clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nittany Lions Hockey Sweep Sacred Heart 3-2

Penn State gave the effort necessary to take two from the visiting Pioneers.

Chris Taylor

1st 2nd 3rd Final
Penn State 0 2 1 3
Sacred Heart 1 0 1 2

Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Penn State 17 25 23 67
Sacred Heart 14 11 19 44

The Lions started slow, playing the first period in lethargic fashion, but found a groove in the second period. Chase Berger scored a pair of goals for Penn State to take his season total to a team and nation-leading eight on his 21st birthday. With a team-record 67 shots on goal, PSU found the back of the net three times for the series sweep over Sacred Heart. The Pioneers put up an impressive fight but the pair of wins was exactly what the Lions need heading into a long road trip to Alaska this weekend.

Matt Skoff played an inspired game in net for the blue and white, making 42 saves, many of which were miraculous. Berger scored two amazing goals. Zach Saar made his imposing presence known early and often, skating in only his second game of the season.

First Period

It was clear to start the game that Sacred Heart was intent to slow the game down. On Friday night the Pioneers attempted to play fast with Penn State but the strategy backfired with the Lions scoring eight goals.

Two minutes in, PSU went on the penalty kill after Kevin Kerr was called for a two-minute boarding penalty. The Lions killed the penalty easily and at one point had a three on one break of their own.

Shortly after the penalty expired the Pioneers scored a goal on a rebound. Penn State goalie Matt Skoff made two consecutive shots but let a rebound loose and on the third try Evan Jasper of Sacred Heart put the puck in the net. The referees reviewed the goal and determined that Sacred Heart was offside on the scoring play. The goal was not allowed and the game remained tied five minutes in.

Five minutes later Zach Luczyk took a rebound and put it past Skoff for the first goal of the game. The Lions failed to clean up the initial rebound and Luczyk was left alone for an easy finish.

The teams skated for eight minutes without a whistle following the goal. The tempo increased compared to what it was prior to the score and it seemed to favor Penn State as it had Friday night. One thing that was in favor of SHU with the faster tempo is that it was able to gain numerous odd-man rushes. When PSU played Saint Lawrence it was exposed as having inexperienced defenders. With three freshmen manning the blue-line there has been a tendency for the group to get out of position.

With less than a minute to play in the period Penn State defender Vince Pedrie got behind the Pioneer defense and put a strong shot on net. The puck was deflected behind the net and Pedrie was able to recover and center to a slashing Alec Marsh who nearly scored. The rebound was batted off Sacred Heart goalie Brett Magnus a third time but he turned it aside once again. SHU took the puck and with less than fifteen seconds remaining were able to get two quality shots on Matt Skoff.

The period ended with the Lions trailing 1-0.

Second Period

Forty-five seconds into the period the Lions allowed a long stretch pass that got Zach Luczyk a breakaway shot on Matt Skoff. The shot was stopped and play went the other way. In the process of making the save Skoff's stick was knocked out of his hand and SHU was called for a penalty.

Early in the power play there was a multiple player scuffle behind the Pioneer net. Nine of the ten players on the ice at the time were involved. SHU was called for another penalty and PSU sent a man to the box as well. The five on four advantage would continue for the Lions.

Penn State's leading goal scorer Chase Berger had a good chance to score during the penalty but was denied and the penalty ended soon after.

Following the penalty PSU skated with purpose and regained the energy it had on Friday. The team was able to hold the puck in its offensive zone for nearly a minute on the following shift and then on the next shift it did the same. Brett Magnus was up to the task and after the flurry of shots had made 32 saves in the game with over 35 minutes remaining.

Zach Saar, playing in only his second game of the season, was called for a roughing penalty with twelve minutes remaining in the period. Saar asserted himself on the ice, using his 6'6" and 225 pound frame to send SHU players tumbling several times on the night.

Chase Berger scored a short-handed goal when Kenny Brooks stole the puck in the Sacred Heart zone and got the puck to the freshman forward from St. Louis. Berger scored on a nearly impossible angle. The score tied the game at one halfway through the period and game.

The Lions killed the penalty and immediately went on a tear offensively, with Andrew Sturtz nearly scoring and the team peppering shots off Magnus.

Chase Berger scored for the second time when he took the puck from behind the net and once again got the puck past Magnus where few players could have got the shot through. On a short-side lifted shot Berger knocked the goalie's water bottle off the top of the net. The goal was assisted by Curtis Loik and Alec Marsh. Magnus appeared stunned after the goal. The Lions were on top 2-1 and Pegula Ice Arena exploded in celebration.

After the go-ahead goal the Sacred Heart team seemed deflated and the Lions were playing as well as it has all year.

For the remainder of the period PSU had a considerable advantage but was unable to score an additional goal. With fewer than ten seconds left in the period SHU had a two on one break and got a shot and a rebound. On the play Alec Marsh of Penn State was thrown into the boards awkwardly and was slow to get up. Players from both teams were concerned about the health of Marsh and delayed leaving the ice for the intermission until it was clear that he would get up and skate off on his own power as he did. Marsh returned to the ice at the start of the third period.

Third Period

Shortly into the final period the Pioneers went on the power play as Vince Pedrie was called for an interference penalty. Matt Skoff made a half-dozen amazing saves during the penalty, at times coming ten feet out of the net to cut off angles.

The Lions killed off the penalty but seconds later gave up the tying goal. Alec Butcher scored on an assist by Connor Doherty and Jacob Brightbill. The goal silenced the capacity crowd inside Pegula Ice Arena.

The teams played evenly for the next ten minutes with each team having several scoring chances.

Finally Tommy Olczyk broke through with a game-winning goal with just over eight minutes remaining in the game. Andrew Sturtz assisted on the goal. On the play, Sturtz got the puck to the front of the net and Olczyk pushed it through for the 3-2 lead.

The Lions chose to preserve the lead by continuing to try to score rather than play to defend the lead. The offensive assault put Sacred Heart on the defensive and it was unable to threaten to tie the game. With one minute remaining goalie Brett Magnus skated to the bench and SHU had an extra attacker with an empty net.

The Pioneers had a great chance to score with 20 seconds left but Matt Skoff covered the puck. With two seconds left in the game SHU sent a pass through the crease of Skoff but no player was able to get a stick to redirect it into the net.

The Lions will travel to Alaska for a pair of games this weekend with Alaska-Anchorage.

Check out the highlights from the games this weekend. You can see Saar's blast at around the 50 second mark and after that Berger's two gems.