By Jessi Pierce
It was a true test of NCAA calibur for Penn State January 3, on the same ice that just one day prior hosted another successful NHL Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers. Taking on the current NCAA III No.8 and 2009 National Champions in Neumann University, the top-ranked ACHA Icers fell to the Knights 6-3. While the outcome I'm sure wasn't exactly what Coach Guy Gadowsky had hoped for, the positives in my mind outway the tally in the loss column. Here's a look at some winning numbers from the contest:
- 5,000- That's the number of fans that turned out to Citizen's Bank Park to watch Penn State and Neumann University. I have to admit, I am incredibly impressed and a bit surprised with that number given the non-DI prescence. It's a number that shows promise for the Icers to make that next jump up where fan bases--especially for future Big Ten teams-- are already largely established.
- 24-22- So the scoreboard at the end of the day may not have favored Penn State, but the shot advantage did. Not only did the Icers keep pace with Neumann, but they weren't afraid to shoot. That confidence is necessary, especially as they look ahead to next year and an even tougher schedule of games.
- 1- Usually not a number that garners much praise, I had to toss this in there to describe Penn State's Taylor Holstrom, who played in his first ever outdoor hockey game. As mentioned by Lions247 Andrew Dzurita
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Holstrom, literally.
“That was the first time I’ve ever played ice hockey outside and I absolutely loved it,” said the California native. “Playing outside was an unbelievable experience, I don’t know if I'll ever be able to get that opportunity again, it is definitely something I’ll remember.”
Essentially this game was more than just the win, loss or draw, but rather a game to prove to the public that Penn State is for real. An opportunity like that is given to few teams--even as we see the number of outdoor games increase in recent years--so to be able to be invited to an event like this on a stage that played host to the much-anticipated Winter Classic says enough in itself. While the game scored a loss, Penn State still netted a win and I can't wait to see this team continue to grow into a real NCAA DI contender in years to come.
And for your viewing pleasure...Some great shots from Penn State