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Penn State Opens Season With 3-1 Win Over LIU

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The Nittany Lions were on their way to a comfortable win until a late goal gave the Sharks life.

Heather Weikel | Black Shoe Diaries

Goals By Period

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

Heading into the season, Guy Gadowsky wasn’t exactly sure who would step up and produce for Penn State. Though it’s just one game against a second-year program, he might be getting a clearer picture of who he can look to.

Freshmen Ryan Kirwan and Danny Dzhaniyev both registered a pair of points in their first collegiate games as the Nittany Lions held on for a 3-1 win over Long Island University. Kirwan’s first career goal in his first period of action opened the scoring for the Nittany Lions’ 2021-22 season.

Gadowsky wasn’t all too surprised at the duo’s production, but still doesn’t want to get ahead of himself with the expectation that production will continue.

“Anybody that’s watched Danny and Ryan, I mean no, there’s no surprise,” he said. “But still, it’s one game. [We’ll] see who’s going to do it at a consistent level and to do it at a Big Ten level.”

Through two periods, it seemed the Nittany Lions were well on their way to a comfortable victory. Though they held just that two-goal margin, the Sharks weren’t giving off the impression of a team ready to mount a comeback.

Then again, Penn State has never given off the impression of a team ready to stop a team from mounting a comeback. As the third period progressed, the Sharks seemed to start smelling blood in the water.

After managing 12 shots over the first two periods of play, the Sharks doubled their total in the third period alone, testing goalie Oskar Autio more than he had been through the first 40 minutes.

For a good portion of the period, Autio stood tall, particularly during a penalty kill midway through.

“I thought [that] showed a lot of mental toughness on his part,” Gadowsky said.

The Sharks ultimately broke Autio’s shutout bid with just over six minutes to play and put the Nittany Lions even more on their heels. Before the Sharks could pull goalie Kris Carlson for the extra attacker, Connor McMenamin slipped a shot past the LIU goalie to seal the game for the Nittany Lions.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions opened the scoring mere seconds into their first power play opportunity, as Danny Dzhaniyev fed Ryan Kirwan in the left faceoff circle for the freshman’s first career goal.

Just a few minutes later, that duo combined again to double the Nittany Lions lead. After having a shot attempt blocked, Kirwan rounded the goal and slid the puck into the crease. Chase McLane was there to poke the puck past a sprawled out Kris Carlson.

After a scoreless second period, the Sharks cut Penn State’s lead in half with just over six minutes to play in the third period. Nolan Welsh powered his was past the Nittany Lions defense and managed to knock the puck past Oskar Autio.

With one minute exactly remaining, Connor McMenamin restored Penn State’s two-goal lead as he jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone and snuck a shot between Carlson’s arm and body.