In what was easily the most exciting game of the season Penn State defeated Bentley 3-2. The Lions now find themselves in rarefied air for a program that is just starting the third year of Division I competition. The team is bound to gain both votes in the national polls as well as attention from conference foes after this impressive come-from-behind victory over the Falcons. The Lions now boast a five game winning streak this season at Pegula Ice Arena, with an undefeated record of 5-0-1.
The game began with both teams skating at a much faster tempo than Thursday night's opening game of the series. Bentley clearly made an adjustment in strategy, putting almost as many pucks on net in the first period (14) as they had averaged per game coming into tonight's contest (20). Bentley got the scoring started off on a power play early in the game.
Bentley PP strikes for the third time this weekend as Grieve scores on the left post from French and Gladiuk. PSU down 1-0, under 11, 1st.— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) October 31, 2014
Max French of Bentley added a second power play goal to give the Falcons a two goal lead with just under five minutes to play in the first period. It was the second time in as many games that Bentley scored twice against the Lions on the power play. The period ended with PSU trailing by a pair of goals and Bentley nearly matching PSU's shot total, with the Lions having a slight 16-14 advantage in that category. Bentley had two power plays in the period, attempting three shots with the extra man advantage and making them count for two goals. PSU had one power-play in the period, getting nine shots on goal with the man advantage, but was unable to put the puck in the net. The two-goal deficit was the first time this season that the Lions had trailed by more than one goal.
The second period began with PSU in a very unfamiliar position, being out-hustled and out-worked along the boards. There seemed to be a slight hangover from the first period for the team, and Bentley kept the peddle to the medal on the hyper-shooting strategy. By the end of the period, Bentley out-shot PSU 14-11, for a total of 28-27 at that point in the game. This was the first time this season that PSU trailed in shots on goal after two periods. Had it not been for a sweet effort by freshman Scott Conway, the Lions would have ended the second period down a pair of goals and in deep trouble. Luckily for the 6,000 screaming fans inside the Peg, Conway had other plans.
When the game reached the final five minutes, the crowd had seen three third period penalties lead to no changes on the scoreboard. The final media timeout under 5 minutes remaining saw the crowd at the Peg quieted, seemingly a bit ambivalent toward the home team's chances for a comeback. There was still hope for the Lions, but with every second that ticked off the clock with the scoreline reading 2-1 Bentley, a little bit of faith was lost. Then, with just over four minutes remaining in the game, Bentley goalie Blake Dougherty performed highway robbery on a Penn State scoring chance, grabbing a puck headed for the back of the net with his glove. The momentum of the shot nearly carried Dougherty's glove and body past the goal line, but he held on.
Less than a minute after the amazing, game-saving stop, Bentley was called for an elbowing penalty. The Lions were given one final chance at sending the game into overtime. However, Guy Gadowsky's squad didn't feel like giving the fans any free hockey. PSU scored on the ensuing power play, and then once again sixteen seconds later to take the 3-2 lead.
GOAAAL! Finally, Taylor Holstrom scores on the power play from Dylan Richard and Nate Jensen. Tied at 2, 2:50 left in the third. #WeAre— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) November 1, 2014
Scheid has scored a lot of goals in his career, as he himself is quick to point out, but the goal tonight may have been the biggest of his Penn State career. Not only was it a game-winner for the Blaine, Minnesota native, but it was a thing of exquisite beauty.
The two-goal flurry in less than twenty seconds for the Lions energized the crowd inside the beautiful Pegula Ice Arena. The final minutes of the game and the time shortly afterwards became the preliminary Halloween celebration for fans in Hockey Valley. The ghouls and goblins left Pegula with smiles from ear to ear, ready to hit the town for a night of celebration.
Three Relevant, Amazingly Insightful Thoughts
- This was the final game at Pegula Ice Arena until January 9th when the Lions host the Buckeyes. This time, when Ohio State visits Happy Valley, it will truly be Hockey Valley weather.
- The win tonight brings PSU to a 5-1-2 record on the year, four games over .500 for the first time since joining Division I hockey. With the next four games on the schedule being at UMass-Lowell (2) and at Michigan (2), it's nice that the team has gotten off to a quick start this season.
- With under 6 seconds to play, Bentley had a point-blank shot to tie the game. PSU defenseman Connor Varley put his body (head) in front of the puck and blocked the Falcon's final scoring attempt of the game. Varley was down on the ice for a couple of minutes but was able to leave under his own power, with the help of several teammates. Varley was in clear pain, but his gutsy effort may have saved the win for the Lions.