The men’s hockey team split its series with Alaska-Anchorage, winning 2-1 on Thursday before dropping a tough 6-5 contest last night.
Noah Grannan earned the start in net for Penn State. Christian Sarlo drew first blood for the Nittany Lions early in the first period. off a beautiful deflection. The Nittany Lions maintained their lead into the second period, when Danny Dzhaniyev lifted a shot past UAA goalie Jared Whale. The Seawolves answered later in the second off a rebound to cut the Penn State lead to just a goal. Both defenses tightened up in the third period, and the Nittany Lions were able to seal up their 2-1 lead and hold on for the win. Penn State outshot UAA 54-26 in the first game.
The first period saw the two teams combine for six goals. After Jacques Bouquot and Danny Dzhaniyev added early goals for the Lions, Alaska-Anchorage was able to seize control of the game in the back half of the first period. The Seawolves scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to take a 4-2 lead entering the second period. Penn State was able to tie the game 5 minutes into the second off an early goal from captain Christian Berger and a shorthanded goal by Reese Laubach. The Seawolves countered with a goal from Connor Marritt with just under six minutes to play in the second, and they would later extend the lead to 6-4 at 1:14 of the third period. Desperately looking for offense in the closing minutes, Penn State pulled the goalie while on the power play, and Dylan Lugris finally found the back of the net with 12 seconds to play. It was too little, too late, and the Nittany Lions settled for the series split. The loss was Liam Souliere’s first of the season after starting 4-0.
The Nittany Lions fell to No. 22 in the Pairwise, the ranking system used to select teams to the NCAA Tournament. It is still early, but the non-conference schedule did not offer much margin for error entering the season. Normally, the team needs to be ranked No. 14 or higher to gain an at-large bid. This ranking will change throughout the season as more games are played, but the Lions appear to be behind the 8-ball so far.
Penn State will host Notre Dame next Saturday (7:30pm) and Sunday (4:30pm on B1G Network) to open conference play.