Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Countdown to Contact

I sense the boys are getting antsy. After more than a month of tryouts and practices, the Icers are ready to hit someone not wearing the lion on their sweater.

Unfortunately, they'll have to wait for another week and a half before kicking off the 41st and final season of Icers hockey. The curtain raiser at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion against Lebanon Valley College is set for Friday, October 7 at 7:00pm.

Notice the time change for the Friday night game - and get used to it. The move from the traditional 9:05 start is part of the transition to the varsity program.

In the meantime, the guys will get the chance to test their skills under game conditions in the annual Blue/White game on Friday night. The team will play two 25 minute periods, with the faceoff scheduled for 6:30pm. The intrasquad game sets the table for the Lady Icers home opener against Buffalo that gets underway at 9:15pm.

The coaching staff will be out of town scouting potential future Penn State stars, so Coach Gadowsky has reached out to Icers alums to man the benches. Mark Horgas (player from 1975-77 and head coach in 1979-80) will team up with Rick O'Brien (1978-79) to take on Cliff Graziano (1991-95).

All three are thrilled to be a part of the event:

Horgas: It was truly an honor to have Coach Gadowsky invite me...I have been very impressed with the entire coaching staff and administration.

O'Brien: I had to read the email a couple times to realize that Coach Gadowsky was really asking for assistance. I think it's great that Coach is reaching out to the Icer alumni to have them involved. I personally welcome the opportunity to get on the bench with the guys; I know the returning players and am really looking forward to meeting the new team members.

Graziano: I was excited, but most of all I was honored. Penn State has always held a special place in my heart and to still be involved 15+ years after I graduated is awesome. It's nice to see that the new regime of Guy Gadowsky and his staff is keeping the Icer alumni involved. To me it shows not only that he understands the tradition of the hockey program, but of what Penn State is all about.

Hmmm...two on one, huh? Form your own conclusions about that! (tongue planted firmly in cheek)

Speaking of Rick O'Brien, he'll be coaching against his son Rich. They are one of only two father and son combos in Icers history (Joe Zitarelli Sr. & Jr. is the other).

Rick has plans on shutting Rich down. Rich denies the rumor that he's asked for a no-trade clause, but he's looking forward to the game and the upcoming season.

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