Took the family to Wilkes Barres Mohegan Sun Arena (Home of the Lil' Pens)last nite to watch the Penn State Hockey team play. Was a pretty cool deal with PSU winning in OT 4-3 for their first win in the new division.
I went to a PSU hockey game about 25 years ago. It was hilarious. There were constant fights and the Zamboni driver gouged a big groove in the ice trying to smooth it between periods.
I went to a game about 15 years ago. The players were very skilled, both on the Penn State side and the other team. Much better than I expected.
But I thought the officiating was horrible. They did not have control of the game. As you said, there were lots of fights. And constant hooking, slashing, grabbing etc. The refs were letting that stuff go, which led to the fights.
A really skilled fast player would be coming down ice, make a terrific move and blow by the defender, and the defender would just reach out and hook the guy. And the ref wouldn't call it. I hate that. Maybe the officiating has improved since then.
I like the European and Olympic style of hockey (fast skating, sharp passing) and I think that should be the model for college hockey, not NHL goonery.