For hockey fans wishing to see the Senior Night ceremony before Penn State’s game against Wisconsin, you may want to get to Pegula Ice Arena early.
The team’s five seniors will be saluted at the end of pregame warm-ups, which end just after 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The game begins at 8 p.m.
Coach Guy Gadowsky said his team used that time plan two years ago and it helped the seniors “decompress” a little before the game. That wasn’t the case last season.
“Last year we made a mistake,” Gadowsky said Monday afternoon at his weekly session with the media. “We did it right before the game. I’m not going to name names, but I do know a couple seniors who said they were skating around with tears in their eyes the first few shifts.”
After the seniors leave for the locker room, the ice will be resurfaced just like any other home game before the teams return for faceoff.
Shaking off the emotions will be imperative, with the No. 11 Nittany Lions chasing an NCAA tournament berth and possibly passing the No. 16 Badgers for second place in the Big Ten — and a first-round bye in the conference tournament that comes with that.
“We want that situation,” Gadowsky said. “We would much rather have a situation where it’s Senior Night, the game had real strong implications both on a national level and within the conference. It’s something that I hope we have to deal with often.”