Best Weekend Ever: Penn State Hockey Defeats No. 3 Notre Dame 3-2 In OT
Five years ago Penn State (3-1-1) didn’t have a varsity hockey team. It barely had a locker room. Last night, it defeated Notre Dame, the No. 3 team in the nation…on the road. It’s good to be wrong. It’s also good to be Andrew Sturtz.
Penn State hockey is a young, speedy, hungry team, and now is as great a time as ever to watch it develop into national prominence. After an overtime tie Friday night, the underdog Nittany Lions pulled off a 3-2 overtime win against Notre Dame Saturday. What a weekend to be a Penn Stater.
How It Happened
Penn State struck first and early — a factor that’s proved huge in determining game outcomes. Alternate captain James Robinson scored his first goal since March 14, 2015 to get his team on the board 4:34 into the first. The Nittany Lions held on to their 1-0 lead for the entire first period, through powerplay opportunities on both ends. The shots were even 7-7, and Penn State’s immaculate pk unit flexed.
Penn State continued to dominate in the first portion of the second period with some killer chances, but Notre Dame goalie Cal Petersen performed as expected. Things were finally looking up for the Irish as Jordan Gross (yeah, the one who scored Notre Dame’s tying goal the night before) tied it up again on a powerplay screen 11:06 into the second. This, of course, ruined Penn State’s spotless pk unit — but it’s still pretty damn good. The second period resumed with another penalty killed and some clean, back-and-forth action from two solid hockey teams.
Freshman Nate Sucese’s stick found Trevor Hamilton’s indirect pass and Penn State stole the lead right back. It was 2-1 at 3:08 into the final period and a win against the No. 3 team in the nation didn’t just feel possible — it felt probable. Notre Dame’s powerplay prowess was a roadblock on the way to that dream, though. Joe Wegwerth snagged a loose puck in front of Peyton Jones’ net and tied it up 2-2 on the man advantage a little over halfway through the third. Goalies on both ends were key as the minutes dwindled down. The posts helped the Nittany Lions too, when a potential Irish gamewinner took residence in pipe city instead. The clock ran out and the teams headed into overtime for the second night in a row.
Remember Andrew Sturtz’s name, and remember how you saw him play for Penn State when he’s in the NHL being clutch one day. 1:20 into overtime, Jones shuffled the puck to Denis Smirnov. He sped up the ice and weaved it to Sturtz, who kept his cool in a 2-on-1 for the gamewinner. USCHO rankings, USCHO schmakings.
We heard another team had a big win tonight, so you may have missed our 3-2 OT win at #3 ND, but we got you covered!https://t.co/22ELM5fFjq
— Penn State Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) October 23, 2016
Penn State returns to Hockey Valley for a 10-game stretch in Pegula. Its series with Canisius starts this Friday at 7 p.m.