Series Grades: Mercyhurst

Story posted November 4, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Penn State split its series with Mercyhurst for the fifth consecutive time this season. Here are the series grades for the Nittany Lions this weekend.

Goaltending: C

The goaltending this weekend was interesting as Peyton Jones had a forgetful first period on Friday, giving up three goals on only five shots. He got pulled for Chris Funkey, who played slightly better than his counterpart, saving 20 shots and giving up four goals.

Jones regained the starting position on Saturday, only to give up five goals in a thrilling win. He made 36 saves on a night where defense was at a premium. The amount of goals Jones lets in is not always his fault, as his defense sometimes puts him in bad situations, but the fact he needed to get pulled makes it hard for the grade to improve.

Defense: D

A common theme over the course of the season, the Nittany Lion defense struggled over the weekend. The absence of Kevin Kerr was felt in the series opener as Penn State gave up three quick goals in the first period and two apiece in the second and third periods to give up seven on the night.

The communication between the defenders was off as Mercyhurst players were able to get into the slot and release good shots on goal. The second game of the series was similar to the first one, but only five goals were allowed by the opponent. The same defensive issues occurred in the game as the Lakers were able to get into their positions in front of the net with little resistance from Penn State.

The grade may seem a little harsh, but when a team that gives up 12 goals in a weekend cannot get better than a D.

Offense: A

The offense has been the driving force for the Nittany Lions this season and it drove them to success during the series. The opening game only saw Penn State score four goals, but the team’s constant peppering of Brandon Wildung made it seem like more goals were going to come. The hard work paid off the next day as the Nittany Lions put seven across the line in a thrilling victory.

Andrew Sturtz broke the record for most goals in a career by a Penn State player on an empty netter late in the third period on Saturday, punctuating a four assist game. The captain James Robinson had the best game of his career as he scored a hat trick to power the team. The 11 goals scored on the weekend is the most Penn State has recorded during a series and deserve the grade.

Coaching: B

Guy Gadowsky’s coaching was up and down over the weekend as his team was unable to get goals when it mattered in the third period, yet his penalty kill kept one of the nation’s best power play units out of the goal. He needs to clean up the defense as it has been leaky all season, but his offense can cover up some of those mistakes. The work on the power play and goals scored help Gadowsky’s grade from falling too low.

 

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu.