Penn State Finishes Third at Brice Alaska Goal Rush
The men’s hockey team fell to No. 19 Alaska Fairbanks (3-0-0) 4-3 on Saturday, as the Nanooks were declared winner of the Brice Alaska Goal Rush. The team finished the tournament with a record of 2-0-0, while Penn State finished 0-1-1.
Although the Nittany Lions snuck away with a tie against Alaska Anchorage Friday night, a blown lead was again the story late Saturday night/early Sunday morning in the game against Alaska Fairbanks.
Penn State came out of the gate on fire, as has been commonplace so far this season. In spite of the stronger early offensive play, Taylor Munson of UAF gave his team the lead less than five minutes into the game. The lead wasn’t to last, however, as Eric Scheid found the back of the net 33 seconds later to tie the game at 1 aside. The first period saw an up-tempo game from both sides, yet it had no more scoring.
UAF began the second period with another early goal, coming just inside the five-minute mark once again. And once again, Penn State answered almost immediately. Connor Varley launched a long-range shot through traffic, where it beat UAF goaltender Sean Cahill to knot the game at 2.
A key moment in the game came with 12:19 remaining in the second period, when UAF’s Tyler Morley was sent to the penalty box after a dangerous hit on Casey Bailey. The ensuing five-minute powerplay saw Max Gardiner put the Nittany Lions ahead 3-2, a lead that would last through the end of the period.
Penn State stormed out of the gate again in the third period, garnering a huge majority in scoring chances in the first ten minutes. UAF took momentum right back, however, as Austin Vieth beat Matt Skoff with 5:57 remaining in the third period to tie the score at 3. It took Vieth 27 seconds to replicate the action, putting his team ahead 4-3 with 5:30 left. A late Gardiner tripping penalty seemed like it would dampen Penn State’s attempt at a comeback, but an aggressive penalty kill and empty-net flurry showed otherwise. Regardless, no late game heroics came to fruition as UAF held on to defeat the Nittany Lions 4-3.
- Late in the first period, captain Patrick Koudys was involved in a scary play that required attention from the medical staff. He was eventually able to leave the ice with assistance, and returned to play in the second period.
- James Robinson, so far seeming like a tough, grinder-type player, notched his first point as a Nittany Lion, an assist on Eric Scheid’s first period goal.
- Guy Gadowsky coached against his former team tonight, and proved why he is in UAF’s hockey hall of fame. UAF received significantly more votes than PSU in the most recent USCHO poll, but Gadowsky still led his team to a decent showing. Penn State was arguably a much better team in the first 55 minutes of the game, and his gameplan played a major role.
- Interesting stats from the game were shot totals, faceoff wins, and penalty minutes. Penn State was dominant in all three categories, outshooting Alaska Fairbanks 43-33, winning 39/64 faceoffs, and having fewer penalty minutes, 4-9.
- Penn State officially finished third in this tournament, which was a reasonable expectation from the beginning. The Air Force Academy, not traditionally a hockey powerhouse, was the only team to finish behind Penn State, while the two Alaskan teams finished ahead. Regardless, both teams looked better on paper than the Nittany Lions, but Penn State still managed to have two incredibly close games.
- Penn State returns to Hockey Valley on Friday to take on Holy Cross at 7 p.m. The teams will rematch at noon on Sunday, Oct. 26.