Ice Hockey Recap: Three Rivers Classic Edition

Thank You Terry

The Penn State men's ice hockey team was in Pittsburgh, as part of the inaugural Three Rivers Classic tournament, hosted by Robert Morris University.

The holiday season means one thing for college hockey - mini-tournament time. Seven different four-team tournaments took place over the weekend, including the inaugural Three Rivers Classic held at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. That's where the Penn State men's team was, along with Robert Morris, Ohio State, and #5 Miami (OH). Penn State opened the tournament against host Robert Morris on Friday night in a rematch of the 3-2 Colonials win two weeks prior. Saturday's match-up would be determined by the results of the battle for Pennsylvania and the battle for Ohio. Both Miami and Ohio State are solid programs, so Penn State was assured of two quality opponents for the weekend.

The hope is to make this an annual tournament for Penn State and Robert Morris. The two have signed on for next year's tournament, with two new entrants - Boston College and Bowling Green. As well, there have been many rumblings that Penn State - what with their new hockey arena and all - is looking to start hosting their own tournament, or turn the Three Rivers Classic into a rotating host site (between Pittsburgh and Penn State). In either case, I'm fairly confident that Penn State will be hosting a college hockey tournament before too long.

The NCAA Men were the only team in action this weekend. The NCAA Women return to action next weekend when the host DIII Chatham, while the two ACHA teams remain idle until later in January.

NCAA Men:

December 28, 2012 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 0 0 0 0
Robert Morris 4 0 2 6
PSU Goals:
Penn State SOG: 48
Robert Morris SOG: 41

Summary: Well, that happened. Robert Morris jumped out to an early lead just two minutes into the game, and they never looked back. Later in the first period, the Colonials scored two goals in 28 seconds, and RMU's Cody Wydo put home his second of the game in the final minute of the period, giving RMU a commanding 4-0 lead after one period. That's not to say that Penn State didn't have a strong game - they outshot RMU 14-4 in the second period. But RMU's Eric Levine kept Penn State off the board, thwarting any chance for a Nittany Lion comeback. Robert Morris would add two more goals in the 3rd period, giving the Colonials a dominating 6-0 win. The loss created a consolation game match-up between the two soon-to-be Big Ten Hockey Conference foes - Penn State and Ohio State.

December 29, 2012 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 3 1 1 5
Ohio State 1 1 2 4
PSU Goals: Loik (5); Holstrom (2,3); Bailey (7,8)
Penn State SOG: 37
Ohio State SOG: 40

Summary: In the first NCAA-level meeting between these two teams, It would be Ohio State who would jump out to the early advantage. After controlling much of the early action, OSU's Ryan Dzingel would beat Matt Skoff, putting the Buckeye's up first. But Penn State would come storming back, with Curtis Loik finally breaking Penn State's mini-scoring drought. Taylor Holstrom added his second of the season later in the period, and the first period scoring was capped by Casey Bailey's powerplay goal. Ohio State would reduce the lead to one early in the second period, with Dzingel getting his 2nd goal of the game early in the period. The two teams traded shots and momentum throughout the remainder of the period, until Casey Bailey tipped home a massive momentum-shifting goal with 9 seconds left in the period.

Not to be outdone by his linemate, Holstrom countered Bailey's 2nd goal with a 2nd goal of his own, putting PSU up 5-2 just 21 seconds into the 3rd period. The Buckeyes would make it close before the end of the game, including Dzingel getting his hat-trick. But the Nittany Lions would hold on to the 5-4 victory, picking up their first NCAA D1 victory since beating Air Force back on November 10th. Big games from the line of Bailey (2G, 2A), Holstrom (2G), and Max Gardiner (3A) helped propel Penn State, while extending Ohio State's winless streak to 6 games.

Season Record: 8-9-0 (6-8-0 NCAA D1)

Next Opponents: Penn State continues their semester break road trip by travelling to UConn next weekend. The Huskies hosted their own holiday tournament this past weekend, defeating American International by a resounding 7-2 score in the first round game. They faced off against Minnesota State in the championship game, where they lost to the Mavericks, 3-1. Despite the impressive-looking win over AIC, the Huskies are a lackluster 5-8-2 on the season.

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