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Late Comeback Falls Short As Men’s Hockey Loses To No. 4 UMass Lowell

Three Nittany Lions tallied a goal against fourth-ranked UMass Lowell, but it wasn’t enough scoring as Penn State fell to the River Hawks 5-3 on Friday night at Tsongas Center.

Casey Bailey, Tommy Olczyk, and David Goodwin each scored to pace the Nittany Lion offense, a unit that out-shot the Red Hawks 37-30 over the course of 60 minutes, including a 15-9 advantage in the final period as the team threatened a late comeback.

UMass Lowell (7-1-2) opened up the scoring as Robert Francis knocked a slap shot from the slot through Matthew Skoff with 8:47 remaining in the first period. The River Hawks would double their lead later in the period on a similar play, as captain Zack Kamrass found space in the slot to sneak one home late in the first period. The first period marked the second straight game the Lions found themselves in a two-goal deficit after 20 minutes –Penn State completed the comeback against Bentley on Halloween to win 3-2.

Penn State (5-2-2) was quick to respond after the first intermission, scoring just 17 seconds into the second period as Holstrom fired from the right point to Bailey in front of the net as he backhanded the puck over goalie Kevin Boyle’s shoulder, cutting the lead in half. The River Hawks would regain their two-goal cushion just 1:40 later, when John Edwardh was left alone in the slot and put one past Skoff.

UMass Lowell would then extend the lead to 4-1 as Francis notched his second of the night with 11:13 left in the second, chasing Skoff from the net in favor of sophomore Eamon McAdam. The New York Islanders draft pick made his season debut with nine saves in the period, and would only allow one goal on 18 shots.

The River Hawks would see Smith score their fifth goal of the night with 11:39 left in the third period. Despite trailing by four, Penn State kept up the pressure and eventually broke through. Kenny Brooks forced a turnover on the boards to Olczyk who fired down low to Curtis Loik behind the net. Loik would draw the defense before feeding Olczyk as he flipped a back-handed shot over Boyle’s glove for his second goal of the year with 8:48 to play. Goodwin was able to score his fourth of the year off feeds from Holstrom and Bailey with 1:15 to play to give Penn State its third goal.

“You have to give UMass Lowell credit,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said. “They out-worked us in our zone and deserved the victory. It will be nice to come back tomorrow night and get another chance.”

Penn State will look to avenge their loss in a rematch with the Red Hawks on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Tsongas Center.

Game Notes:

  • With two more assists, Taylor Holstrom pulled into a tie for second nationally with 10. The emblem of Penn State hockey leads the team with 13 points, and ranks sixth nationally.
  • Tommy Olcyzk scored his second goal of the season, and his first since opening night against UConn. The senior and former captain was a healthy scratch for the last four games.
  • After putting up a .919 save percentage and 2.32 goals against average en route to winning five games this season, goalie Matthew Skoff struggled mightily against the Red Hawks. The junior allowed four goals on eight shots, and was yanked after 28 minutes of ice time.
  • Penn State entered Friday night’s contest as the fourth-best scoring team in the nation, averaging 3.78 goals per game. Not to be outdone, UMass Lowell boasts the nation’s highest goal-scoring rate at 4.3 goals per game.
  • Both teams entered with a combined average of only 8.3 penalty minutes per game, and the resulting play reflected strict discipline. Each team took one penalty apiece in the opening seven minutes, but none the following 53 minutes. Both teams finished 0-1 on the power play.
  • UMass Lowell improves to 3-0-0 all-time against the Nittany Lions after winning 4-0 and 3-2 last season in Pegula Ice Arena.
  • The Nittany Lions are in the midst of a two-month stretch of road games. The team’s next home game is Jan. 9 against Ohio State.

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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