Penn State Hockey Beats Holy Cross in Series Opener
In what was arguably Penn State’s most complete game of the season, the Nittany Lions’ shot total proved to be overwhelming in a 3-1 win over Holy Cross on Friday night.
The Crusaders made an impressive showing right out of the gate, drawing penalties quickly and generating most of the early opportunities. Penn State was sent to the penalty box four times in the opening stanza, and as has become custom, Matt Skoff came up with huge shorthanded saves to keep the game scoreless.
The tie appeared to be broken with 1:09 remaining in the period, as Dylan Richard powered across the crease and slid the puck past Holy Cross goalie Matt Ginn. After a brief review, the goal call was (controversially) overturned, and Richard was instead sent to the penalty box as the period wound down.
“The call was that Dylan Richard interfered with the goaltender,” said coach Guy Gadowsky postgame. “I don’t agree with that at all.”
Richard also thought the call was debatable. “I didn’t think I interfered the goalie enough,” he recounted. “It’s a tough break, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
After the scoreless first, the second began as more of the same. Penn State appeared to hold the upper hand during play, but neither team could capitalize on their opportunities.
Penn State was called on the majority of penalties early in the game, but after Richard’s disallowed goal, the powe rplays were completely in the Nittany Lions’ favor. Penn State didn’t take any penalties after Richard’s goaltender interference call, yet Holy Cross was called eight times. The momentum began to snowball, and with 5:57 remaining in the second period, Ricky DeRosa opened the scoring with his first goal of the season.
For the third straight game, Penn State held the lead at the beginning of the third period. And for the third straight game, the lead wasn’t to last, as the Crusader’s Scott Pooley tied the game seven and a half minutes into the period. Penn State finally broke the mold, however, when Eric Scheid slid in behind the defense and buried the eventual game-winner after a scramble down low. As the game was winding down, Casey Bailey put the game out of reach on Penn State’s only power play goal, and finalized the score at 3-1.
The Nittany Lions have an off day on Saturday before taking on Holy Cross again on Sunday at noon at Pegula.
- Although Penn State held an advantage in shots on goal, 50-30, the stat doesn’t reveal the whole story. The Nittany Lions led in total shots attempted by a substantial 90-51, and it’s fortunate that the copious missed opportunities didn’t come back to haunt them.
- A huge focus at practice this season has been the power play, and although Penn State only capitalized on one of Holy Cross’ ten penalties, its puck movement was as efficient as it had been in recent memory. As stated before, Penn State had 50 shots on goal, but 40 missed shots, and many of those came on the power play.
- During a 5-on-3 powerplay, Coach Gadowsky boldly sent out all three of the team’s freshmen. While Erik Autio displayed his confidence as the quarterback of the power play, Scott Conway set up a great scoring opportunity for Curtis Loik, who missed the net on the ensuing shot. Still, the confidence that Gadowsky showed in the newest members of the team didn’t go unnoticed.
- The team demonstrated their newfound mental toughness after their Alaskan roadtrip. They gave up late leads in both games, and left Alaska with a tie and a loss. Although they surrendered a third period lead again tonight, Scheid and Bailey made sure that this game would end in Penn State’s favor.
- Three Stars of the Night: 3. Matthew Skoff (PSU). 2. Ricky DeRosa (PSU). 1. Eric Scheid (PSU).