No. 16 Penn State defeated LIU 3-2 Saturday night in the season opener for both squads, before a sellout crowd at the Norwell Health Ice Center.
The first period was a defensive struggle, with both teams mostly unable to generate quality scoring chances. Penn State finally cracked through with 3 seconds remaining in the period when Matt DiMarsico deflected a point shot into the net. The Nittany Lions carried the 1-0 lead in the 2nd.
LIU took control in the second, striking quickly on an odd-man rush. Riley Wallack beat goalie Liam Souliere high glove side less than 3 minutes into the period to even the score. The Sharks would add on to their momentum just two minutes later, with Wallack scoring his second goal of the game.
It looked like Penn State was going to carry the 2-1 deficit into the third period, but the Nittany Lions found the tying goal in the final minute of the second. Danny Dzhaniyev found Ryan Kirwan on a beautiful centering pass, and Kirwan capitalized on his quality scoring chance to even the score at 2 entering the third.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, LIU’s Noah Kane received a game misconduct for a hit to the head on Penn State freshman Reese Laubach. Freshman Dylan Lugris redirected a point shot by Ryan Kirwan into the net with 3 seconds remaining on the power play to give Penn State the lead with 5:13 to play. LIU challenged the goal for offside, but the good goal ruling was upheld after review.
LIU generated a couple of chances in the waning minutes of the game, but Penn State’s defense clamped down to close out a season-opening 3-2 win.
Penn State will travel to Clarkson Friday (7 p.m.) and St. Lawrence Saturday (7 p.m.) to wrap up the road swing.