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Penn State Hockey Faces Mercyhurst For First Time in Program History

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Despite a short travel time between the two schools, the Nittany Lions and Lakers have not played as Division I programs.

penn state hockey
Who: Mercyhurst Lakers
When: Friday 7 p.m.
Where: Erie, Pa.
Television: None
Stream: Live audio at Gopsusports.com
Live Stats: Sidearmstats.com

The Lions will hope to carry the momentum from a split series against a ranked opponent as they travel to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a single-game series against Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. Friday. The matchup will be the Lakers’ first regular season game, two weeks removed from a 6-2 loss against the University of Guelph in an exhibition game.

While the Lions and Lakers are in the same conference in women’s hockey, the men’s teams have yet to face off against one another despite just a three-hour drive separating the two schools. While they haven’t squared off, Gadowsky has familiarized himself with the Lakers.

“They’re going to be a more seasoned team than we’ve seen,” Gadowsky said Monday. “Last weekend, we saw a team that’s pretty seasoned from the back end. Now you’re going to see a team that’s pretty well seasoned at both ends of the rink.”

The Lakers lost just four players to graduation from last season’s roster, but also saw goaltender Adam Carlson sign a professional contract with the Washington Capitals. The goaltending duties are likely to fall to Brandon Wildung, a junior with 44 games of experience over the past two seasons.

The Lakers are led offensively by Derek Barach, who led the team with 32 points as a freshman last season. Their main trigger man is junior Jonathan Charbonneau, who netted 16 goals last season. Having their top players return leads Gadowsky to believe the team will face a challenging task from the Lakers.

“They’re going to play, probably, a very consistent game,” Gadowsky said.

Net Notes From The St. Lawrence Series

When Guy Gadowsky pulled Peyton Jones after allowing three goals on eight shots, he insisted the move wasn't an indictment of the freshman's play. Instead, it was meant to provide a spark to a team he felt started flat against St. Lawrence in game two of the series.

Now that it has happened in just the second game of the season, Gadowsky hopes he won't face a similar scenario in the near future.

“It’s something that we expected to happen at one time,” Gadowsky said Monday. “But now that it’s happened, I hope we don’t see it more.”

Penn State responded well to the change in goal. The Nittany Lions could not keep up with the speed of the Saints and were outshot 8-1 in the first five minutes.

After Chris Funkey relieved Jones, the Lions fired 45 shots on Saints goalie Kyle Hayton while allowing only 16 on Funkey. Save for a pair of empty net goals by Mike Marnell, the Lions wound up just a goal away from forcing overtime.

Gadowsky was encouraged by his team’s play following a dismal first five minutes, but hopes his players will be ready to play before falling into a similar hole once again.

“We certainly responded,” he said following Friday’s game. “But if we have to wait to be down 3-0 and being outshot 8-1 every time for us to respond, then it doesn’t matter.”