It was a long and important weekend for the Ice Lions. Three games, three days, three different opponents, in three different states, all ending with a big game against Southeast Regional #3 Maryland-Baltimore County. Lots of threes in there, but here's what was on the line - a chance to extend their winning streak to 13 games and the chance to all-but-clinch a top-two spot in the Southeast regional rankings, meaning an autobid into the national tournament.
While the men were out seeing as much of the mid-atlantic as possible, the women's team had the weekend "off", preparing for next weekend's set against ACHA WD1 Buffalo. And while they did close the gap on West Chester in the rankings, this weekend is the final weekend for games before the last rankings are released. The PSUWIHC will just need to maintain their top-3 ranking to make it to the WD2 national tournament in their inaugural season.
Ice Lions Recap:
|February 1, 2013||1||2||3||Final|
|PSU Goals: Broccolo (9); Daley (7); Vincent (17); Urban (9)|
|Penn State SOG: 48
Rider SOG: 29
|February 2, 2013||1||2||3||Final|
|PSU Goals: Laessig (4, 5); Urban (10, 11); Reluzco (11);|
|Penn State SOG:
St. Joe's SOG:
|February 3, 2013||1||2||3||Final|
|PSU Goals: Lewis (21); Reluzco (12); Vaeth (2); Linge (9);|
|Penn State SOG: 40
UMBC SOG: 31
Summary: In the first game against Rider, it was Penn State's penalty problems that kept this game close. With no score in the first period, a huge penalty on leading goal-scorer Chris Lewis (5-minute major for elbowing and a Game Disqualification) opened the door for Rider to take a 1-0 late in the first period. The Ice Lions killed the remainder of the penalty in the second, and then a Rider penalty gave Penn State the offensive momentum. Mike Broccolo scored on that power play to tie the game at 1-1. Five minutes later, Peter Daley and Taylor Vincent each tallied a goal, just 13 seconds apart, giving Penn State the 3-1 lead. Ryan Urban would extend the lead to 4-1 midway through the 3rd period, but Penn State penalties let Rider get back into the game. A string of three straight penalties led to back-to-back 5-on-3 situations, and Rider would capitalize twice, closing the game to 4-3. The Ice Lions would stop the scoring there, staying out of the penalty box and squeezing past Rider with the 4-3 victory.
On Saturday night, it was a game against St. Joe's. Penn State would take the lead late in the first, thanks to Neil Laessig. St. Joe's countered very early in the 2nd period, and Laessig was there to give Penn State the lead again, just a couple minutes later. Later in the period, St. Joe's tied the game at 2-2, but once again, Penn State would quickly respond and retake the lead, this time thanks to Ryan Urban. That was the end of the scoring for St. Joe's, as the Ice Lions added two goals in the 3rd period - Frank Reluzco's 11th of the season, and Urban's 2nd of the game. The end result was a 5-2 victory and one last game against UMBC.
If UMBC was hoping to make a final statement against the team just ahead of them in the standings, they destroyed their own chances midway through the first period. 8 minutes into the game, UMBC was called for two penalties at the same time. Chris Lewis would score on the 5-on-3, and Frank Reluzco scored on the 5-on-4, giving Penn State an important 2-0 lead. Will Vaeth added a goal later in the period, and the 3-0 lead was more than enough. The two teams swapped goals in the 2nd period, with Fredrick Linge scoring the final Penn State goal. A scoreless 3rd period gave Penn State 4-1 victory, wrapping up a very successful 3-win weekend and all but securing their spot in the D2 national tournament
Season Record: 21-4-1
Next Opponents: After a huge sweeping weekend, the Ice Lions are back on the road for one last game - a Sunday afternoon game at Monmouth University. The Ice Lions rolled Monmouth a couple weeks ago in State College, winning handily, 8-0. Penn State will look to finish the regular season with a 14-game winning streak, with lots of momentum heading into their three post-season tournaments.