Penn State got a series sweep to start the 2018-19 season 2-0. After giving up the first goal, the Lions scored the next five in a very competitive game. Clarkson put a solid team out on the ice and should contend for a spot in the NCAA Tournament later in the season.
Nikita Pavlychev had a goal and two assists. Nate Sucese had a pair of assists. Brandon Biro, Aarnie Talvitie and Chase Berger added a goal and an assist for Penn State as well.
Following the game coach Gadowsky spoke about the way that the team was able to play as opposed to Thursday night. “We needed some big saves, obviously, but that’s hockey and you’re not going to be consistent without it. And we got them from Peyton. I thought we were fairly consistent in all three zones. It was overall a great team effort.”
Coach Gadowsky was asked about the performance of freshman Aarnie Talvitie. “That was his first real game on the NHL size of ice on Thursday night. It seemed like he needed a little time to adjust. It didn’t take him long because tonight he was excellent. He won battles and he made plays. He looked very comfortable.”
On Nikita Pavlychev: “He’s got a great mentality. He’s got talent, obviously. But for him, sometimes guys that are 6’8 take a little time to grow into their body. It’s not that we changed anything. He’s working very hard in the weight room. Last summer we asked him to shoot more and hit the net. I think he took that to heart. I know that he got points tonight but I thought that he was just great defensively. I thought he had a great defensive weekend.”
Peyton Jones was in net for Penn State after Chris Funkey got the start on Thursday. In the first minute of play, Jones was tested but able to stop a close-range shot. A couple of minutes later Clarkson got a 2 on 1 and the lone defenseman Cole Hults was unable to stop the puck as Nico Sturm passed it across to Grant Cooper who finished for his first goal of the season.
It didn’t take long for Penn State to answer. Alex Limoges gathered the puck off a face-off won by Evan Barratt in front of Jake Kielly and put it in the net to tie the game at one apiece. Barratt got the assist on the play.
Off a face-off just to the left of Kielly, the puck came to Nikita Pavlychev, who fired a shot on net. Kielly was unable to hold the rebound and Aarnie Talvitie knocked it into the back of the net for his first goal as a Nittany Lion. Pavlychev and Chase Berger assisted on the play.
With 12:30 to play in the opening period, Limoges was called for the first penalty of the day, a tripping call, giving Clarkson the power play. Alex Stevens made a nice block during the penalty kill and while he was hobbled, remained in front of Peyton Jones long enough to allow his team to clear the puck. The Lions were able to kill off the penalty.
The teams skated fast from end to end for the next ten minutes with each side getting quality scoring chances. With 2:41 left before the first intermission the Lions went on the penalty kill again, this time when Cole Hults went to the box for holding. Jones faced a couple of tough shots but was able to protect the one-goal lead.
Liam Folkes missed an empty net on a crossing pass in front of Jake Kielly early in the second period. Following the play, Alex Limoges and Jordan Schneider went to the ice with some post-whistle jostling. A minute later tempers rose again and this time the Lions were called for slashing. Sam Sternschein went to the box for two minutes. Nikita Pavlychev took a couple of players to the ice while on the penalty kill, invoking oohs and ahhs from the stands inside the Pegula Ice Arena. With time running out on the penalty, Peyton Jones made a save on a point-blank shot.
With five minutes off the clock in the second period, Nikita Pavlychev came off the bench and the puck was immediately on his stick in the Clarkson zone. An initial shot was deflected but Pavlychev stuck with the play and put a second shot in for his first goal of the year. Nate Sucese and Brandon Biro assisted on the play.
Midway through the game Clarkson held a 20-15 advantage in shots on goal while Penn State had a 3-1 lead. Six penalty minutes against the Lions and none for the opponent had a lot to do with the discrepancy.
Brandon Biro put the next PSU shot past Kielly a few minutes later. Nate Sucese corralled a messy Clarkson pass in the neutral zone and immediately he and Biro were on a 2 on 1 since the defense was caught in the process of changing. Sucese led the puck in front of Biro and the assistant captain finished for his second goal of the season. Pavlychev assisted on the goal along with Sucese.
Penn State went on the power play for the first time but was unable to take advantage, and the teams were back to skating even with five minutes to play in the frame. Guy Gadowsky called timeout late in the period following a couple of shots that nearly got past Jones to settle his team down.
The third period began with Clarkson frantically working to get back into the game. The speed on both sides increased and the play was crisp, but the score remained 4-1 in favor of the Lions. With eight minutes to play and the writing on the wall beginning to get clearer for visiting Clarkson, the hitting picked up.
With four minutes to play a shot hit the post behind Peyton Jones and seconds later he made a save to stop a scoring chance. Clarkson pulled Kielly after the whistle to try to cut into the lead. Instead Chase Berger took a pass from behind the empty net from Sam Sternschein and put it in to make it 5-1.