With a recent 2-1 overtime loss to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, Penn State’s season has come to an end.
The season began with one of the Nittany Lions’ strongest starts in program history, going 12-2 over their first 15 games, with notable wins over programs like Canisius, Michigan and Minnesota. This was all before the Nittany Lions began to lose their stride, going 7-8 over their next 15.
Inconsistency became the norm for Penn State moving forward, hanging on to its strong start and playing well enough to secure the No. 8 seed going into the NCAA Tournament.
In what was far from a failure of a season, here were some of the numbers that best represented the team.
A stellar season landed the Nittany Lions a final ranking of No. 8 on both the national USCHO.com and the USA Hockey polls.
This is tied for the highest Penn State has ever ranked, originally accomplishing the feat during the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons.
Their final record of 22-16-1 was the second-most wins in program history, and it was the fifth time in the last eight years that the school has eclipsed 20 wins.
Starting off the season by winning 10 of their first 12 games, including back-to-back No. 1 teams in Michigan and Minnesota, the Nittany Lions peaked at No. 5 in the rankings.
Penn State entered the 2022-23 season unranked, and while the end of the 2022-23 season was undoubtedly disappointing for fans of the Nittany Lions, there is reason to be optimistic about the future of the program.
With a strong core of returning players and a talented group of incoming recruits, the Nittany Lions will be poised to make another run at a national championship in the years to come.
Penn State had the ninth-best scoring offense in the NCAA at the end of the season.
Five players reached 20 points this season: Kevin Wall, Ture Linden, Connor MacEachern, Connor McMenamin and Christian Berger.
Wall, a senior, was arguably the best offensive player on the ice for the Nittany Lions this season, and his +/- was the second highest on the roster.
He also led the team with 31 points and 17 goals this year, an impressive feat for someone playing alongside so many other high-volume scorers.
McMenamin was equally exceptional this season, chipping in 24 points, while MacEachern tallied 27 himself. The two forwards were lethal beside each other all season, with Guy Gadowsky giving them considerable minutes together during games.
With McMenamin and fellow senior forward Tyler Gratton each entering the transfer portal following their exit from the NCAA Tournament, it’ll be interesting seeing how the Nittany Lions adapt their offense for the upcoming season.
When junior goaltender Liam Souliere shut out Michigan Tech 8-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he likely didn’t imagine that he’d record the largest shutout in an NCAA Tournament game ever.
But that’s just what Souliere was all season: a stalwart.
Souliere had a career year in the net, anchoring a defense that allowed only 2.72 goals per game.
He also recorded three shutouts this year while allowing only a strict 2.43 goals average per game.
Souliere also boasted a .917 save percentage while playing 36 games for the blue and white this season and recording 19 wins.
In his first year replacing Oskar Autio, Souliere had high expectations, and he exceeded them.
In his 11 seasons as head coach, Gadowsky has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament three times. Gadowsky and the Nittany Lions made back-to-back appearances during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Nittany Lions lost to Denver both years, and after both losses, Gadowsky swore to return with a better team.
This year, the fruits of his labor were evident, as he had the team off to its best start in program history, a second-round NCAA Tournament run and a No. 8 national ranking.
In Year 11, Gadowsky has found a way to galvanize his team, getting it to play with offensive fervor. With a young group of players ready to take over next season, Gadowsky looks to maintain the same level of production.
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