Entering the weekend without two of the team’s top four defensemen, Penn State was going to need some unsung heroes to rise to the occasion. In Friday night’s x-x win over Robert Morris, a regular on the Nittany Lions’ third defense pairing did just that.
James Gobetz, who entered the game with just one assist in 15 games playing limited minutes, was slotted alongside Trevor Hamilton with Kevin Kerr out with a broken wrist. The transition was almost seamless for the sophomore defenseman, who posted the game-winning goal and an assist.
The Colonials opened the scoring midway through the first period. On their lone power play of the opening frame, Michael Louria buried the rebound of Eric Israel’s point shot.
Early in the second period, Nate Sucese responded for the Nittany Lions. Brandon Biro took a cross ice feed from James Gobetz and fired a pass to the front of the goal, where Sucese steered the puck past Marotte.
Midway through the second, Sam Sternschein gave the Lions their first lead of the night. After a scramble in front of the net, the puck came to the point, where Alex Limoges fired a wrist shot on goal. Sternschein made his way in front of Francis Marotte and deflected the high shot through the goaltender’s legs.
Near the end of the period, James Gobetz doubled the Lions’ lead. After Andrew Sturtz drove to the net, Marotte poked the puck off his stick. Gobetz followed up on the play, hammering the rebound over Marotte’s glove.
The Lions extended their lead just 34 seconds into the final frame. Five seconds into a man advantage, a point shot by Kris Myllari ricocheted off the end boards and in off Marotte’s pad.
Midway through the third period, Brady Ferguson brought the Colonials back to within two, jamming the puck past Jones as the Lions’ goalie tried to squeeze the puck against the post.
Late in the game, the Lions re-established their three-goal lead, as Chase Berger outwaited Morette on a two-on-one with Andrew Sturtz.
Shortly after the goal, Guy Gadowsky pulled Peyton Jones in favor of senior goalie and Bethlehem, Pa. native Matt Erlichman. The move to play as many hometown players as possible is not uncommon for Gadowsky, who routinely started local players when the Lions would travel to Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.