|Dylan Richard/David Goodwin
|David Goodwin/Trevor Hamilton
Shots On Goal
No one on the ice was certain of what happened. Those in attendance seemed even more confused. Denis Smirnov had just showed off his stickhandling prowess and appeared to have slipped the puck past Charles Williams.
The refs immediately and emphatically pointed toward the net, indicating a good goal, but Smirnov’s teammates hesitantly celebrated with the freshman forward.
Video review confirmed what those donning blue and white hoped for — Smirnov’s shot did indeed cross the goal line, but just barely.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t think it went in,” defenseman Kevin Kerr said following the game. “I went up to [Smirnov] immediately after and said ‘Did that go in?’ and he even said ‘I have no idea.’” The puck crossed the goal line just as Canisius goalie Charles Williams kicked the net off its moorings. So while it appeared that the shot did not go into the net, that was correct, but it was due to the fact that the net was momentarily knocked back.
The goal gave No. 19 Penn State a 3-1 lead, and stood as the game winner in the Nittany Lions 4-2 victory over Canisius on Saturday night.
Unlike Friday’s matchup, the Griffins opened the scoring in Saturday’s contest less than four minutes into the opening period. Jesse Pereira gave his team the lead with a wicked wrist shot from the right circle that beat Peyton Jones over the glove.
Kevin Kerr responded for the Lions roughly six minutes later. The freshman defenseman weaved his way through the offensive zone then fired a wrist shot over Williams’ glove. Watch as Nikita Pavlychev passes the puck the Kerr and then heads to the front of the net. At 6’7, Pavlychev is quite a distraction in front of the goalie, and he created a great deal of movement as the puck was heading toward the net.
Shortly after Kerr’s goal, the Lions took their first lead of the game thanks to their leading goal scorer, Andrew Sturtz. While shorthanded, Sturtz batted the puck through a defenseman’s legs and found himself with a breakaway. After a nifty deke, he roofed the puck over Williams’ glove. The goal was Sturtz’s team leading fifth and his second shorthanded goal of the season.
Smirnov extended the Lion’s lead miway through the second period, but the Griffins responded just two and a half minutes later with a shorthanded goal of their own. Pereira picked up his second of the game after firing a wrister over Jones’s blocker on a breakaway.
It appeared early in the third period that the Griffins tied the game. Dylan McLaughlin danced his way through the offensive zone and slid the puck through Jones’s legs. Upon review of the play, however, it was ruled that Canisius was offsides, disallowing the goal and keeping the Lions in front.
Coach Guy Gadowsky explained after the game that David Goodwin was the one who called for the coach’s challenge that revealed the offsides to the officials.
“He saw it and he made the call,” Gadowsky said. “I’d love to take credit for that but I can’t.”
Sturtz added that Goodwin’s call was an example of the leadership the Lions’ captain brings to the team.
“That shows how good of a leader he is,” Sturtz said. “He’s paying attention at all times and he saved us [from] what could’ve been a tie game at that point. That leadership goes the whole 60 minutes and he proved to do that whether he’s on the ice or off the ice.”
The Lions extended their lead midway through the period with a power play goal from Chase Berger. After Goodwin carried the puck in front of the Giffins’ net, he found Berger for a back door slam dunk that restored the Lions two-goal lead.
Saturday’s win gave the Lions their first series sweep of the season. They had previously split with No. 16 St. Lawrence and tied the first game of their series against No. 3 Notre Dame. Gadowsky reiterated how much confidence a series sweep can give his team going forward.
“Any time that you come away with a sweep I think it’s a great weekend,” Gadowsky said. “There’s no such thing as a mediocre sweep.”
Penn State hosts Niagara at home next weekend and is expected to have similar results.