Sunday, February 28, 2010

Second Season in the Second City

Enough of the tune ups - it's tournament time!

The Icers at times struggled during the weekend, despite taking two from Robert Morris. It wasn't pretty and there are some on-ice issues that will need to be addressed during the practices before the team heads to Chicago.

Having said that, the players and assistant coach Bill Downey all told me in Saturday's post game interviews that they're confident they'll be ready come next Saturday's opening round match with the Canton Kangaroos.

Saturday's game marked the final home game for seniors Ryan Paradis, Matt Kirstein, John Conte and Steve Thurston. Hopefully, the quartet will cap their Icers careers with a national championship.

I buttonholed Joe Battista during the first intermission on Saturday to get the coach's perspective on what it will take for this Icers team to capture the Murdoch Cup.



Don't forget, you can watch the weekend action again. Our video webcasts are archived at Ustream. I'll have more highlights from Saturday's season finale, but first things first ---

I've got a hockey game to watch and a wager to collect from JoeBa!

GO CANADA GO!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Letup

With the ESCHL regular season and conference tournament titles under their collective belt, the Penn State Icers have to be very careful about letting up this weekend as the Robert Morris Colonials come to the Greenberg for the final weekend of the Icers' regular season.

The Icers need to use this weekend as a tune-up for the National Tournament, where they open play a week from Saturday against the SUNY Canton Kangaroos.

Canton beat RMU 10-4 and 7-1 in late January a couple of weekends after the Icers and Colonials took part in the truncated 30 minute "game" at the Mellon Arena.

Several of the walking wounded are getting back into playing shape this week. I dropped by practice this afternoon and saw Eric Steinour, Domenic Morrone and Dan Loucks all on the ice -- Morrone and Loucks were wearing the 'Red Cross' jerseys, but Steinhour looked ready to roll.

I talked to Tim O'Brien about Sunday's second period against Rhode Island, and Chris Cerutti's four-goal performance in the middle frame, which has been a killer for the Icers so many times during the season.






Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Down, One to Go

As Rodney Martin writes in his weekend wrapup, Tim O'Brien was looking for answers after Saturday's win over West Chester when I asked him why the Icers have fallen asleep during so many second periods this season.

On Sunday, they found the answer.

Chris Cerutti and Tim put on a clinic, with Cerutti scoring four straight and O'Brien making it five unaswered goals as the Icers rallied from a 2-1 first period deficit against the Rhode Island Rams.

Rhode Island was unable to recover, and the Icers captured their third consecutive ESCHL tournament championship with a 7-5 victory at the Rust Arena.

Steve Thurston opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period, as the Icers went 5 for 6 with the man advantage.

Tim picked up his second of the afternoon in the third after Mike Tait had narrowed the margin late in the middle frame. The Rams added a couple of late goals by Kyle Letourneau and Dan Lassik to make the score closer than it should have been.

Here's the Icers' second period goals from Ustream. You can also watch all of the first and second period and most of the semi-final win over West Chester by going to the Icers Ustream page.




Chris was named tournament MVP - Rodney's report lists the Icers who picked up all-conference honors.

So with two of the season goals under wraps, the Icers will set their sights on capturing the Murdoch Cup. But first, they'll have to contend with the Robert Morris Colonials this weekend.

As Chris told me in the post game interview, they can't afford to have a letdown this weekend.

I'll put a wrap on the weekend by thanking Delaware coach Mike DeAngelis, Rust Arena manager Jim Kaden and his staff for their assistance and kind words.

Thanks, too, to the Rhode Island fans who so graciously shifted away from in front of our camera so that fans of both teams could enjoy a relatively unobstructed view of the game.

Thanks to all of our viewers for your patience and words of encouragement as we dealt with the technical glitches during the webcasts. Once again, I'll offer an apology for any coarse language that may have made it to your computers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Icers Going 'Roo Hunting

The votes are in and the bracket is set for the 2010 ACHA Div. I National Tournament.




The Icers head into the tournament as the #2 team behind the defending champion Lindenwood Lions. Penn State will begin the quest for an 8th ACHA National Championship on Saturday, March 6 at 1:00 pm CST against the 15th-ranked Kangaroos from the State University of New York at Canton.

The Kangaroos, in their second season under head coach Eric McCambly (right), secured their first trip to the D-1 tournament by finishing atop the Eastern Collegiate Hockey League (ECHL), with a regular season record of 17-8-2.

There is a bit of a Penn State connection between the teams. Coach McCambly spent four seasons at Penn State Berks, guiding his teams to four consecutive conference titles and four trips to the ACHA Division 3 National Championships.

Here's the complete tournament bracket with game times at the Edge Arena in Bensonville, Ill. I'll have more on the tournament in the days to come.


bracket

Monday, February 15, 2010

We're off and Running!

Well now, that wasn't so bad! Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback following our first video webcast on Saturday. I suppose it helped that the Icers beat Drexel 5-1 in another chippy contest.

Not much to say about the game. Bill Downey summed it up in the post game interview. The coaches just wanted to escape without injuries or suspensions.

As for the webcast, we had a hiccup right off the bat when I attempted to start the broadcast and record it at the same time. If you were tuned in, you probably heard a nasty audio loop when the opening theme was playing.

Once I shut down the broadcast and restarted it the audio was fine. Now, I've got the rest of the week to figure out how to solve the issue. Obviously, I'm disappointed that we don't have our inaugural effort in the archive.

