Ice Hockey Recap: All About the Goaltending

Perhaps moreso than any other position in any sport, hockey goalies have a major effect on the structure of a team. At the NHL level, teams will base their player acquisition and in-game strategies around the quality of the player between the pipes. At all levels, the goalie can make or break games, playoff runs, and entire seasons for their teams (and their opponents). While Penn State has solid depth at goaltending on all of their teams, this weekend saw two goalies show just how important they will be to their respective teams' success.

(Related to hockey, but not to the games on the ice, everybody's favorite reporter Ben Jones was invited to take part in a tour of the Pegula Ice Arena in its current construction state. He took some video and posted it for those of us who were not lucky enough to be born as awesome as Ben Jones. Thanks Ben!)

Men's NCAA D1:

October 26, 2012 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 1 3 1 5
Army 0 0 0 0
PSU Goals: Brooks (1), Milley (2), Sweetland (1), Bailey (3), Glen (3)
Penn State SOG: 45
Army SOG: 34

Summary: After a big, emotional win over RIT last weekend, there is always the fear of a letdown the following game. Early in the game against Army, the boys made sure that Army was going to have to earn their win. Unfortunately for Army, goalie PJ Musico was in net and continuing his outstanding play. Kenny Brooks would put Penn State up, scoring midway through the first period, and that would be more than enough for Musico. The Nittany Lions added 3 goals in the second period, and a 5th goal in the final stanza. But the story was PJ Musico and his 34-save performance, claiming the first NCAA shutout win in Penn State history.

October 20, 2012 1 2 3 Final
PENN STATE 3 1 2 6
Sacred Heart 2 1 0 3
PSU Goals: Longo (1); Gardiner (2); Milley (4); Jensen (1); Yanis (2); Loik (2)
Penn State SOG: 31
Sacred Heart SOG: 19

Summary: Sometimes, goalies just need to be good enough, and such was the case for Musico in Saturday's tilt against Sacred Heart. While the stats might not be as exciting as the RIT and Army games, Musico still made some huge saves against SHU to bail out his team. The offense, thankfully, was more than ready to do their part. SHU would score first, but Penn State responded with 3 goals in just over a 5-minute span in the first period. After trading goals with SHU through the second period, Mark Yanis and Curtis Loik would add goals in the 3rd period, and the Nittany Lions would cruise from there, earning a 6-3 win. The men are now riding a 3-game winning streak. Also of note (for historical PSU hockey geeks like me), Mike Longo's goal in the 1st period is the first goal for a "legacy Icer" this season - very happy to see the guys who made the ACHA-to-NCAA jump finding success on the ice.

Season Record: 4-2-0 (4-1-0 NCAA D1)

Next Opponents: Due to this hurricane thing that's blowing through, the Tuesday night game against D3 Fredonia State has been postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday, Dec 11th. For the weekend, the boys will get their chance for revenge as D3 Buffalo State makes the trip to State College for a lone, Saturday game.

Women's NCAA D1:

October 25, 2012 1 2 3 Final
Rochester Institute of Technology 1 2 1 4
PENN STATE 1 0 0 1
PSU Goals: Yoxheimer (5)
Rochester Institute of Technology SOG: 38
Penn State SOG: 13

Summary: With a young and growing team, Coach Brandwene has focused heavily on strong defensive play to keep his team competitive in these games. Unfortunately, this will result in many games where the offensive opportunities are at a severe minimum. Penn State was very much in this game until late in the 2nd period, when an unfortunate shorthanded goal for RIT meant a 2-goal deficit for PSU and a loss of momentum. RIT would add a late 3rd period PP goal to skate to a comfortable 4-1 win.

October 20, 2012 1 2 3 OT Final
Rochester Institute of Technology 1 0 1 0 2
PENN STATE 2 0 0 0 2
PSU Goals: Gross (2), Yoxheimer (6)
Rochester Institute of Technology SOG: 61
Penn State SOG: 23

Summary: Following with the massive shot-differential trend, Friday night's game was all about goalie Nicole Paniccia. Penn State would jump out to a two goal lead, with Taylor Gross scoring the the power play, and then Shannon Yoxheimer adding her 6th goal of the season just 23 seconds later. (Yoxheimer is an offensive juggernaut and is currently showing why this team can still be dangerous even with a limited number of scoring opportunities.) RIT would cut the lead to one late in the first period. From there, Paniccia would play like a woman possessed, stopping everything that came her way. Unfortunately, a late PP for RIT opened the door for a late, game-tying goal, sending the game to overtime. Neither team would score in the extra period, giving each team a point in the 2-2 draw. Paniccia finished the game with a staggering 59 saves on 61 shots - vital to Penn State picking up their first ever CHA conference point, not to mention bringing the team to within 90 seconds of pulling out the win.

Season Record: 2-5-1 Overall, 0-3-1 CHA

Next Opponent: In terms of scheduling, RIT acted as the filling in a Sacred Heart sandwich. After playing in Connecticut last weekend, Sacred Heart (1-4-0) makes the trip to State College this coming weekend. The two teams split the last weekend series, and the Penn State women will assuredly be looking for more offense and more wins.

The ACHA round-up: The Ice Lions looked to keep things rolling as they welcomed St. Joe's to the Greenberg on Saturday afternoon. Franky Reluzco scored twice, Peter Daley and Mac Winchester would add goals, and the defense held SJU to just 8 total shots on net. All of this helped lead the Ice Lions to a solid 4-2 win. The Ice Lions improved to 6-2-1 on the season with the win over SJU. The boys find themselves on the road for a MACHA North weekend, with a game at Monmouth on Friday, a day off on Saturday, then a game at Rider on Sunday to cap the weekend.

D2 Lady Icers were off again this weekend, but finally get a game under their belts this weekend, as they travel to the University of Maryland for a single game on Saturday.

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