Icers Split With Delaware to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
The Penn State Icers went into their series with Delaware last weekend knowing that getting swept would probably end their playoff aspirations. After losing the first match up on Friday, the Icers were able to avoid the sweep by grinding out a victory on Saturday.
Without head coach Scott Balboni and players Tim O’Brien and Eric Steinhour, who are at the 2011 World University Games, Penn State faced a tough test against fourth-ranked Delaware. On Friday, Delaware was the stronger of the teams, winning 4-2. Delaware scored first, and the teams traded goals in the second period. In the third, Delaware pulled away for the victory. Paul Daley and George Saad were the goal-scorers for the Icers.
Penn State was able to strike first on Saturday. Mike McDonagh scored at the 4:42 mark in the first period to put the Icers on top. Michael Longo scored the second goal 11 minutes into the second period, but Delaware made a furious comeback. The Blue Hens scored twice in the final 1:16 to tie up the game. In the third period, Mike Broccolo scored his first goal of the season to give Penn State a 3-2 advantage. Delaware pressed hard, but the Icers held on for the win. Mathew Madrazo had 43 saves on 45 shots in the victory.
With the series split, the Icers move to 18-8 overall and 8-4 in conference play. Getting a win against the fourth-ranked team in the country also keeps the Icers playoff hopes alive. The tough schedule does not end with Delaware. Next up for Penn State is a home series against sixth-ranked Rhode Island. Once again, the Icers will face a weekend in which winning at least once is necessary to keep their playoff dreams afloat.
Friday: vs. Rhode Island, 9 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Rhode Island, 2 p.m.