Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky is happy to put the hoopla behind him and his team.
Gadowsky, a 1989 Colorado College graduate and former captain, is focused on this weekend's series at Air Force now that the shine of the national spotlight for last week's opening game for the new Pegula Ice Arena has faded.
The second-year Nittany Lions coach is looking forward to returning to Colorado Springs for the first time since Fairbanks played Colorado College in 2003.
"We really are," he said. "I do think it is good to be hitting the road. If we do have any kind of letdown, then we have problems as a team."
Penn State, playing its first season in the new Big Ten hockey league, cannot afford to look past Air Force (0-2), which came less than two minutes from splitting its opening weekend.
"We saw them twice last season (a home split) and they are a disciplined team that does not commit (unforced) turnovers," said Gadowsky, who led program turnarounds at Alaska-Fairbanks and Princeton before moving on to Penn State in April 2011. "You can't just hang back and be opportunistic. You have to go make things happen or else it's going to be a long night."
Air Force hopes to make it a difficult weekend for Penn State (1-0), which downed Army 4-1 on Friday. Doing that requires the Falcons to keep improving.
Coach Frank Serratore saw some of that when comparing game film from Friday's 6-1 loss to UAF and the 4-2 loss to Alaska-Anchorage.
"We were leaking oil from lots of spots in Friday's loss," he said. "We need experience and we need more work. We were better on Saturday than Friday. We came close to getting a split against two WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) teams on their home ice."
Two key stats stood out. An 0-for-12 mark on the power play is a concern, Serratore said, while holding UAF to 17 shots and UAA to 20 is a positive sign. Air Force outshot its foes a combined 48-37.