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No. 14 Men’s Hockey Takes Down Niagara 5-1

No. 14 Penn State (6-1-1) welcomed Niagara to Pegula Ice Arena Thursday night. The Purple Eagles (0-6-2) hoped to pull off an upset and earn its first win of the season, but the Nittany Lions had too much firepower in the 5-1 win — their fourth straight.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions got off to a fast start with a goal just over two minutes into the game from Zach Saar. Kris Myllari shot down the right wing, centered the puck, and Saar pounced on the opportunity in the crease. The goal was confirmed after a review to put Penn State up 1-0. Andrew Sturtz added a second goal midway seven minutes into the period, taking the puck down the left wing and touching it around the goalie to make it 2-0.

Sturtz almost got the Nittany Lions’ third goal as well before the end of the period after Chase Berger won the face-off, but Sturtz’ opportunity was stopped by Guillaume Therien, who had to make 14 saves in the opening period. The Nittany Lions went into the first intermission leading 2-0.

Niagara got one back to start the second period. Kris Spriggs received the puck from Sean King just outside the crease and buried the shot past Chris Funkey to make it 2-1. The Purple Eagles hung around for most of the second period with the Nittany Lions, putting up eight shots and killing off a pair of power plays.

Denis Smirnov scored with two minutes left in the period to build Penn State’s lead back up to two. David Goodwin won the puck in the corner and knocked it over to Smirnov, who fired his shot high past Therien for the goal. Smirnov scored again with eight seconds left in the period after tapping in his own rebound to head into intermission with Penn State leading 4-1.

The third period opened with a dangerous opportunity on each side of the ice. Trevor Hamilton hit pipe with a chance to put Penn State up four before the puck was cleared and Kris Spriggs’ breakaway opportunity was shut down by Funkey.

Dylan Richard made it 5-1 Penn State after the puck fell to his stick with his back to goal outside the crease. Richard turned and lofted his shot into the roof of the net for his fourth goal of the season. Penn State finished with 58 shots in the 5-1 win.

Player Of The Game

Denis Smirnov | Forward | Freshman

Smirnov scored two important goals late in the second period to turn this from a one-goal game to a safe three-goal lead heading into the second intermission.

What’s Next

Penn State is back in action against the Purple Eagles Friday. Puck drop at Pegula will be at 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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