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No. 10 Penn State Hockey Stays Perfect With 4-2 Win Over No. 13 Princeton

No. 10 Penn State men’s hockey (5-0-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) stayed perfect this season with a 4-2 victory over No. 13 Princeton (0-1-0, 0-0-0 ECAC) on Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Denis Smirnov, Alex Limoges, Brandon Biro, and Ludvig Larsson scored the goals for Penn State. Smirnov’s goal was his first of the year, while Biro and Larsson each extended personal point streaks in the victory.

Peyton Jones was fantastic in his third start of the season — he made 32 saves on 34 Princeton shots on his net.

How It Happened

Friday night’s game started with Denis Smirnov’s first goal of the 2018-19 season. The Russian star took a perfect stretch pass from Alex Stevens and slid a backhander between Princeton goalie Ryan Ferland’s legs on the breakway just 1:46 into the game.

The Nittany Lions continued their quick start with 15:58 to play in the period, as Alex Limoges’ quick hands allowed him to deflect a Cole Hults point shot past Ferland to give his team a 2-0 lead. Evan Barratt picked up the secondary assist on the goal, as the two sophomores’ line with Liam Folkes stays hot with another big goal.

Guy Gadowsky’s team controlled play for most of the first period, but penalties by Nikita Pavlychev and Evan Barratt allowed the Tigers to close the gap and overtake the Nittany Lions in shots on goal by a 16-15 margin after one period.

Princeton found the back of the net early on in the second period. Matthew Thom’s shot from the point snuck past Peyton Jones and got his team on the board with 17:23 to play in the frame.

Brandon Biro quickly gave the Nittany Lions a two-goal lead again after pouncing on a turnover by Ferland. Nate Sucese picked up the lone assist for jarring the puck loose, and Penn State took a 3-1 lead 3:03 after Thom’s first NCAA goal.

James Gobetz took a tripping penalty midway through the frame, but a goalie interference penalty by Jake Paganelli wiped out Princeton’s power play. Peyton Jones was phenomenal through the first two periods of his third start of the year — he made 24 saves on 25 shots and stifled several waves of the Tigers’ deadly power play.

Brandon Biro was booked for goalie interference 1:41 into the final period of the game, and Princeton’s Alex Riche found the back of the net on the ensuing power play. Penn State’s lead was cut to 3-2 with 17:37 left in the frame.

The Nittany Lions quickly answered back, as Ludvig Larsson fired home a slapshot from the right circle to give his team a 4-2 lead with 15:20 to play in the third period. Aarne Talvitie extended his personal point streak to four games with an assist, and Nikita Pavlychev picked up the secondary assist on the play.

A slashing penalty on Princeton gave Penn State another power play, but the opportunity went nowhere as Penn State dropped to 0-for-3 on the man advantage in tonight’s game.  

Star forward Ryan Kuffner took a tripping penalty with 4:43 to play in the third period, but didn’t score. Penn State saw out the rest of the game to maintain its perfect record through five games.

Player Of The Game

Peyton Jones | Junior | Goaltender

Jones continued his hot start to the season with another stellar outing — he made 30 saves on 32 shots as the Nittany Lions improved to 5-0-0.

The Langhorne, PA, native also set a Penn State record in the game. He surpassed Matt Skoff to become Penn State’s all-time leading goaltender in starts with 74 in his career.

What’s Next

Penn State will continue its current eight-game homestand with a series against Arizona State next weekend. The Nittany Lions will welcome the Sun Devils to Pegula Ice Arena for games on November 2 and 3 at 7 and 8 p.m., respectively.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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