No. 16 Penn State Hockey Wins Season-Opening Thriller 4-3 Over No. 17 Clarkson
No. 16 Penn State hockey got the season off on the right foot with a back-and-forth 4-3 victory over No. 17 Clarkson on Thursday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
The Nittany Lions were led by a well balanced offensive attack and timely goaltending from senior netminder Chris Funkey. Sam Sternschein, Liam Folkes, Nate Sucese, and Brandon Biro scored for Penn State, while Funkey made 23 saves in the victory.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions started strong, quickly putting Clarkson goalie Jake Kielly under pressure with a string of scoring opportunities in the first few minutes of the game. Kielly stood strong in net, and Clarkson was able to weather the early Penn State onslaught.
Clarkson began to grow into the game around the halfway mark of the first period. The increased pressure forced Penn State into committing several sloppy turnovers in its own zone that led to scoring opportunities for the Golden Knights.
Clarkson continued the increased intensity into the second period. The Golden Knights hard work paid off just over two minutes into the period, when Nico Sturm gave the Golden Knights the lead.
Two Clarkson penalties in quick succession set up a 5-on-3 advantage for Penn State about half way through the second period. A beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play left Kielly completely out of position, and Sam Sternschein slammed the puck home into a wide open net to tie the game at one apiece.
Then, total anarchy broke out at Pegula to begin the third period, when Penn State and Clarkson combined to score four goals in less than two minutes. The hectic start to the third stanza brought the crowd to life as the two teams continued to trade scoring chances.
Goals by Liam Folkes and Nate Sucese were quickly met with equalizers by the Golden Knights. Clarkson seemed to have an answer for every goal the Nittany Lions scored, but the goal fest would end as quickly as it began.
Brandon Biro jumped all over a loose puck that popped out in front of the net to give Penn State a 4-3 advantage with 8:59 to play in the third period. The Nittany Lions would not relinquish that lead for the rest of the game thanks to a strong defensive stand.
Player Of The Game
Brandon Biro | Junior | Right Wing
Biro capped off an eventful evening with the game-deciding goal at the 11:01 mark of the third period. The alternate captain finished the game with a goal and an assist for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State and Clarkson will close out their weekend series at 7 p.m. Friday.
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About the Author
As THON weekend approaches, a fundraising year like no other in THON history wraps up.
“Whether this team is a No. 3 seed or or a No. 4 seed, they’re going to have a real opportunity to be in the Sweet Sixteen. If you’re a Penn State basketball fan, that’s like the Final Four. That week of hype and attention gives a team a brand.”
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