Friday, October 29, 2010

Dousing the Flames

The Penn State Icers scored 5 unanswered goals in the third period Thursday night, overcoming a lackluster first 40 minutes as they knocked off the Liberty Flames 7-3.

The teams traded a pair of goals in the first period, with Liberty's Greg Jensen getting the lone goal in the second.  His score sent Ted Hume to the bench for the second consecutive game, with Dan Ivanir coming on in relief.

The key to the turnaround was Paul Daley.  His physical play late in the middle frame lit a fire (pun intended) under his mates and they dominated play in the third.

Daley assisted on all three of Tim O'Brien's third period goals, with Kurt Collins chipping in with a pair.  Defensively, the Icers held the Flames to just 4 shots in the third.  Ivanir faced just six shots in recording his first win of the season.

If you toss out the 11-0 laugher over Drexel, the Icers have yet to play a full sixty minutes of good hockey, which has to be of concern to the coaches.  

We'll see if they can accomplish that task tonight in the finale of this two game set.

I put together a highlight video from Thursday's game; however, YouTube is having issues with uploads and I was unable to get it loaded. I may give it a go later.

In the meantime, Michael Ivanir has some fantastic photos on his Facebook page.

Thanks, Michael.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fantastic Photos

It's a short week for the Penn State Icers as they prepare for the Liberty Flames' visit on Thursday and Friday.  The timing could have been better after the Icers managed a split with the Ohio Bobcats.

OU coach Dan Morris and the Bobcats had a game plan that stymied the Icers.  OU fell asleep in the third period on Friday, while the Icers' game fell apart after a strong start on Saturday.  The results speak for themselves.

It was the player-parent weekend, and it was great to meet the new family members and see some that aren't able to make it to all of the games.  Ed Hume, father of senior goalie Ted Hume, traveled from Austin, Texas and brought along his camera.

Ed was kind enough to send me the links to his online photo albums from Friday's and Saturday's contests.  


In addition to Ed's photos, Michael Ivanir focused his lens on the weekend action.  "Muffin's" dad has his work online as well - you can see the results here.

The Icers family is lucky to have such talented members.  Thanks for the great work gentlemen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good, But Could be Better

That's the blunt assessment of Scott Balboni after the Icers took two from the Central Oklahoma Bronchos last weekend.  Certainly, the Icers have looked good during their 5-0 start to the season, but just as certainly, there have been some major mistakes that have led to opposition goals.

Those mistakes are being addressed during practice this week as the Icers prepare for this weekend's series against the Ohio Bobcats.

OU comes to town with a 3-2-1 record,ranked 2nd, while the Icers are 4th in Division I.  Dan Morris' team split last weekend's home series with Oakland after being swept by D-I newcomer Davenport at the Bird Arena the previous weekend.

There's no love lost between these two storied programs, and no secrets either.  As Rodney Martin wrote in his preview on the Icers website:

(T)hese contests will mark the 77th and 78th time that they have met since the 1981-82 season. Penn State currently leads the series with 43 wins, 26 losses, 5 ties and 2 shootout losses. Last year, the Icers went 3-1 against the Bobcats.

One Icer who is off to a solid start to the season is sophomore defenseman Rich O'Brien.  Rich is 5th on the team in scoring with 2 goals, including a power play marker, and 3 assists.  His plus-7 is tops on the team along with Kevin Miller and Mike McDonagh, and he's racked up 6 minutes in penalties.

Rich is part of the first father-son duo in Icers history.  Dad Rick played one season with JoeBa back in the last century, recording one assist and enough penalties that Rich may never catch that number!



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

UCO Highlights

I'm late getting the game highlights from the Icers weekend sweep of Central Oklahoma posted because of work commitments and spending a couple of frustrating days installing new editing software on my computer.  

Now that I've finally got it working, I'm on the learning curve of the more robust software that replaced what I had been using in the past.  

Here's the results of my first efforts - and the results of the Icers' sweep of the Central Oklahoma Bronchos.  The Icers are now 5-0 on the season, with the Ohio Bobcats coming to the Greenberg this weekend.

The 'Cats are off to a 3-3 start, but coach Dan Morris always has his team ready to battle with the Icers in what has become one of the most heated rivalries in the ACHA.




Tuesday, October 12, 2010

1:29

The numbers say it all.  One twenty-nine. 

The time left in the third period of last spring's national tournament quarter-final game against the Central Oklahoma Bronchos.  The time left separating the Icers from a berth in the semi-final.  The time of the game-tying goal on a shot from the blue line that led to overtime and a Bronchos goal just 1:42 into the extra frame.

The upstart Bronchos, in just their fifth year of existence, staged one of the biggest upsets in ACHA national tournament history just one night after upsetting in-state rival Oklahoma 5-4 in double overtime.

Needless to say, the players have had this weekend circled in red on their calendars since the announcement that Central Oklahoma will make its first trip to Hockey Valley.

The Icers are off to a good start, with a 3-0 record after last Friday's 11-0 shellacking of Drexel in the home opener.  

The Bronchos stumbled out of the gate, being swept by the Sooners, Iowa State and reigning D-1 champs Lindenwood.  UCO got off the schneid at last weekend's ACHA Showcase in Boardman, Ohio with wins over Slippery Rock (3-2), Buffalo (5-1) and Mercyhurst (7-2).

This is a different Bronchos team, with 17 freshmen on the roster.  However, head coach Craig McAlister - the man who built the UCO program from scratch - will have his team primed and ready to take on the Icers.

