BOARDMAN, OHIO (Tuesday, December 11, 2007) - The Youngstown State University hockey team closed out the first semester of the season with two losses this past weekend at the Ice Zone.
The Penguins stayed close throughout most of the game on Friday night before falling 5-1 against #20 Slippery Rock University.
"I thought we played really well on Friday night," said Penguins head coach Rocky Russo. "Gary Biggs played very well in goal and kept us in it the whole game. We just ran out of gas in the third period and couldn't finish the job."
Biggs, however, suffered an injury late in Friday's game and was unable to play in the Penguins 5-2 setback against John Carroll on Saturday.
"We took a couple dumb penalties and let up a couple of bad power play goals that hurt us," Russo said. "A real surprise for us was Matt Jacob. He is a goaltender by trade, but played forward for us this weekend and scored the first goal for us on Saturday."
Once final exams are over, the Penguins (3-18-2) will only have a couple of weeks to rest before getting ready for the second semester. Practice starts back up on Jan. 1, and the team returns to action on Jan. 5 with a game at the Pittsburgh Panthers.
"I think everyone needs a little bit of time off to recuperate and get prepared for the stretch run here," says Russo. "We still have the opportunity to make the playoffs within our league, and we need to come out firing as soon as we can on Jan. 5. We need to be prepared for that."
With the return of several players from injuries, along with the addition of a few new names to the roster during the break, the team still has plenty to play for.
"We play 11 games in the second half. I would love to win seven or eight of them and make a little bit of a run at the league," Russo says. "If we can play really well here in the second half, we will start to get some attention again from the league voters and hopefully put ourselves in a good position to make Nationals next season."
The Penguins first home game of the second semester is slated for Jan 9 against #9 Kent State University at the Ice Zone in Boardman. Game time is slated for 7:15 p.m.
The Youngstown State University Hockey Team is based out of the Ice Zone and is sponsored by the B.J. Alan Company - Phantom Fireworks, located in Youngstown, Ohio.