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Penn State Shuts Out Niagara, 4-0

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Oskar Autio’s 23 saves backstopped the now 4-1-0 Nittany Lions.

Heather Weikel | Black Shoe Diaries

It’s easy for goalies to go cold when facing limited action. In those cases, patience truly becomes the most important virtue. Fortunately, Oskar Autio has plenty of patience to his character.

“In today’s, not just student-athletes, but athletes in general, patience isn’t always what you see out of them. They want everything now,” Guy Gadowsky said. “Oskar was the guy that knew the situation, came in and was actually looking forward to the opportunity of learning, doing extremely well academically and getting acclimated and learning from a guy like Peyton Jones.”

Autio posted his fourth career shutout on Thursday night, stopping 23 shots as Penn State defeated Niagara 4-0.

Goals By Period

Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Team 1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Niagara 0 0 0 x 0
Penn State 1 2 1 x 4

“You love to see good things like this happen to him,” Gadowsky added.

For two-thirds of the game, Autio’s night was about as easy as they come. The Nittany Lions straight up dominated the Purple Eagles through 40 minutes, outshooting them 33-11 in that span.

The third period wasn’t as much of a cakewalk.

“I think we came out with a really good mentality and carried it through for the first two periods and in the third, we actually got beat,” Gadowsky said. “[Autio] absolutely earned that shutout, specifically in the third.”

Whether it was Penn State taking its foot off the gas or Niagara finally flipping the switch to “on,” the third period belonged to the Purple Eagles.

Though Kevin Wall’s goal early in the period effectively put the game out of reach, the Purple Eagles weren’t intent on rolling over. They outshot the Nittany Lions 12-5 over the final 20 minutes and finally gave some push back to what was a physically dominant performance for the Nittany Lions.

“In the third period, we just didn’t finish the game off,” Gadowsky said. “Obviously, if we come out tomorrow the way we played in the third, we’re going to be in big, big trouble. We’re going to have to readjust and get back to the mentality we had at the start of the game.”

How It Happened

Just past the midway point of the first period, the Nittany Lions opened the scoring. As Ben Copeland sped down the left wing, he rifled a backhand pass to Kevin Wall, who guided a shot past Chad Veltri.

Midway through the second period, Ben Schoen doubled the Nittany Lions’ lead with his first collegiate goal. After a scramble in front of Veltri, Schoen flipped a shot past the sprawled out goalie.

Late in the second, Christian Berger extended Penn State’s lead to three right off an offensive zone faceoff. Admittedly, I was looking at my laptop when the shot was taken, but even I probably saw more of it than Veltri.

Early in the third period, Kevin Wall netted his second of the game to once again extend Penn State’s lead. Having mesmerized the Purple Eagles, Ben Copeland wired a pass up ice to Ryan Kirwan, who started into the zone on a 3-on-1. Kirwan fed a pass to Wall, who beat Veltri short side past the blocker.