|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
The Lions recovered from a loss on Monday with a solid three period effort in the second game of the Three Rivers Classic. The team took control midway through the first period and never looked back, holding the lead to the final whistle.
Senior goalie Matt Skoff played an incredible game in his hometown of Pittsburgh, making 36 saves, many of which could have easily found the back of the net. Skoff extends his personal unbeaten streak to eight games since mid-October.
Facing a solid Clarkson squad that had not allowed more than 34 shots on goal the entire season, PSU kept its composure for the first two periods and then exploded in the third period with 22 shots on goal.
The win will go a long way in keeping the Lions rated highly in the PairWise rankings. The team will have another short break, not playing again until January 8 when it hosts Minnesota. Three of the next four games will be televised on the Big Ten Network and ESPNU.
The first five minutes of the game featured a controlled pace with the teams feeling one another out. Penn State defenseman Vince Pedrie made the first mistake of the game, taking a penalty on a hold. The Lions were able to kill the penalty without facing a serious scoring chance. The Golden Knights got only one lazy shot on goal in two minutes with a man advantage. It was the 31st consecutive power play in which Clarkson failed to score, an ongoing problem for the team.
Two minutes later Penn State got the scoring started when Curtis Loik skated the puck behind the net of goaltender Steve Perry. Loik found Kenny Brooks with a pass who then stepped in front of the net and put the puck off the right skate of Perry and into the net. Loik and Chase Berger got an assist on the play.
Following the goal PSU took control of the next few minutes of play by squeezing Clarkson in the neutral zone, making it hard for the Golden Knights to set up the offense. The tactic paid off when a frustrated Troy Joseph took a cross-checking penalty for Clarkson in his own offensive zone.
The Lions immediately took the man advantage to heart, throwing pucks on net and charging Perry for the rebound. Perry was forced to make three saves in one rush and David Glen nearly scored on the first rebound. While Penn State was unable to score on the power play, it increased the momentum advantage that it had following the goal by Brooks.
Holding the puck in the Golden Knight zone for the majority of the final five minutes of the period, the tenacity paid off. David Thompson scored on a blast from the blue line with 13 seconds remaining in the period to take the Lion lead to 2-0 at the first intermission.
Following the goal there was pushing and shoving between the teams as the frustration for Clarkson began to boil over.
Clarkson came out with a burst of energy early in the second period. Ricky DeRosa was forced to take a holding penalty two minutes into the period. The Golden Knights were unable to get a shot on goal with the man advantage. The Lions took a penalty by David Thompson that briefly over-lapped the DeRosa infraction. Clarkson skated with a two-man advantage briefly but as the penalty expired, DeRosa left the penalty box and immediately had a breakaway. Only one Clarkson player was within range of slowing DeRosa down but he had lost his stick and was relatively helpless. DeRosa faked left and then came back for a backhand shot on Perry that was stopped by a kick save.
Penn State was able to kill the second penalty and soon after went on a power play of their own. It didn't take long for PSU to make it count. Zach Saar let a hard shot go from the point that was too hot for Perry to hold, Kenny Brooks tapped the puck back on the pads of Perry and it bounced out to a waiting David Goodwin, who finished the play with his fifth goal of the season. Brooks and Glen were credited with an assist.
While the shots and goals were in favor of Penn State, Clarkson was able to get a few high-quality scoring chances. Goalie Matt Skoff made several NHL caliber saves to keep the Golden Knights off the scoreboard. Skoff took part in the Penguins developmental camp in Pittsburgh this past summer.
Finally Clarkson broke through with a goal by Troy Josephs on a shot that Skoff was screened on and never had a chance to see. With seven minutes left in the period PSU held a 3-1 lead.
With three minutes left in the period Zach Saar laid a brutal hit on Paul Gieger of Clarkson and after the play the two teams got into a scuffle. Saar and Perry D'Arrisso went to the penalty box following the interaction on matching penalties. The teams skated four on four for the remainder of the period.
Late in the period Andrew Sturtz took a slashing penalty and the Lions started the final period on the penalty kill.
The final period began with Penn State on the penalty kill. On the second shift of the kill Eric Scheid took the puck from half-ice and held it all the way to the net for a short-handed goal. It was Scheid's second short-handed goal of the year and the impressive individual effort turned the momentum squarely back in favor of Penn State.
With a comfortable 4-1 lead Penn State played with very little apprehension, skating confident and with great fluidity.
Each team had a power play chance during the final period but neither was able to capitalize. With five minutes left in the game Conor Varley scored his first goal of the season to put the final nail in the Clarkson coffin. Alec Marsh and David Glen were credited with an assist on the play.