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3D Line Dominates For Penn State Hockey: PSU Defeats Arizona State 7-4

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Denis, Dylan, and ‘Drew had a special chemistry, providing five goals for the Nittany Lions.

Photo by Heather Weikel

Scoring Summary

Team First Period Second Period Third Period Final Score
Penn State 4 1 2 7
Arizona State 2 1 1 4
Period Time Team Type Goal Assist
1 0:58 PSU EV Denis Smirnov Andrew Sturtz
1 8:21 ASU EV Tyler Busch David Norris
1 12:18 PSU PP Andrew Sturtz Vince Pedrie, Erik Autio
1 15:05 PSU EV Andrew Sturtz Dylan Richard
1 15:16 PSU EV Denis Smirnov Derian Hamilton
1 18:10 ASU EV Steenn Pasichnuk Robbie Baillargeon, Wade Murphy
2 3:29 PSU EV Denis Smirnov Dylan Richard
2 5:03 ASU EV Brett Gruber Riley Simpson, Joe Lappin
3 3:13 ASU EV Jakob Stridsberg unassisted
3 13:16 PSU EV Nate Sucese Nikita Pavlychev
3 19:02 PSU EV Alec Marsh Liam Folkes

Shots On Goal

Team First Period Second Period Third Period Total
Penn State 20 18 16 54
Arizona State 12 7 7 26

No. 3 Penn State (10-1-1) took care of business at home in a game played in front of less than a capacity crowd in Pegula Ice Arena. With Thanksgiving break looming, many students that normally fill out the Roar Zone were not in attendance for the game. As a result the Lions had to generate their own momentum on the ice.

In the early-going, there didn’t seem to be a problem. Penn State got five goals in the first 23 minute from its first line, the newly formed trio of Dylan Richard, Denis Smirnov, and Andrew Sturtz. The two snipers in Sturtz and Smirnov, playing alongside the versatile and savvy Dylan Richard, dominated the early part of the game.

It was a grouping that coach Gadowsky had thought about using together previously but hadn’t had the right chance to give it a shot. With Andrew Sturtz returning from an injury it seemed like the right time to try playing the best two scoring threats that the team has on one line, alongside another top-end player, to see if it could produce more than the two talented stars would while headlining two separate lines.

Coach Gadowsky had this to say about the decision:

It was something that we wanted to see for a while but we didn’t know when. Tonight was a good night to do it (play Sturtz and Smirnov together.) I think Rocket (Dylan Richard) is a great player to play with them. I think with Denis, there isn’t a line you can put together with him on it that you aren’t going to like.

And while the Lions were off and rolling with their quick scoring, Arizona State quietly kept in the game, adding a goal here and there to keep the game within striking range.

Penn State came out flat for the third period, and after allowing a late second-period goal, was leading by just one goal following another Arizona State goal early in the final period.

The Lions regrouped adding two goals in the third period to ice the game.

The teams play the final game of the series on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena. The game will be streamed live for free at Gopsusports.com.

Game Summary

Denis Smirnov entered the game as one of the nation’s leading scorers and it didn’t take him long to add to his total. On the first shift of the game, Smirnov finished a rebound off an Andrew Sturtz shot for his sixth goal of the season. Sturtz returned to the lineup after missing the two games last weekend while nursing a lower-leg injury.

The game was played at a very brisk pace for the next ten minutes with each team gaining scoring chances and no whistles interrupting play. Arizona State tied the game at one apiece when Tyler Busch beat Peyton Jones on a point-blank shot off a rebound to break the competitive stalemate.

Andrew Sturtz scored on a great pass from Vince Pedrie just a few minute later to give the Lions a lead once again. Pedrie saw Sturtz camped out in front of the net and threw a pass at his stick, just a few inches off the ice. Sturtz was able to redirect the puck past ASU goalie Joey Daccord.

Shortly after Peyton Jones made a great save, diving with his stick to rob Arizona State of a tying goal. The Sun Devils were putting on the heat, trying to get back in the game, but the freshman goalie was up to the challenge, stopping a flurry of good shots. Jones remains the only starting goalie in college hockey that has yet to lose a game. At 10-0-0, he has yet to lose a game in net during his college career.

Just a couple of minutes passed on the clock before Sturtz struck again. Off a face-off won by Dylan Richard, Sturtz took the puck and placed it on the top shelf above Daccord’s glove, right where Nana keeps the sweet treats, or thin mints if you will. It was a pretty finish by the sophomore sniper.

Eleven seconds later Denis Smirnov scored to take the lead to 4-1 with less than five minutes remaining the the opening period. At this point it appeared that the game was headed for an easy finish for the Lions, but ASU had other plans.

Steenn Pasichnuk of Arizona State gave the visiting team a glimmer of hope when he batted a rebound out of the air in front of Peyton Jones for the Sun Devils’ second goal of the night. Just as Penn State seemed to be gaining control, Arizona State answered.

Denis Smirnov extended the Penn State lead to 5-2 a few minutes later with his third goal of the night, a hat-trick, and also the fifth goal of the night for the line of Richard, Smirnov, and Sturtz. In recognition of the feat, many Penn State hockey fans removed the garments worn on their heads and tossed them onto the ice.

Brett Gruber scored before the end of the second period to cut the lead to 5-3, as Arizona State showed that it was willing to fight back.

Penn State came out for the third period with very little energy. For the first five minutes of the period, the Lions lacked the urgency that it has played with this season. As a result, ASU cut the lead to 5-4 a few minutes into the final period. While the Lions dominated play to this point, a couple of sloppy mistakes made the margin of error just one goal.

After about five minutes of tense play, where the feeling was that Penn State dominated in all but the score, the Lions were able to add to the lead. Nikita Pavlychev took the puck behind the net, and using the reach and angles available only to a player with his 6’7 frame, he got a shot on net that Daccord was unable to corral, and Nate Sucese finished the rebound to give the Lions a 6-4 lead.

Alec Marsh added a goal with a minute remaining in the game to give the Lions a 7-4 win.

Stars of the Game

Denis Smirnov, Penn State- 3 goals. First career hat-trick.

Andrew Sturtz, Penn State- 2 goals, 1 assist.

Dylan Richard, Penn State- 2 assists.