Scott Balboni and Josh Hand will have to make sure their troops are fired up, but will have to ensure that the guys play within themselves and look at this weekend as just another series and not a chance for revenge.

CORRECTION: I have been reporting that Ted Hume is tied with Scott Graham (99-03) for 3rd all-time in wins by Penn State goalies with 54 wins.  In fact, Scott has 56, nine fewer than career co-leaders John Gray (89-93) and John Sixt (95-99).



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Whitewash

The Drexel Dragons were simply no match for the Penn State Icers in Friday's home opener at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.  The Icers scored five in the first, four in the second and two more in the third to cruise to an 11-0 victory.

Ted Hume was relieved by Dan Ivanir midway through the game.  Ted gets the victory, moving him one up on Nick Signet and into a tie with Scott Graham with 54 career victories - 3rd all-time behind John Gray and John Sixt (65 wins). 


Chris Pronchik scored twice while the Icers were shorthanded Tim O'Brien and George Saad had a pair of goals, while Dan Petrick recorded his first goal as an Icer and wondered what took so long.

Here's all 11 goals and Rodney Martin's interview with first star George Saad.  Rodman did a good job with the player interviews -- looks like we'll be able to keep him on camera.

A couple of notes on last night's production.  First, I was so busy during the intermissions that I neglected to update the scoreboard graphic - that's why all the goals were scored in the first period!  DOH!!!

Second, when the Icers hit double figures on the scoreboard, the numbers were off-center on our on-screen scoreboard.

Third, no matter what setting we use on the video camera, the yellow lights at the 'Berg will always look yellow on your computer screen.

Lastly, I don't feel so bad about calling Dan Ivanir by his father's name.  Watching the Leafs and Senators on Hockey Night in Canada tonight and Jim Hughson (one of the best play by play guys around) called the Senators' Nick Foligno by his father's first name.  

Ironically, both Ivanir and Foligno fathers are named Mike.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Collins & Collins

There was a surprise skater at the Icers practice on Tuesday.  Big Ten Network reporter, Penn State alum and big sister Melanie Collins laced 'em up and skated with the guys.

Melanie and the BTN crew are in town this week taping a segment for the Big Ten Tailgate show airing Friday night at 11 pm.  Not only will the show highlight the fun on the ice, there will be an interview (I'm shocked!) with Joe Battista.

Be sure to set your DVR to record the show hosted by Mike Hall.  If you forget, the show will be available on the show page linked above.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First Star Freshman

The Icers came away from the opening weekend of the season with a pair of less-than-perfect wins at Pittsburgh.  One of the most impressive players against Pitt was freshman Mike McDonagh.

The Wilmington, Mass. native had a solid two-way effort in Friday's 5-1 victory.  On Saturday, Mike scored his first goal as an Icer and added an assist, gaining first star recognition.

I caught up with Mike at Tuesday's practice and also spoke with Head Coach Scott Balboni about what needs to improve for Friday's home opener against Drexel.

I'll have more videos posted on Wednesday.  Be sure to check out some of the extra activities from Tuesday's practice session.



Sunday, October 3, 2010

"By the Skin of Their Teeth!"

There's an old axiom in sports that "good teams find a way to win ugly."  Well, I'm not sure just how good this edition of the Penn State Icers is, but on Saturday they won UGLY, hanging on for a 5-4 victory over the Pitt Panthers.

The teams were tied 1-1 after the first and 2-2 after 40 minutes.  The Icers twice in the third period took a 2-goal lead, but both times they allowed Pitt to score with sloppy play in the defensive zone.

I gave first star honors to freshman Mike McDonagh.  Mike opened the scoring with his first goal as an Icer and added an assist on George Saad's second goal of the weekend.

Rich O'Brien notched his second of the season, doubling his total as an Icer, while Chris Cerutti and Marek Polidor added their first goals of the season.

Ted Hume added another win, tying him with Nick Signet with 53 career victories, 4th all-time for Icers netminders.  Ted is now 3 wins behind Scott Graham (1999-2003) and 12 back of career leaders John Gray (1989-93) and John Sixt (1995-99).

The coaches have some work ahead of them this week getting the team ready for the Drexel Dragons.  The Dragons have a nasty habit of rising to the occasion against the Icers, and with Friday's contest coming on Homecoming Weekend there will be some added distractions for this young team.

Here's a look at the Icers goals and the final half-minute of action from Saturday's contest.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Off on the Right Foot

It wasn't perfect, but a road victory to open the season is nothing to sneeze at.  The Icers scored 4 unanswered goals, 2 of them on the power play, as they rolled over the Pitt Panthers 5-1 on Friday night at the Blade Runners Arena in Harmarville, PA.

Chris Pronchik scored twice, with singles going to George Saad, Carey Bell and Rich O'Brien.

Ted Hume was not heavily tested, but was solid in net. The victory is Big Ted's 52nd career win, putting him just one behind Nick Signet (2005-09) for fourth all-time on the Icers' win list. He's four wins behind Scott Graham (1999-03) and he could become the Icers career wins leader by the end of his senior season. John Gray (1989-93)and John Sixt (1995-99) sit atop the list with 65 career victories.

I was impressed by the play of freshman Mike McDonough and sophomore Michael Longo.  Both were throwing the body around, set up some scoring opportunities and had a few of their own.

Here's the Penn State goals along with post game comments from Head Coach Scott Balboni.

Game two of the opening weekend for the Icers is this afternoon at 4pm EDT. We'll have the action live on our UStream channel.