Men’s Hockey Pulls 4-2 Upset Over No. 16 St. Lawrence
Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions welcomed No. 16 St. Lawrence to town Thursday night for their long-anticipated fifth season opener as a Division I hockey program. Penn State roared out of the gates with a huge 4-2 upset over the Saints in Pegula Ice Arena.
How It Happened
As expected, Gadowsky went with freshman Peyton Jones as his starter between the pipes, and the Langhorne, Pa., native proved he was up to the challenge. Jones turned away a bang-bang shot in front of a crowded net just under six minutes into a scoreless battle to start the first period. It wouldn’t stay that way for long, though, as Jones surrendered a goal to right winger Drew Smolcynski less than two minutes later to give head coach Mark Morris’ Saints a 1-0 lead.
Senior center Dylan Richard cued the first siren of the season and brought the house down in the process by tying things up at 1-1 off a deflection in front of St. Lawrence goalie Kyle Hayton. Trevor Hamilton and captain David Goodwin picked up assists on the play. The Roar Zone went nuts when defenseman David Thompson corralled a pass from freshman Liam Folkes and rifled a wrister past Hayton three minutes and change later to make it 2-1 Nittany Lions. Per usual, Penn State came out firing offensively in the first 20 minutes, posting an impressive 15-7 shot margin over the Saints.
Jones kept his composure in the second period, turning away a handful of a close opportunities for the Saints with some nifty stick and glove work. Despite being shorthanded, the Nittany Lions added to their cushion just under four minutes before the intermission. Sophomore Andrew Sturtz joined classmate Chase Berger on a short-handed breakaway and finished a beautiful backhanded goal off the rebound. Penn State would take its impressive 3-1 lead into the break.
Sophomore center Michael Laidley threw a wrench in the Nittany Lions’ plans of an easy upset by finishing a quick goal of his own to cut the deficit to 3-2 less than three minutes into the third period. Penn State would hang on for the upset thanks to some strong defense and plenty of speed in transition. Freshman Blake Gober recorded his first career goal on an empty-netter just before time expired to put the icing on a 4-2 cake. St. Lawrence did outsmart the Nittany Lions in the faceoff circle, 38-24. Stars for the night — first through third — were awarded to Sturtz, Thompson, and Jones, who finished with 28 saves in his debut.
Player Of The Game
David Thompson | Senior | Defenseman
We’ll give the nod to Thompson, a Glen Mills, Pa., native, because his first-period goal proved to be the eventual game-winner.
The Nittany Lions will be back in Pegula Friday night at 7:00 p.m. for another showdown with St. Lawrence.