Penn State Hockey Stunned By No. 15 Union 5-4
All season long, coach Guy Gadowsky has preached the importance of playing a full 60 minute game. Despite playing well the past three games going into Sunday night, an inability to play well for the entire 60 minutes has consistently doomed the Nittany Lions.
Sunday night was no different.
Penn State was cruising with a 4-1 lead halfway through the second period, but couldn’t hold on as no. 15 Union fought back and tallied a goal with three seconds left to secure a 5-4 victory.
Captain Tommy Olczyk drew an interference penalty early in the first period to give Penn State an early power play chance. Just thirty seconds later, a point shot from Luke Juha deflected off the pad of Union goaltender Colin Stevens (8 saves, .667 save %) and right to Zach Saar in front of the net. Saar was able to bury the rebound to give Penn State its first lead in three games.
The Nittany Lions got another power play chance just minutes later when Juha scored to give Penn State a 2-0 lead. A nice pass from forward Eric Scheid found a wide open Juha at the right face-off circle, who snapped it past Stevens.
Penn State went into the first intermission up 2-0, playing arguably its best period of hockey so far this season. Goaltender Eamon McAdam (38 saves, .884 save %) made multiple big saves throughout the period.
The Dutchmen finally got on the board six minutes into the second with a power play goal from Mike Vecchione to pull Union within one. Vecchione got the puck at the point, and wristed one past McAdam to make the score 2-1.
The Nittany Lions responded quickly, however, as an Eric Scheid deflection gave Penn State a 3-1 lead. David Glen then notched his first goal of the year just a minute later on fluke goal while Penn State was on the penalty kill to put Penn State up 4-1. On a battle in the corner, Glen chipped the puck right in front of the Stevens, which proceeded to deflect off a Union player and trickle past the Union goaltender.
Union switched goalies after the goal, going from Stevens to Alex Sakellaropoulos (11 saves, 0 goals against). The move proved to be the spark it needed.
The wheels began to fall off for Penn State afterwards, as two power play goals from Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere pulled Union within one. However, Penn State still had the 4-3 lead going into the third period.
The play went back and forth for the early part of the third until Matt Hatch came up huge for the Dutchmen with a fluke goal of his own. A pass into the slot deflected off the skate Juha and slid through McAdam’s five hole to tie the game.
Now fighting to try and salvage a win, Penn State went into desperation mode. A few chances by David Goodwin were turned away by Sakellaropoulos, and a wide open chance for Juha in the slot missed the net.
All signs pointed towards an overtime finish between the two teams, until Daniel Ciampini got a breakaway opportunity with less than ten seconds left. The Union forward was able to deke past a McAdam poke check, and slid it into the empty cage with three seconds remaining in the game. A desperation shot by Nate Jensen off the ensuing face-off couldn’t find the net, and Union escaped Pegula with another close victory. Penn State is now 3-7-1 on the year.
“We started off playing very well I thought by generating offense and power play opportunities,” said Gadowsky after the game. “But in the third they started playing a much more free-flowing game and we got tight. We stopped doing the things that got us to the point we were at.”
Penn State starts Big Ten play this weekend with a Friday/Saturday series at Wisconsin.
- 1st Star: Daniel Ciampini (1 Goal), 2nd Star: Eric Scheid (1 Goal, 2 Assists) 3rd Star: Shayne Gostisbehere (2 Goals)
- Casey Bailey was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.
- Max Gardiner was back in the lineup tonight after missing several games due to injury.