UMass-Lowell Completes Series Sweep With 3-2 Win Over Men’s Hockey
There were a lot of positives to take away from Penn State’s 3-2 loss to UMass-Lowell on Friday night. The offense consistently generated good chances, the defense held its ground against the speedy UMass forwards, and goaltender Eamon McAdam showed promise in his first start at the Pegula Ice Arena.
But despite all the positives, there is still one fact that Penn State can’t escape: It’s only the second season of Division I hockey for the Nittany Lions.
For all the raw talent that the Nittany Lions have on the roster, Saturday night’s game against UMass-Lowell — the top-ranked team in the preseason — showed that Penn State is still a team making the transition to the big leagues. There were times during last night’s game where the Nittany Lions outplayed the River Hawks, but ultimately UMass-Lowell’s experience and depth allowed them to outlast the up-and-coming Penn State team.
The first period opened with both teams trading chances back and forth. Penn State forward Casey Bailey almost got Penn State on the board first with a deadly wrister from the left face-off circle, but UMass-Lowell goalie Doug Carr (35 saves, .946 save %) was able to make the glove save.
On the ensuing face-off, River Hawks winger Derek Arnold was able to corral the puck and took it all the way down the ice before unleashing a wrist shot on Penn State goalie Eamon McAdam (41 saves, .932 save %). McAdam couldn’t control the rebound and Joe Gambardella was able bury the loose puck to make the score 1-0.
The play went back and forth for a few more minutes until Penn State went on the power play courtesy of an A.J. White elbowing penalty. Thirty seconds later, Penn State forward Eric Scheid scored after a Luke Juha slap shot bounced off the end boards and directly in front of the net. Scheid was able to find the loose puck and suddenly the crowd at Pegula came alive.
The excitement was short-lived.
Shortly after the power play goal, UMass-Lowell’s Stephen Buco gathered a puck that ricocheted off the end boards and slid it towards the crease. The puck bounced off of McAdam’s leg and trickled over the goal line to make the score 2-1 River Hawks.
With just under three minutes left in the first, UMass-Lowell drew a hooking penalty on Mark Yanis to give the River Hawks their first power play chance of the evening. The River Hawks opened the power play with some nice passing and eventually caught McAdam out of position. River Hawk Joe Pendenza had a wide open net and made the most of his opportunity as he wristed it by McAdam. UMass-Lowell went into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead.
The Nittany Lions opened the second period on the penalty kill after a questionable tripping call on Bailey to end the first frame. McAdam seemed to recover from his first period woes and made several key saves on the power play, including an incredible kick save on a shot by UMass-Lowell’s Adam Chapie.
“I thought I improved as we went along there,” commented McAdam after the game. “I knew we needed to shut them down after I had a shaky first [period] and that was kind of my goal going into the second.”
The rest of the second period was relatively quiet for both the River Hawks and Nittany Lions. Both David Glen and Jacob Friedman had good chances to score late in the period, but Carr stood his ground and the River Hawks carried their 3-1 lead into the third period.
The Penn State PK was solid all throughout the third period, as they were able to kill penalties by Taylor Holstrom and Michael McDonagh to keep the Nittany Lions in the game. With two penalties killed, Penn State had all the momentum and was just waiting on a UMass-Lowell mistake to capitalize on.
With eight minutes left in third, Penn State got its chance.
A rare mistake from the River Hawks allowed the puck to go right in front of their own net, making its way to Penn State forward David Goodwin. Goodwin quickly slid the puck to his backhand and beat Carr to make the score 3-2. The goal was Goodwin’s third of the year.
“That was the best pass I’ve gotten all year,” Goodwin joked after the game.
Unfortunately, a Mike Williamson tripping penalty with six minutes left in the third killed a lot of the momentum that Penn State got with its second goal. The Nittany Lions killed the penalty, but they were left with only a few minutes to score the tying goal.
Coach Guy Gadowsky pulled McAdam with roughly a minute left, but Penn State was unable to score with the extra man and the River Hawks left Penn State with a sweep of the Nittany Lions. Penn State is now 3-5-1 on the year.
“I hate to say this but the coaching staff looks at this [loss] as a bit of a positive,” Gadowsky said. “Of course you never want to lose two in a row — absolutely not.But when you look at the difference in areas we can control between yesterday and today, I look at this as a positive.”
Penn State next plays Union at home on November 30th.
- Despite the shakiness in the first period, McAdam played well in his first start at Pegula. The NHL Draft pick was able to make 41 saves against a talented UMass-Lowell team, which is especially impressive considering he’s only a freshman.
- Defensemen Nate Jensen left the game late in the first period after suffering a lower body injury while blocking a shot. Gadowsky mentioned that he didn’t think Jensen would be out long (if at all) during his press conference.
- There was a fifteen minute “intermission” during the second period where a pane of glass had to be replaced. The crowd was lively during the entire process, which included a hearty sing along of ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’. “Our students and our fans made [the process] fun,” said Gadowsky. “I was disappointed they got [the glass pane] back in because it was fun. It’s just another example as to why they’re the best fans.”
- There was no status update on Penn State winger Max Gardiner. However, Gadowsky did mention that he did think Gardiner’s injury was a little more “serious” than Jensen’s. It is not known how long Gardiner will be out.