No. 13 Penn State Hockey Sweeps Sacred Heart After 5-4 Win
No. 13 Penn State hockey (2-0-0) capped off its first series of the 2019-20 regular season with a 5-4 win against Sacred Heart (0-2-1) on Saturday afternoon.
Guy Gadowsky picked up his 300th win as an NCAA head coach thanks to goals from Cole Hults, Nate Sucese, Brandon Biro, and Mason Snell. Penn State was dominant for most of the evening, but Sacred Heart scored four third-period goals to make the game interesting.
Other than the third period, Peyton Jones was excellent in goal yet again. He made 35 saves for the Nittany Lions to pick up his 60th collegiate victory.
How It Happened
Sacred Heart got off to an excellent start and quickly jumped out to a 6-1 lead in shots, but Cole Hults scored the first goal of Saturday’s game while Penn State was shorthanded. He fired a wrister past Josh Benson after Aarne Talvitie won a faceoff to give Penn State a 1-0 lead 8:30 into the game.
Hults’ fourth of the year seemed to energize Penn State, and Brandon Biro capitalized on that with his first goal of the season. Biro buried a nifty feed from Nate Sucese on a 2-on-1 rush during some 4-on-4 action, and Penn State took that two-goal lead and an 18-13 shot advantage into the first intermission.
After Penn State got off to a strong start to the second period, Sucese stuffed home a rebound on the doorstep to extend Penn State’s advantage to 3-0 less than five minutes into the middle frame. Biro and Max Sauvé, who drew into the lineup in place of freshman Kevin Wall, got the assists on the goal.
The captain added his second goal of the game later in the period after — you guessed it — Nate Sucese found him wide open in front of the goal. Biro extended the Nittany Lions’ lead to 4-0 after a slick forehand-to-backhand move in tight.
Guy Gadowsky’s team put together an excellent second period and held a four-goal advantage heading into the final period. Shots on goal were 32-24 in favor of the Nittany Lions, but Sacred Heart did hit a pair of posts throughout the middle frame.
Sacred Heart came out firing in the third period, and Vito Bavaro broke Peyton Jones’ shutout bid less than eight minutes into the period. Penn State still maintained a three-goal lead, but Jason Cotton added a second for the Pioneers less than two minutes later.
Freshman defenseman Mason Snell smothered the Pioneers’ momentum by scoring his first collegiate goal with 9:20 to play in the third period. Snell walked right through the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot beyond Josh Benson to give Penn State a 5-2 lead.
Sacred Heart scored two goals in six seconds with four minutes to play in the third period to cut its deficit to 5-4, but Penn State held on to secure its second win of the 2019-20 season.
- Evan Barratt was shaken up and left the game midway through the second period of Saturday’s game. He returned to the game early in the third period, and an assortment of players that included Denis Smirnov, Connor MacEachern, and Aarne Talvitie skated in his spot on the forward line with Alex Limoges and Liam Folkes while he was out.
- Outside of the third period, Penn State dominated the vast majority of Saturday’s game. Sacred Heart found its way back into the game with a few quick third-period goals, but Penn State’s defense responded well and shut down the Pioneers to secure the victory.
- Congratulations are in order for Guy Gadowsky after he secured his 300th victory as an NCAA coach. Gadowsky is the only bench boss that Penn State hockey has ever known, and he has the team poised to make a deep, deep run this season.
The Nittany Lions will be back at Pegula Ice Arena next weekend for a two-game set against Alaska-Fairbanks. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday night.
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