Penn State came out flat early in this one. It was clear through the second period that the team was struggling to find the cohesion that it has played with earlier this season. It looked as if a second period goal by Niagara would be enough to skate away with a victory. Thankfully, a late-third-period goal from Dylan Richard on the power play was enough to push this game to overtime. Neither team was able to break through in overtime, but while Penn State was unable to win the game, the tie will allow the squad to consider the road trip worthwhile. There will be lessons learned.
The seniors showed flashes of the leadership that they will provide as the year wears on. In crucial moments the upperclassmen stepped forward to steer the team in the right direction. Matt Skoff played a great game in net, collecting the second consecutive tie for the senior goaltender.
|Shots on Goal
The teams started out slow for the first five minutes of the game. Penn State had trouble passing and maintaining possession in its zone. Niagara wasn't having very much luck threatening PSU goalie Matt Skoff as it too played a choppy first quarter of the period.
With fourteen minutes left in the period Andrew Sturtz of Penn State was called for a slashing penalty and the team went on the penalty kill. The Lions were able to kill off the penalty while allowing Niagara only one quality shot while it had an extra skater. After the penalty, with just over ten minutes remaining in the period, PSU held the advantage in shots on goal 7-2.
Alec Marsh had a great chance to score a couple minutes later on a redirection of a Luke Juha shot but goalie Joe O'Brien of Niagara was able to make an impressive glove save.
With six minutes left in the period Penn State began to skate with the intensity that it has demonstrated for most of the season. The team forced the issue on Niagara, contesting the puck at every chance, and the talent advantage for PSU began to show. The effort paid off as the Purple Eagles were forced to take a penalty. On the power play there were many chances to score, including a Dylan Richard shot that deflected off the post, but none would get to the back of the net.
On the next possession after the penalty Eric Scheid skated alone down the ice on a breakaway, stopped momentarily to allow teammates to join him for a 3 on 1 chance, and threw a great shot on net but O'Brien trapped the shot on his blocker with his glove, and the threat was turned away.
With just twelve seconds left in the period PSU went on the power play. Eric Autio was able to get two quality shots off but was not able to score.
The Lions started the period with 1:48 left in the power play and came out with a much sharper approach. Passes were crisp and the team got a few chances to score but the penalty ended with the game still tied at 0.
The advantage in shots was in favor of Guy Gadowsky's squad 16-6 four minutes into the second. That's when a bizarre play happened behind the Niagara net. David Goodwin got tangled with Niko Kovachis and the two ended up with their helmets stuck together. Play was stopped and the players took off the helmets and pried them loose. This happens in football once in a while but seldom do hockey players end up with entangled helmets.
Six minutes in Tommy Olczyk took a turnover in the Niagara zone and got a great shot but did not score. The game picked up the pace at this point and for the next few minutes the teams skated briskly and play went back and forth quickly. PSU had several looks at scoring a goal but each attempt was a one and done, with no rebound or follow-up chance on the initial charge.
Kenny Brooks took a penalty for the Lions with six minutes left in the period. Penn State was able to kill off the penalty but Niagara was able to use the man advantage to pause the thrust in momentum it had ceded to the visiting team.
With a minute left in the period Curtis Loik was called for a penalty and Niagara went on the power play. Up to this point in the second period and game the Lions had held the overall advantage. Just seconds into the penalty, the Purple Eagles grabbed the lead when Derian Plouffe scored on a nice shot from the point, giving Niagara a 1-0 advantage.
After the goal Penn State came back with some very inspired skating. It was clear that the team felt a sense of urgency, now facing a one-goal deficit. The period ended with the puck in Niagara's defensive zone and goalie Joe O'Brien being peppered with shots off PSU sticks.
Penn State came out with a heightened sense of intensity to start the period. A few minutes in it went on the power play. While the team was able to get numerous shots on goal with the man advantage, it was unable to score a goal.
With fifteen minutes left in the game, down a goal on the road, the Lions were called for a questionable penalty as a Niagara player took a soccer dive and Dylan Richard went to the penalty box. Luke Juha made a critical block of a Niagara shot during the penalty kill and cleared the puck while still on his knees, and skated in clear pain to the bench after the play.
Minutes later Tommy Olczyk was the victim of a high elbow and the Lions went on the power play. Before the play was stopped, PSU was able to get goalie Matt Skoff off the ice and an extra skater joined the effort for nearly thirty seconds. Olczyk left the ice during the delayed penalty and his replacement joined the offensive push. Niagara was able to cover the second shot on goal in the push and Penn State went on the power play.
Once again the Lions were unable to score with the extra skater.
With 4:09 remaining in the game and PSU down a goal, Niagara committed another penalty. Dylan Richard finally broke through with a power play goal on an assist from Eric Scheid. After the tying goal the Lions finally played fast and sharp as it had for the better part of the year. As time expired in regulation Niagara peppered Matt Skoff with several shots that could have stolen the game for the home team.
The period ended with the team tied 1-1.
The overtime period felt more like a PSU power play. The team was intent on winning the game and it had many chances to do so. Andrew Sturtz had two quality shots on net and Vince Pedrie hit the post when the goal was wide open. David Goodwin, David Glen, Curtis Loik, all had chances to give the Lions a shot at the win.
But it wasn't to be. The game ended in a tie.
|Goal Summary - Game
Derian Plouffe (2)
Dylan Richard (4) - PPG
Stars of The Game
First Star (★): Joe O'Brien, Niagara- 39 saves
Second Star (★★): Derien Plouffe, Niagara- 1 goal
Third Star (★★★): Dylan Richard, Penn State- 1 goal
-Penn State will take on Sacred Heart on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. in the friendly confines of Pegula Ice Arena. The following week it will travel to Alaska to take on Alaska-Anchorage.
-David Goodwin's consecutive points scored streak ended. Goodwin scored a point in the team's first seven games.
-Before the game Tommy and Eddie Olczyk took time to pose for a picture on the ice. Eddie is an assistant coach for Niagara.