Penn State Hockey

Penn State hockey: Nittany Lions start year with exhibition win over Windsor

CDT photo

In unison, fans in the front row of the student section banged on the glass along the boards and chanted “Hockey Valley!”

Another season has arrived at Pegula Ice Arena.

With only one official practice in the books, Penn State showed off what the 2015-16 team will look like with a 5-2 victory over Windsor on Sunday afternoon.

David Glen netted two goals and one assist and David Goodwin had one of each for the Nittany Lions, who spotted the Lancers two early goals before roaring back.

Curtis Loik started the scoring and Tommy Olczyk added an empty-net goal in the exhibition game.

The season gets under way for real next Saturday when the Nittany Lions head to Buffalo to meet Canisius.

Dylan Denomme scored a shorthanded goal in the first period and Kenny Bradford added the other tally for Windsor.

After a sluggish start, the Nittany Lions found their legs a little more in the second.

“Any first college hockey game of the season, it’s a bunch of slap-puck for the first period or so,” said Goodwin, who tied the game in the final seconds of the second period by knocking in a rebound of a shot from the point by freshman Vince Pedrie.

The top line, at least for Saturday, was the combination of Goodwin, Glen and freshman Alec Marsh, and it worked pretty well.

“We’ve been practicing all week,” said Glen, who has been leading informal practices without coaches since the semester began. “For the first game we felt pretty good. We got a lot of chances, we worked the puck down low. I think it’s something that will come as we get more and more comfortable and have more time to work on it together.”

The challenge was finding new linemates for Goodwin, the Big Ten’s top returning scorer, with the departures of Taylor Holstrom and Casey Bailey from last year. The change meant breaking up the line of Glen, Loik and Kenny Brooks, who have essentially been together the last three seasons.

Freshman Chase Berger joined Loik and Brooks on Saturday, and coach Guy Gadowsky sees similarities in the way Berger and Glen play to make that combination work, and he thought Glen and Goodwin would complement each other.

“I thought David Glen would be the guy,” Gadowsky said. “He showed he can generate points, he can generate chances, he can get people the puck and I think that’s what David (Goodwin) needs.”

The first game had its ups and downs.

The Nittany Lions gave up a few odd-man rushes, including a 3-on-1 break in the second period, although it did not lead to a score. Two Lions also missed a wide open net on rebounds.

Gadowsky thought the offense, once it got set up over the blue line, was effective, as shown by a 57-23 shot disparity, but the team had some occasional troubles getting there.

“I felt good about it,” Gadowsky said. “We started a little slow but we picked it up. I liked our chances that we generated from our offensive zone pressure, which wasn’t exactly how we did it last year.”

Gadowsky wants more involvement by defensemen in the offense this season, and he got it with Pedrie, who had a game-high seven shots to go with two assists, and with fellow freshman Kevin Kerr.

In net, Matthew Skoff started and allowed both Windsor goals while making nine saves. Eamon McAdam took over almost midway through the second and didn’t see the puck in his end much while making 12 stops.

The highlight play was provided by Loik, who took the puck near Penn State’s blue line, put on a skating display up the ice through most of the Lancer defense and beat goalie Blake Richard top-shelf to start the team’s scoring.

Notes: Penn State was 0 for 6 on the power play, and didn’t look particularly effective. Windsor was 0 for 4 and didn’t have a shot on goal on its first two chances. … Gadowsky said junior forward Zach Saar sustained “a lower body injury” in practice about a week or so ago and will miss the next four weeks. … Six freshmen played Sunday, with Matt Mendelson and Andrew Sturtz also seeing time along with Marsh, Berger, Kerr and Pedrie. … Windsor goalie Michael Doan gave up four goals Sunday. He surrendered three while playing one period for Northern Michigan in a 5-5 tie Penn State last season.