No. 19 Penn State overcame a four-goal deficit to defeat Army on Saturday night. After trailing 6-2 in the second period, the Nittany Lions scored five unanswered goals to complete the largest comeback in program history.
Aiden Fink opened the goal scoring on a power play just two minutes into the contest. Jake Hewitt evened the score for Army just minutes later on its own power play. Later in the first, the Black Knights took advantage of sloppy Penn State turnovers to take a 3-1 lead on consecutive goals from Brent Keefer and Andrew Garby.
Simon Mack trimmed the deficit to one with three minutes left in the first period, and the score remained 3-2 entering the intermission.
Army once again flashed a quick-strike offense, scoring two goals 14 seconds apart in the first minute of the second period. Barron Woodring and Joey Baez pushed the Black Knights’ lead to 5-2. They would add on to their lead on a shorthanded tally by Max Itagaki at the 5:16 mark, putting the Nittany Lions in a four-goal hole.
Penn State was able to cut into the deficit in the second half of the period, as Reese Laubach deflected a point shot by linemate Matt DiMarsico into the back of the net. Ryan Kirwan scored an unassisted goal off a takeaway near the blue line with two minutes left to make it a 6-4 deficit for the Lions entering the final frame.
Penn State erased the deficit completely within the first three minutes of the third period, with Ryan Kirwan and Christian Berger scoring two goals just 57 seconds apart.
With the game at 4-on-4 halfway through the third, Aiden Fink slipped behind the Army defense with the open ice and beat Army goaltender Gavin Abric for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Players of the Game
Ryan Kirwan- 2 goals, 2 assists
Aiden Fink- 2 goals (GWG), 1 assist
Kirwan and Fink were instrumental in the Lions’ comeback victory. Kirwan tied his career-high 4 points in the win. Fink scored the game-winning goal in the third period, continuing his impressive freshman season.
Standings and Such
Conference standings were unaffected by the result, but the Nittany Lions did move up to No. 17 in the Pairwise rankings with this win. Penn State will likely need to be No. 13 or higher to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State will stay at home next weekend to face Michigan State. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday at 7pm. Game 2 is set for Saturday at 4:30pm and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.