Penn State hockey faced one of its toughest conference road tests on Friday night. The teams were even for most of the night until the Irish pulled away late in the game. Andrew Sturtz scored for the 47th time in his Penn State career, the most in program history. It was a game that the Lions could have won. Instead, the team looks to take the second game of the series for a conference road split.
The teams will finish the series on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The game that will be televised nationally on NBCSN.
The teams came out playing with a very fast pace. Notre Dame rang a shot off the post in the first minute of the game but it was Blake Gober and Penn State that got on the board first. Alec Marsh held off the defense and got the puck to Gober to give the Lions a much-needed 1-0 lead on the road.
The lead lasted for nearly ten minutes before Notre Dame got a goal from Bo Brauer. The skating was end-to-end at a high pace with each team having quality scoring chances but the game remained tied. Peyton Jones made a nice save with five minutes left in the period. Jones came ready to play in this difficult road game, following a series of unsatisfying performances earlier in the year for the sophomore goalie.
Late in the period, Nikita Pavlychev gave the Jones and the Lions a huge boost with this individual play and a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The second period continued with each team skating aggressively. Three minutes in the Lions went on the first power play of the game. The advantage came and went but with it Guy Gadowsky’s squad was able to keep the pressure on the Fighting Irish.
With 10:46 left in the second period Peyton Jones let in a soft goal on a slapshot from the point. It was like a visit from the ghosts that haunted PSU and the young talented goalie in recent weeks. Kris Myllari put the puck in the net just a few seconds later for Penn State to give the Lions the lead once again. After review, the play was called interference and the goal was not allowed.
A couple of minutes later another questionable interference call was given to Notre Dame. A cynical fan would see that as a makeup call. The Lions were not able to take advantage of the power play. Like considering a bird in the hand for two in the bush; Penn State traded a biscuit in the basket for two on the baking sheet. Or something like that. The questionable ruling in favor of Notre Dame got the Irish a goal wiped off the board; for the Lions, the team was given a chance to score to right the mistake by the refs and was unable to do so.
Minutes later Notre Dame got a goal by Andrew Oglevie to take a 3-2 lead.
Andrew Sturtz tied the game moments later with his Penn State record-setting goal.
Nothing changed in the final period as each team was skating with fury and laying it all on the line. Through the first five minutes the Lions held the advantage in terms of puck control but were not able to convert it into a goal.
With eight minutes left to play Dawson Cook gave Notre Dame a lead when he got a shot past Peyton Jones. The Lions had a few chances to score, including this flurry late in the period.
Guy Gadowsky pulled goalie Peyton Jones with two minutes remaining in the game to give his team an additional skater. Unfortunately it resulted in an empty-net goal for the Irish and a final score of 5-3.