Four games into the season seems a little early to panic, and members of Penn State men’s hockey team might not have reached that point, but they’re certainly frustrated.
They’ve prepared all week for a game against Robert Morris while trying to shake the memory of lackluster 4-0 home loss to Alaska-Fairbanks seven days ago. It came after Penn State blasted the same team, 7-0, the previous night.
“Sometimes a loss is a great learning tool for you, to show where your weaknesses are and where you can improve,” senior defenseman Kris Myllari said.
Penn State tweaked its lines and pairings a bit last week, and immediate results did not follow. Still, coaches and players believe it’s not a matchups and schemes problem.
It’s something more elusive and potentially harder to solve — a mentality.
“We expected to really be working on the Xs and Os aspect of the game, but the third period and really the whole game forced us in another direction,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “There’s certain aspects of the effort and commitment level we have to change first.
“We’d like to hope that we get back on track but right now we’ve veered well left. What really matters is their mentality Friday night, and then after that. But let’s worry about Friday night first.”
So, the fifth game of the team’s 34-game regular season could be a benchmark. It’s also the team’s final game before Big Ten Conference play begins. Next weekend the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions play host to No. 6 Wisconsin for a two-game series.
One game might not be enough to readjust, but everyone promises they’re not looking ahead. Especially after last weekend.
“I think we had our best lesson on Friday that every game matters,” Myllari said.
No. 12 Penn State (3-1) vs. Robert Morris (3-3)
Single Game: 7 p.m. Friday
Radio/TV: Game coverage on 103.1 FM, GoPSUsports.com
Notable: Penn State leads the series, 6-4-0. … This single game will be balanced by another single game Jan. 11, 2020, in Pittsburgh. … Forward Justin Addamo, a freshman from France, leads RMU with six points (one goal, five assists). … The Colonials have converted 4 of 27 power-play opportunities (.148) this season.