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Lowell 3, Penn State 2: The Lions Lose In Overtime

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It was a hard fought game to the end.

Photo by Heather Weikel

It looked like Penn State was going to lose a close one in regulation but with 23 seconds left they scored a tying goal. Goalie Peyton Jones was on the bench while the Lions were on a power play, so the team had a 6 on 4 advantage, putting it all on the line for the tie.

Shortly into overtime, Lowell scored a power play goal for the win after a very soft tripping call on Clayton Phillips. On the day the Lions were just 1 of 6 on the power play, which may have cost them a chance to steal a win on the road against a good team.

Both teams were able to play their preferred style of play, with Lowell playing tough defense and finishing checks while the Lions used their speed to gain scoring chances. The loss in overtime is accounted for in the PairWise Rankings so this will not hurt the Lions very much overall.

It’s probably a good thing that these two teams did not play two games this weekend since it was a very rough game, with many tempers flaring. On two occasions a Penn State player was hit into the boards on penalties that were reviewed in case they were majors but neither were.

Penn State will travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan next weekend.

How It Happened

The teams came out skating evenly but five minutes in the River Hawks were called for the first penalty of the game. The Lions weren’t able to get much going as the power play came and went without a serious scoring threat.

Midway through the first period Penn State had an 11-2 edge in shots on goal. Clayton Phillips was called for interference and Lowell had a 5 on 4. The penalty was killed off and then a few minutes later, the Lions went on the power play again. Lowell had a short-handed chance which was more than what Penn State could do with the extra skater.

The intensity picked up for the final two minutes of the opening period. Peyton Jones made a save on a point blank shot but a minute later Lowell scored to take a 1-0 lead into the locker rooms.

A couple of minutes into the second period both teams were given a penalty. Skating 4 on 4, Alex Limoges found Evan Barratt from behind the net, and Barratt finished in the top shelf.

It didn’t take Lowell long to answer. Using the Lions’ aggressive offense against them, the River Hawks got a breakaway and Peyton Jones couldn’t stop it. With 12:46 to go in the second period Penn State went on another power play. Seconds into the advantage, Nate Sucese was called for running into the goalie and the teams skated 4 on 4 again.

No goals were scored and for a brief time the teams skated 5 on 5, until Lowell was called for having too many skaters on the ice. The Lions were unable to score, making it 0-4 on the power play to that point. Through the first 17 minutes of the second period Penn State had only 5 shots on goal.

The third period started with Penn State putting a great deal of pressure on the Lowell defense. By the midway point of the third it was clear that Lowell would be happy to mostly play defense for the rest of the game, trying to hold on to the 2-1 lead. The Lions took a penalty with 10 minutes to play that allowed more time to run off the clock before they were able to try to cut into the lead.

With 6:55 Clayton Phillips was taken to the ice from behind and the Lions had a power play, trailing by one goal with time becoming a factor. There were a couple of shots but no serious scoring chances. Lowell continued to disrupt Penn State’s attempts to get the puck into the offensive zone as time melted off the clock.

With 1:37 Penn State went on the power play one more time, this time with 6 skaters and no goalie. Tyler Gratton had a nice chance out front but was unable to finish. After the action players got into it for a few seconds before they settled down.

Moments later, with 23 seconds left, Nate Sucese got a tip off a Cole Hults shot for the game-tying goal.

There was a review on the play to see whether it was a high stick on the deflection, but you have to remember that the rule is the stick can’t be over the cross-bar, and Sucese is 5-foot-8. The goal stood and the game went to overtime.

The teams went to overtime where Clayton Phillips was called for a very soft tripping penalty. Peyton Jones made two great saves before the River Hawks got a rebound past him, getting the power play goal for the win.