|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
With several players injured the Lions (4-1-0) were able to mix and match lines well enough to grab two games this weekend from American International College (0-5-0) of Springfield, Massachusetts. The Lions skated with only 11 forwards instead of the usual 12 as several players are nursing injuries and are expected to return in the next few weeks.
Able to overcome a slow start, Guy Gadowsky's team once again used a balanced scoring effort with five different players tallying a goal for the second night in a row. This very important series sweep puts the team in a good spot heading into a challenging pair of games on Thursday and Friday this week with St. Lawrence.
At the onset of the game PSU reflected the atmosphere inside Pegula Ice Arena which was lacking in enthusiasm. With attendance recorded as a sell-out, nearly half the seats in the arena were sans buttocks of fans likely due to the fact that Penn State was also playing football with Maryland at the same time.
AIC came ready to play and was noticeably more energetic to begin the game. Just two minutes in, Jackson Dudley scored first for the Yellow Jackets on an assist from David Gandara and Travis Douglas. Moments later Vince Pedrie of PSU was called for an interference penalty. Douglas took advantage when he scored a power-play goal to take the lead to 2-0 AIC in the early going. Bailey More and Carson Grolla assisted on the goal.
To this point the momentum was on the side of AIC. It appeared that PSU was a step slow.
The Lions were able to summon up the energy needed to answer the pair of goals. AIC was called for a pair of penalties and after killing off the first, Penn State scored while time remained on the second penalty. Dylan Richard beat goalie Hunter Leisner to cut the lead in half. Eric Scheid and Erik Autio assisted on the play.
Two minutes later Scheid scored a goal of his own, the first on the season for the highly-productive senior forward who was playing in only the second game of the season due to an injury. Scheid celebrated by pointing to the sky in a tribute to his father, Jim, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 57 after battling cancer. Vince Pedrie assisted on the goal.
At this point the advantage flipped to Penn State even though the score was tied at two apiece. The teams skated briskly for five minutes when the Lions were able to push in a third goal. With 36 seconds remaining in the period Chase Berger finished a play started by Curtis Loik and Derian Hamilton for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
After the game coach Guy Gadowsky had this to say about the play.
Scoring at the end of the first was a big play. We came back, we fought back to get ahead and that was big.
The second period was very contentious and the hitting was elevated. The frame would be dominated by penalties and serious hits. Five penalties were called on both teams combined and all were roughing or a similar style of infraction due to the teams playing harder than the rules allow. AIC had one advantage over the Lions, size. Falling down by a goal after leading by two to start the game, facing an 0-5 start after winning only four games the previous season, AIC employed its one unique weapon.
Many of the hits were borderline cheap shots but the teams swapped punches until Andrew Sturtz scored what would become the game-winning goal with six minutes left in the period. The goal was assisted by David Goodwin and Alec Marsh.
Following the goal AIC was clearly dejected, its body language illustrating a team that feels things slipping away. On the next shift following the goal, Bailey More allowed his emotions to get the better of him, as he elbowed Alec Marsh in the head, and got a game-misconduct five-minute penalty for the play. Marsh would leave the game for a while but return later.
The Lions were unable to score with the five-minute man advantage but the play and penalty would quell the illegal activity until very late in the game. The teams skated for the final six minutes of the period without another goal or penalty.
The third period began with clean, hard-hitting hockey by both teams. For six minutes the play was fast and sharp. Shawn McBride got AIC to within one goal when he got one past goalie Eamon McAdam with thirteen minutes remaining in the game. While PSU held the lead 4-3 at that point, there was a feeling of disappointment that AIC had been able to claw its way back into contention.
With ten minutes left in the game AIC had a great chance to score but Penn State defensemen David Thompson gave up his body, taking the block to stop the shot before it could make it past McAdam. For his effort, Thompson was awarded the Thor Axe which is handed out to the player of the game in the locker room after a PSU victory.
Several minutes later Matt Mendelson took a tripping penalty for Penn State and AIC appeared to have a great chance to tie the game on the power-play. Senior Tommy Olczyk spoiled the Yellow Jacket's chances when he took a pass from Ricky DeRosa and scored a short-handed goal to bring the lead back to two with under five minutes remaining. It was Olczyk's second career short-handed goal for the player who is known as one of the best penalty-killing forwards in the nation.
AIC took one more boarding penalty but the play outside of that momentary lapse of judgement was clean for the remainder of the game. PSU used the man advantage to kill the clock, not looking to shoot on goal as frequently as it usually does, content to let the clock expire. The game ended with PSU winning 5-3.
Stars Of The Game
First Star * Eric Schied, Penn State- Scheid had a goal and an assist and his skating was a catalyst to other players' success through the entire game
Second Star ** Andrew Sturtz, Penn State- Sturtz scored his third goal of the year.
Third Star *** Tommy Olczyk, Penn State- Olczyk scored a short-handed goal to cap the victory.
- The Lions will host St. Lawrence on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. in a series that could propel PSU into the territory of ranked teams with a sweep.
- Eamon McAdam got the win for the third time in three tries this season and is 8-4-0 over the past two seasons.
- Check out the weekend highlights