No. 10 Penn State Men’s Hockey Routs Niagara 8-2
No. 10 Penn State men’s hockey (3-0-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) kicked off its second series of the 2018-19 season with a commanding 8-2 victory against Niagara.
Six different Nittany Lions scored goals, and four more had multiple-point efforts. Niagara scored early in the first period, but Penn State responded with four unanswered goals to take a commanding lead.
Ludvig Larsson, Alex Stevens, and Adam Pilewicz each scored their first goals for Penn State, while Liam Folkes, Evan Barratt, and Chase Berger also added goals. Chris Funkey picked up his second win of the season after making 28 saves.
How It Happened
Penn State didn’t get off to an ideal start in tonight’s game. Niagara’s Reed Robinson opened the scoring 69 seconds into the game off of a rebound. He was left unmarked in front of Chris Funkey’s cage after a defensive breakdown and capitalized on the opportunity.
Ludvig Larsson tied the game at one with 7:32 to play in the first period with his first goal as a Nittany Lion. The Swede buried a wrist shot over Niagara goalie’s Joe O’Brien’s glove as the trailer of an odd-man rush. Brandon Biro picked up the lone assist on the play.
Senior captain Chase Berger gave his team its first lead of the game with 74 seconds to play in the first period. Aarne Talvitie put a spinning shot on goal that bounced off O’Brien’s pads and landed right on Berger’s stick, and he easily deposited the puck into the net for his second goal of the year. Nikita Pavlychev picked up the secondary helper on the goal.
Liam Folkes started the second period off with a goal less than two minutes into the frame. He jammed in a rebound of a Paul DeNaples point shot to extend Penn State’s lead to 3-1. Evan Barratt also picked up an assist on the play. Barratt jammed his first goal of the year past O’Brien to stretch the Nittany Lion lead to 4-1. The sophomore center’s linemates each got the assists on the play.
Alex Stevens got in on the goal-scoring fun with his first collegiate goal. He sniped from the right circle off of a beautiful Brandon Biro cross-ice feed, and Penn State took a 5-1 lead with 14:45 left in the second period.
Ludvig Larsson was booked for boarding, and Nate Sucese collided with Niagara’s goaltender as the penalty expired. It looked like the junior winger tried to let up on the play, but a good ol’ fashioned donnybrook broke out in the corner of the ice. Niagara was given a power play after the mayhem was cleared out.
That power play quickly ended thanks to a slashing penalty, but the Purple Eagles trimmed their deficit to 5-2 via a bomb from the point.
For those of you counting at home, the two teams combined for four goals and eight penalties in the first 9:58 of the period before a relatively calm ending to the frame.
Adam Pilewicz added his first NCAA goal exactly four minutes into the third period to stretch his team’s lead to 6-2. Chase Berger picked up the lone assist on the tally, giving him his second point of the evening. Liam Folkes and Ludvig Larsson added late goals to put the cherry on top of a full 60-minute effort.
The Nittany Lions finished with a 63-30 advantage on the shot counter following a total team effort.
Player Of The Game
Liam Folkes | Junior | Wing
There are about five or six different players who could’ve earned player of the game honors, but Folkes gets the nod because he had his strongest game of the season. The Canadian winger scored twice and added two assists while playing on the Nittany Lions’ most effective line alongside Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt.
Penn State and Niagara will wrap up their series at 3:30 p.m. Saturday back at Pegula Ice Arena.
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