The "Executive Producer" did a great job, not only manning (womaning?) the camera, but also running the software while I was on camera. Thanks, Hon!

I expect we'll have some improvements this weekend when the guys try to defend their ESCHL championship at the Rust Arena in Newark.

Rodney Martin and I have been coming up with ideas to really make our webcast as close to a TV broadcast as possible. Obviously, that will have to wait until next season.

I think that it's safe to say that we have champagne ideas on a beer budget, so we're going to have to come up with some funding ideas as well!

We may never come close to Hockey Night in Canada, but I can guarantee you that you're never going to see something like this on our webcast:



How'd that work out for you, Sparky? According to the New York Post, not so well.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Conference Champs - Tournament Bound

Quick entry from the front seat of the team bus.

Well - it wasn't pretty, but the Icers wrapped up their third ESCHL conference championship with an 8-4 victory over Drexel at an ice-cold Class of 23 Arena in Philly.

It was a chippy affair, with a lot of chirping, hacking and whacking both ways. The Icers built a 4-1 first period lead, chasing surprise staring goalie Marteen Naeff before adding another on Daniel Pyne before the period was over.

From there on, the guys let Drexel hang around. The Dragons scored three straight goals late in the second and early in the third to get to 6-4, but Paul Daley scored on the power play and Chris Cerutti completed the hat trick with a short handed goal at 17:36 of the third.

The win guarantees the Icers a spot in the National Tournament and gives them top seed in next weekend's ESCHL tournament at the University of Delaware's Rust Arena.

Don't forget, tomorrow is the wrap up of the home-and-home series, and our first foray into video. You can either watch the video feed on Ustream.tv or listen to the audio feed on Fight on State.

Rodney Martin has posted all of the details on the team website.

Let us know how we do, but be kind!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Video is a Go - Finally!

After weeks of waiting, I happy to announce that you will be able to view live video of the Icers this weekend!

Tom McLaughlin at Fight on State has been hard at work on getting his video server up and running, but unfortunately the server continues to cause him problems. As a result, we have set up an account with Ustream.tv, which is the same service used by the rugby teams.

Saturday's game with Drexel will be our beta-test. We will also continue to stream audio to Fight on State, for those of you who do not want to see my made-for-radio mug on your computer!

Hopefully, the lighting at the Greenberg will give you a decent look at the game. If you've seen the alumni ceremony video, you will notice that the camera tended to focus on the netting. We'll give it our best shot and see what happens.

This is the link to the page. Click on 'menu' in the bottom right corner and then click on the 'go to show page' link to get to the team page.

Once there, you will see a chat bar on the right side. You can log in using your Facebook or Twitter login, or you can create a free login with Ustream so that you can chat with fans during the game.



In other good news, the IT folks and Rust Arena manager Jim Kaden have solved the internet issue that plagued our webcast when we were at Delaware. We'll have a good connection for next weekend's ESCHL tournament games, which will help the video feed.

Now to the bad news. As Tom Copain reports in The Collegian, Domenic Morrone is out of the lineup after having his appendix removed on Monday.

Dom's recuperating and can't resume physical activity for at least ten days. Once again, someone will have to step up this weekend as the Icers face Drexel in a home-and-home series.

The Icers only need a point to capture their third conference title (second outright), since they hold a 3-1 edge of Rhode Island in head to head action.

However, it says here that the team needs to come out with a pair of statement games this weekend to show they are deserving of either a 1 or 2 seed going to the national tournament.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Family Reunion" Wrap Up

What a great weekend for the Icers family, despite the best efforts of Mother Nature!

The blizzard that slammed the mid-Atlantic region, including State College, may have kept some alumni members from making the trek, but there were so many familiar faces on hand (as well as new friends that I just met) that it was hard to keep track of everyone.

The current Icers squad added to the fun on Saturday as they rebounded from a subpar effort in Friday's 4-3 loss with a convincing 5-1 win over Rhode Island.

With the win, the Icers remain one point behind the Rams in the ESCHL standings and can wrap up the conference title with a victory in one of next weekend's games with Drexel.

I hope that you enjoy the 70th Anniversary video, along with a video compilation of the ceremonies from Saturday's game.

First time on the camera for the "Exective Producer." She promises to get better!





Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bounce Back Time

The attitude around the rink today was simple:

OK - the winning streak is over - time to start a new one!

Saturday's 4-2 loss at Delaware, stopping the winning streak against ACHA opponents at 19 games, was a result of another bad second period - this one probably the worst one of the season.

Add in some sloppy play in the "gray zone" - the area right around the defensive blue line - that led to Delaware's opening goal and you have a recipe for disaster.

Three Blue Hens goals in a span of five minutes and 34 seconds midway through the second created a 4-1 deficit that was just too much for the Icers to overcome, with Tim O'Brien's second goal of the night in the third period just too little, too late.

As mentioned in my last entry, Rhode Island has taken over top spot in the ESCHL. The Rams are a point up on the Icers after taking two from Navy last weekend.

The standings add to the importance of this weekend's series with the Rams at the Greenberg. The guys at The Collegian do a great job of breaking down the permutations and combinations of the upcoming series with URI as well as the Icers' conference wrap-up with Drexel the following weekend.

Not only is it Alumni Weekend, it's the celebration of the 70th anniversary of hockey at Penn State. Despite the outside influences, Matt Kirstein says the team will be ready!