Olczyk’s Hat Trick Propels Penn State Hockey To 6-3 Win Over Princeton
In a showdown against Guy Gadowsky’s former team, the No. 16 Nittany Lions set out to spoil Princeton’s visit to Happy Valley. The Tigers put up a quality fight late in the game, but with the support of senior forward Tommy Olcyzk’s hat trick along with an impressive 22-save outing from Mathew Skoff, Penn State sustained its lead and left Pegula with a dominant 6-3 victory in the bag.
How It Happened
The first period opened with a barrage of shots, but very few hit their intended target. After a rally of missed opportunities, Tommy Olczyk buried a re-direct from Erik Autio from the point, and Penn State continued its habitual streak of scoring fast and early. Two minutes later on the powerplay, after some great dangles from freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie, Olczyk found the back of Princeton’s net for the second time to give the Lions the go-ahead 2-0 lead seven minutes in. The goal marked his first multi-point game in his collegiate career. Penn State’s offensive pressure stayed true as it has all season,helping the Lions to close out the first period well in control of the game’s shots on goal, leading 15-7 in that department.
Princeton came out swinging to start the second period. The Tigers struggled to land the puck on net, but with a couple of solid shifts, their presence inside the Penn State zone became more distinct. With little to no action as the second period hit the 10-minute mark, the most exciting scene was a pick off and lead pass to Goodwin as he broke away for what seemed like an eventual goal. Unfortunately, a Princeton defender hooked him from behind, and the attempt went to no avail. The official made the call however, and Princeton’s Joe Grabowski made his way to the penalty box. On Penn State’s second powerplay of the game, Chase Berger found himself deep in the Tigers’ zone, wristing a puck from the slot past the net-minder to give Penn State a 3-0 lead. With less than five minutes to go, Penn State’s Kenny Brooks left the game after drawing a five-minute major game misconduct penalty for checking from behind. That didn’t stop David Glen from ripping a short-handed rocket over Princeton’s goalie Colton Phinney’s shoulder. The Nittany Lions headed to the locker room with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
A mere eight seconds into the game’s final period, a cross-checking penalty by Princeton’s David Hallisey got things started. That was the only mistake Princeton made all period — something that reflected in the visiting squad’s ensuing play. Despite the setback, Princeton killed its penalty and got on the board after Eric Robinson slipped by Skoff to cut Penn State’s lead to three. Soon after, new life was instilled into Princeton after another score got the Tigers to within two. With plenty of time remaining, Eric Robinson knocked home his second goal of the period, prompting a clearly frustrated Gadowsky to call a timeout. The Tigers commanded a 3-0 run with no indication of backing down, and the Lions seemed visibly winded. As the period drew to a close, Princeton’s last-ditch effort came after an additional sixth man took to the ice after the Tigers pulled their goalie. Olczyk earned his first hat trick with an empty-netter that extended the lead to 5-3. Curtis Loik solidified a Penn State victory with another empty-netter shortly after to make it 6-3, sending the Tigers home empty handed.
Player Of The Game
Tommy Olczyk | Forward | Senior
After a stellar scoring output, Tommy Olczyk proved just how much of an offensive threat he can be when he gets hot. Until this game, Olcyzk hadn’t scored more than once in a game throughout his entire collegiate career (30 games). With two early goals, and an empty-netter in the third period to ensure his team’s victory, a hat trick isn’t a bad way end the multi-point drought for the seasoned veteran.
The Nittany Lions’ next stop will be Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center, where they will face Robert Morris in the Three Rivers Classic on Monday, December 28. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m.