether it yielded a win or not," the fourth-year coach said. "We did that, and the byproduct was a win."
Bailey, Holstrom, and Goodwin too
One of the biggest keys to the Nittany Lions hot start has been the play of the line of forwards Casey Bailey, Taylor Holstrom, and David Goodwin.
The Big Ten conference honored two of the trio this week, as Casey Bailey (three goals, four points) and Taylor Holstrom (four assist, five points) were honored as the conferences first and third stars, respectively.
Bailey puts a lot of the honor onto the play of his line mates.
"Without those two guys, I wouldn’t have gotten that award," the Alaska native said. "I think as a team if we hadn’t gotten that big win, I wouldn’t have gotten it either."
The forward noted chemistry within the line, and said that the three of them were all "having a lot of fun playing together."
He noted that they were just succeeding a lot in doing the "small things" on the ice, and was hopeful that they would keep rolling along with the consistent play.
Gadowsky specifically wanted to point out that while Bailey and Holstrom were the ones awarded this week that Goodwin was on a playing level right alongside them.
"A big part of what they’re doing is the synergy that all three of them have," the coach said.
He was happy with the work that different members of each line put in in different areas. He noted that Holstrom, currently leading the nation in points, came into the season committed to improving his play away from the puck, while Bailey has made "greater strides in his physical strength and conditioning than he ever had before."
He also said that a reason for the offensive explosion was due to moving pucks a lot better from the back, giving a lot of that credit to freshman defenseman Erik Autio. The coach has praised Autio’s job as "quarterback" from the blue line a few times already this season.
All aboard to Ann Arbor
As they head out to Ann Arbor this weekend for a pair of games to open up Big Ten conference play for the season, the Nittany Lions will be hoping to keep their momentum from their hot early season start going.
The biggest question, obviously, is who will see time in goal after McAdam’s scorching hot season debut.
Skoff’s start has been nothing to scoff at either, though. (I’m sorry for that line. I had no choice.) (Ed. Note- He did have a choice, and he chose to do it. -NP)
Skoff has also received a Big Ten honor earlier in this season, and owns a sparkling 2.32 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.
Gadowsky was coy in his strategy maintaining the two going forward.
"It ‘enhances’ our goaltender situation, not ‘complicates’ it," the coach said. "It’s a good problem to have, when you have two goaltenders who are playing very well."
McAdam is just looking to stick to the status quo, in terms of his preparation.
"It doesn’t change anything, honestly," the sophomore netminder said. "I don’t really know as of now who’s going to play, but I think I can speak for Skoff as well in saying that we’re going to stick to the same game plan, work as hard as we can in practice, and just kind of play it by ear and see how things go on Friday."