Cuteness has never been Penn State’s MO. Though the Nittany Lions are routinely among the nation’s highest scoring teams, they rather get their goals through hustle and grit, not toe drags and water bottle poppers.
Yet, every so often, the Nittany Lions come into a game thinking they can play that cute style. It’s happened in good seasons and bad, but the result is often the same. So it was on Friday night.
While the Nittany Lions were looking for their highlight reels, Canisius out grit, out hit, and straight up out played the Nittany Lions, handing them their first loss of the season, 4-1.
Goals By Period
“We’ve gone through that attitude in the past and had to change it,” Gadowsky said. “Hopefully this is a really good lesson because we’re not a cute team, but we played like we wanted to be tonight.”
The shot chart is very much in the Penn State Hockey mold. The Nittany Lions outshot the Golden Griffins 40-31. But the point reiterates, wanting to be cute doesn’t lead to scoring chances, at least not for the Nittany Lions.
“If there were pucks laying around, we weren’t there to pick them up,” captain Paul DeNaples said. “So yeah, it was a lot of shots, but I really don’t think we created chances at all.”
With the benefit of hindsight, both Gadowsky and DeNaples could tell the game was not theirs early on. They were caught in a tricky situation, however, as the game hadn’t yet gotten out of their grasp by the time the puck dropped for the third period.
At that point, the two teams were even at a goal apiece. At the same time, it seemed the Golden Griffins were ready to make the game theirs, not just on the ice, but on the scoreboard as well.
“It’s tough to recognize in game unless it’s really bad,” DeNaples said.
How It Happened
After a scoreless first period, the Golden Griffins opened the scoring early in the second. J.D. Pogue finished off a sublime passing sequence, flipping a wrister over the pad of Oskar Autio.
The Nittany Lions responded quickly, however. Just over a minute and a half later, Simon Mack sent a seeing-eye backhand pass to Kevin Wall at the back post. Wall guided the puck past Jacob Barczewski’s glove.
Midway through the third period, the Golden Griffins regained the lead as a centering pass ricocheted just over the goal line off the leg of Keaton Mastrodonato.
A few minutes later, the Golden Griffins doubled their advantage. After another hectic defensive zone shift for the Nittany Lions, Lee Lapid found himself all alone in the slot against Autio. The Penn State goalie got a piece of Lapid’s wrister with the glove, but not enough as the puck bounced into the net.
With just over three minutes to play, Pogue put the game fully out of reach as he hit the empty net from 150 feet out.