The Lions came out with a very solid performance in a game that it was favored to win. Scoring the first three goals, it appeared that the game was in hand early in the first period. Sacred Heart put up a valiant effort, tallying two scores of its own in the final seventy seconds of the period.
Penn State took control in the final two periods. The team scored five power play goals; this is noteworthy since Sacred Heart came into the series owning the fourth-best penalty kill percentage in the nation. In fact, SHU killed off 67 of the previous 71 power plays it faced dating back to last year. PSU scored on five of seven power play chances.
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Eamon McAdam got the win in goal for PSU. The New York Islander draft pick played well, but allowed a higher number of rebounds than expected throughout the game. There is room for improvement during this satisfying win.
The second game of the series will be played tomorrow at 4 p.m.
A few minutes in, Penn State got the first goal when Andrew Sturtz and David Goodwin took advantage of a give and go play. Sturtz held the puck until the last moment and allowed Goodwin to get an open look at the net. David Glen assisted on the play as well.
The Lion's overall team speed advantage over Sacred Heart was apparent early. After the Goodwin goal, the play on the ice continued to be fast but mostly favored the Lions. The Pioneers went five minutes without a shot on goal as PSU peppered visiting goalie Brett Magnus with several shots. With just under ten minutes to play in the period the Lions held an eight to four shots on goal advantage.
With 5:34 remaining in the period, Penn State went on the power play as Sacred Heart had to take the penalty when Glen was standing in front of the goal ready to finish off a pass. Conner Doherty grabbed Glen's stick and avoided the goal. During the power play SHU took another penalty. On the delayed penalty, Alec Marsh scored a power play goal assisted by Kevin Kerr.
Just a few moments later PSU scored another power play goal to stretch the lead to 3-0. Dylan Richard finished a play that left the puck bouncing around in front of goalie Brett Magnus. The goal was assisted by Vince Pedrie and Eric Scheid. Penn State scored two power play goals on two shots in less than one minute.
The Pioneers added a goal of their own with 62 seconds left in the period. Kory Kennedy stormed the net and Zach Luczyk found him with a crossing pass to beat McAdam. Twenty-eight seconds later it added another goal when Justin Danforth went by McAdam on a soft unassisted goal.
The teams went to the first intermission with the Lions leading 3-2. What was once a commanding 3-0 advantage with seventy seconds remaining in the period for Guy Gadowsky's squad became a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.
Three minutes into the period Pioneer defenseman Doherty hit the post with a shot that would have tied the game at three. A little over a minute later another SHU defensemen stepped into the offensive zone and nearly got one past McAdam but the goalie trapped the puck in his armpit. While the Lions held the lead 3-2 the game had the feel of a tie game, with SHU putting the pressure on. With fourteen minutes left in the period the shots on goal advantage was tilted in favor of Sacred Heart, 16-15 or 8-2 in the period. Penn State was flat-footed and its opponent took advantage.
Seconds later Sturtz made a great individual effort, catching a pass in front of the net and letting rip an amazing shot that beat SHU goalie Magnus. Sacred Heart challenged the goal, risking the loss of a timeout, on the issue that it thought that PSU was offside on the play. The goal was allowed and was assisted by Glen and Kevin Kerr.
Penn State went on the penalty kill a minute later but it turned into a scoring chance. Kenny Brooks scored his third goal of the season on a pass from Erik Autio, also assisted by Vince Pedrie. The Lions nearly scored on the previous shift, short-handed, when Glen took a pass from Tommy Olczyk but missed the net. The Lions were up 5-2.
The teams skated back and forth briskly until with five minutes left PSU went on the power play when Danforth was called for a two-minute tripping penalty. Goodwin scored a power play goal with the help of a Kenny Brooks screen on front of the net. Officially Luke Juha got the assist but Brooks' screen in front of the net was critical to the successful play. The Lions were in front 6-2.
Sacred Heart did not go quietly, with time expiring in the period it had several scoring chances but was unsuccessful.
Play in the final period started slow. The teams skated with a measured amount of aggression but neither wanted to allow the next goal. For several minutes the play was steady but neither team found the back of the net.
With ten minutes left in the game PSU went on the power play. Zach Saar wound up and scored his first goal of the season on a blast from the point. It was Saar's first game back from a leg injury and his power play goal made the score 7-2. The interesting part of the play was that Saar was occupying the spot in the power play that Casey Bailey manned last season. Saar has the hardest shot on the team, was set up with a chance to display his power, and made good on the first chance the team got him an open look.
Less than one minute later three freshmen combined on a goal for the Lions. Chase Berger scored a power play goal, and the lead extended to 8-2. Berger took the rebound off the shot of Alec Marsh and scored for the sixth time this season. The play was also assisted by Kerr.
The Lions did not back off from this point but did not score another goal. The game ended with the widest margin of victory for the team this year.