Penn State Takes Third In Three Rivers Classic With 5-1 Win Over Clarkson
After a disappointing loss to Robert Morris on Monday night in the opening game of the Three Rivers Classic, the Nittany Lions rebounded in a big way in the consolation game on Tuesday afternoon. Penn State dominated a less talented Clarkson team 5-1 in the Consol Energy Center.
How it happened
After a slow start from both teams, Kenny Brooks put the Nittany Lions on the board first with a sneaky goal less than eight minutes into the game. Brooks stole the puck from behind the net and put it past Clarkson goaltender Steve Perry, who was looking the other way and never saw Brooks steal the puck. The easy chip-in goal was Brooks’ sixth of the season, adding to his career high.
The teams exchanged penalties and chances throughout the rest of the period, including some huge saves by Perry on slapshots from Derian Hamilton and David Goodwin, and the first stanza looked like it would conclude with Brooks’ tally as the only score, but David Thompson had other plans. He shot a rocket from the right circle that somehow found its way deflected into the back of the net with 13 seconds left before the break. The Nittany Lions took that 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Both goaltenders were tested early in the second period, but both were equally up to the task. Skoff stopped a scorcher from Clarkson’s Perry D’Arrisso just 30 seonds into the period, and Perry broke up a breakaway chance by Penn State’s Dylan Richard.
Penn State put the game in its grasp with a backbreaking three-minute sequence early in the second. With the Nittany Lions closing out a 5-on-3 disadvantage, Skoff made a diving save — fully extended across the crease — to keep the puck out of the net. The defense found Ricky DeRosa on the outlet pass, who had stepped out of the penalty box just a second before. DeRosa’s breakaway was stopped, but the momentum from the 5-on-3 was officially shifted. Less than three minutes later, David Goodwin scored his fifth of the season on the Nittany Lions’ own man-advantage, squirting one past Perry’s gloveside to put Penn State ahead 3-0.
Clarkson cut into the lead with seven minutes left in the second. Troy Josephs scored what could be the first of many in his career at Consol Energy Center, as the Penguins’ draft pick shot a wrister from just inside the blue line over the right shoulder of Skoff to make the score 3-1. The Nittany Lions entered the second intermission with that same two-goal lead.
Any thoughts that Clarkson may have had of a comeback were quickly squashed by Eric Scheid only 38 seconds into the third period. With Penn State on the penalty kill after Andrew Sturtz got called for slashing after the horn at the end of the second period, Scheid buried a short-handed breakaway — his second of the weekend — to give the Nittany Lions a three-goal lead for the second time. The shorthanded goal was the team’s seventh of the season, giving it the NCAA lead.
Connor Varley added the icing to the Nittany Lions’ cake with 5:15 left in the game, shooting one from the right point that dribbled past Perry to give Penn State a 5-1 lead. The teams went back and forth with a few chances, but neither team could find the back of the net and Penn State came away with a solid 5-1 win.
Player of the game
Matt Skoff (5-1-3 record) made a few highlight-reel saves among his 36 total, and really didn’t give a struggling Clarkson offense any chance to get into a rhythm. Skoff, who grew up less than seven miles from Consol Energy Center in McKees Rocks, PA, brought his all-time record to 3-2 in his home city in five Three Rivers Classic games.
Penn State opens the spring semester with a two-game series against Minnesota on January 8-9. The Nittany Lions are already 2-0 in Big Ten play after sweeping Michigan State at home in December.