Men’s Hockey Manages A 5-3 Comeback, Sweeps AIC
Although football is the heart of Happy Valley autumns, the Roar Zone showed up on Saturday as Penn State men’s hockey (4-1-0) finished out its series sweep with a 5-3 win against American International College. Led by Eamon McAdam in net, Penn State’s defense had a rocky start. The team’s consistently aggressive offense deserved more, though. An early defensive resurgence, puck control, and possession, and were paramount to today’s win and this weekend’s sweep over AIC.
How It Happened
The start of this game wasn’t as decisive as the last. Just six minutes into play, AIC scored first, Vince Pedrie sustained a goalie interference penalty, then AIC capitalized on its resulting power play. Things were looking bleak for the Nittany Lions, especially on the defensive front, but there was ample time to make up for early mistakes.
After this bout of blunders, Penn State entered a power play where it failed to capitalize but applied pressure on AIC to shift the momentum. The Nittany Lions entered another power play, this time due to an ugly, high hit that shook up freshman Alec Marsh and lit a fire under the previously uninspired Lions.
Penn State’s offense took charge of the first period with a flurry of three straight goals. Hungry for his first goal of the season and aggravated by a Friday night filled with great chances but no payoff, Eric Scheid went to work. First, he delivered the puck to Dylan Richard from behind the net to get Penn State on the scoreboard at 12:08 into the first period. Next, in classic Scheid fashion, he buried a wrister to tie it up. Five-goal freshman Chase Berger poked the puck in from his knees with :35.2 left in the first to make it 3-2 Penn State.
An early tripping call on Kenny Brooks gave Penn State defense the chance to set a more dominant tone in the second period. Pressure, most notably from Scheid, set that tone and killed the penalty off. AIC only managed one shot on goal for the first half of the period. Penn State kept the puck in AIC’s zone for the most part, firing off chances per usual. The shoot-first-ask-later mentality paid off at 13:40 into the period, when freshman Andrew Sturtz fired one from the slot.
With six minutes left in the second period, Marsh took another unnecessarily aggressive blow to the head. As he left the bench and headed to the locker room, AIC ‘s Bailey More did the same with a five minute major and a game misconduct. Although Penn State didn’t capitalize on the major penalty, it closed out the second period with a 4-2 lead and, as always, a major shot advantage.
We were relieved when Alec Marsh returned to the bench to start the third period. The first five minutes saw plenty of Penn State chances, then more chances stemming from rebounds. When AIC finally moved the puck into its offensive zone, it capitalized on a shaky McAdam. Penn State’s lead dwindled to 4-3 with 13:10 left to play. With under six minutes left in the game, Matt Mendelson headed to the box for tripping and Penn State was on the penalty kill. With 5:08 left, Tommy Olczyk’s gorgeous short-handed breakaway made him the first Nittany Lion to score two short-handed goals. As Penn State entered another power play with 3:21 left to play, offense continued to rule and a sweep was in reach. AIC took a futile time out, then Penn State won 5-3.
Players Of The Game
It’s great to have Eric Scheid back. He scored his first of the season, flashed his clutch-factor assisting abilities, and relentlessly pressured AIC. Alec Marsh deserves player of the game as well because he’s a trooper.
Penn State takes on St. Lawrence in another Pegula-based series next Thursday at 7 p.m.