Penn State Hockey Scores Four Unanswered, Beats No. 14 Vermont in Philly
The Nittany Lions prevailed over the tough Catamount defense in a 4-2 win at the Philadelphia Flyers’ Wells Fargo Center. Penn State, which hasn’t lost a game in regulation in over a month, solved No. 14 Vermont on Saturday afternoon.
Goals were scored by Vermont’s Brady Shaw and Mario Puskarich, and Penn State’s Casey Bailey, Scott Conway, David Thompson, and David Goodwin. The game was also the last nonconference game for the Nittany Lions in the regular season, and was the last of four played in an NHL rink until the Big Ten Tournament.
How It Happened
Unlike Penn State’s last two weekends (in which it outshot its opponents but often trailed), the first period of this game saw neither side hold an offensive advantage. The best opportunity of the period came on a Penn State powerplay with less than eight minutes left in the frame, but neither side held an advantage when the dust settled. Shots were even, 12-12, after 20 minutes.
The second period, however, saw the Penn State performance that we all know and love. Eric Scheid initiated a scramble in front of the net toward the beginning of the period that resulted in nothing.
The period was winding down with no tallies on the scoreboard, but Vermont’s Shaw buried a feed to change that. With five minutes to play, after captain Patrick Koudys was called for hooking, Puskarich increased his team’s lead to 2-0.
Now that Penn State had made sure it was playing from behind, it was time for yet another comeback. This one started 14 seconds after Puskarich’s goal, when Casey Bailey buried the puck to cut the lead in half. The second period ended in the midst of the Nittany Lions roaring, as they still trailed 2-1.
Period three opened, as has become habitual, with Scott Conway tying the game less than five minutes in. The final frame was nearly all Penn State. Even when Taylor Holstrom was sent to the penalty box halfway through the period, his team accounted for most of the offense despite playing a man down.
Sure enough, with 3:09 to play, defenseman David Thompson scored the first goal of his career to finally give Penn State the lead. David Goodwin tacked on an empty-net goal to bury the Catamounts, 4-2.
Player of the Game
P.J. Musico. After playing two strong weekends in relief against Ohio State and Northern Michigan, he was given his first start of the season today. He played well, recording 33 saves on 35 shots on an NHL rink, while holding off Vermont’s efforts to quell his team’s comeback.
Tweet of the Game
— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) January 31, 2015
- Penn State is now 5-7 on NHL ice since becoming a Division-1 program. The team has played at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center, New York’s Madison Square Garden, and Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center. This year’s Big Ten Tournament will be held at Joe Louis Arena, home to the Detroit Red Wings.
- Nonconference play is now over for the Nittany Lions. For their final 12 games in the regular season, they will have a series against every Big Ten team, including two against Minnesota.
- The second line of Scott Conway, Eric Scheid, and Dylan Richard has been lights out for the past few weekends. Penn State’s top line was the focus of other teams for most of the beginning of the season, but as the season has progressed, so has the team’s depth scoring.
- Hobey Baker voting is still open, and you can vote for Casey Bailey or Taylor Holstrom here.
Next weekend, Feb. 6 and 7, the Wisconsin Badgers will be in Pegula Ice Arena to try to avenge getting swept by Penn State earlier this season.