Chase Berger openly admitted that he isn’t the most vocal of captains. Instead, he tries to let his play on the ice inspire his teammates.
Saturday evening, his leadership style was on full display.
Berger scored the game-winning goal early in the third period of Penn State’s 4-1 win over Niagara, helping his Nittany Lions complete a weekend sweep of the Purple Eagles.
Berger’s impact on a game doesn’t always show up on the score sheet, but his commitment to Penn State’s style of play is something that often leads to success.
“I don’t think you’re always going to lead by scoring a goal like that,” Berger said after the game. “I think just doing the little things right, I think that’s kind of contagious.
Berger’s tally certainly seemed to spark the Nittany Lions. While they had outshot the Purple Eagles 35-22 through the first 40 minutes, the two teams entered the third period knotted at one. A strong start to the final frame was crucial for the Nittany Lions to come away with a victory.
“We knew we had to come out strong, starting with a minute left on the power play. We scored right after that,” sophomore Alex Limoges said after the game. “It was our time to kind of take over the game and set the pace for the third period.”
The goal helped ignite Penn State’s offense. A little less than three minutes later, Limoges added an insurance tally. The Nittany Lions had to rely on some supreme goaltending by Peyton Jones, who made 15 stops in the third period, but held on for the win after Kris Myllari added an empty net goal late in regulation.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions benefitted from some early penalty trouble by the Purple Eagles. On Penn State’s second opportunity, Kris Myllari’s shot from down low bounced off Nikita Pavlychev’s leg and into the net, getting the Nittany Lions on the board first.
After plenty of quality chances for both sides, the Purple Eagles responded midway through the second period. After Eric Cooley’s wrister was stopped by Peyton Jones, Justin Kendall drove hard to the net and swatted the puck out of the air and into the net to draw the teams even at one.
The Nittany Lions regained the lead early in the third period shortly after another power play came to an end, as Chase Berger finished off a tic-tac-toe play by burying a backhand shot past Niagara goaltender Cole Weaver.
Just three minutes later, Alex Limoges doubled Penn State’s lead. After a perfect pass from behind the net by Evan Barratt, Limoges punched a one timer over Weaver’s blocker.
With just over three minutes left to play and trailing by two, the Purple Eagles pulled Weaver for the extra skater. Moments later, Kris Myllari launched a 200-foot shot that bounced into the vacated cage.