It’s a strange situation to be in, and the Penn State men’s hockey team is trying to find the right balance.
Team members were greeted Monday morning with dueling columns in the Daily Collegian on whether it was or was not time to panic about the team, and fans are posting comments online saying it was time to jump ship or get rid of coach Guy Gadowsky.
It’s an odd situation for a team that was not expecting to be there when the season began. After enjoying a 13-game unbeaten streak earlier in the season, the Nittany Lions are now on a five-game winless streak, falling from No. 1 to No. 9 or 10 in the two major college hockey polls, and No. 11 in the Pairwise rankings, a statistical indicator for the NCAA tournament.
The latest bumps in the road were 5-1 and 5-2 losses to now No. 5 Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. Much like in its series hosting Ohio State two weeks earlier, the team strayed from its usual style.
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“Friday night we were not good, we were not good at all,” Gadowsky said. “We actually played a really good first period but found ourselves down one, and started trying to hit the home run again. Some of us, anyway.”
The Nittany Lions, who visit No. 17 Wisconsin this weekend, were unable to dictate the tempo for most of the weekend against the Golden Gophers, and also saw poor play from their special teams units. They have allowed at least five goals in the last four games.
“The message is, we have to continue to do what we do to get better,” Gadowsky said. “I don’t think we’re going to concentrate — there’s not going to be a lot of mention of where we’re at (in the rankings) and what it means. We’re concentrating on fixing our mistakes.”