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Penn State Men’s Hockey Beats LIU 3-1 In Season Opener

Penn State men’s hockey (1-0) beat LIU (0-1) 3-1 in its season opener Sunday afternoon at Pegula Ice Arena.

After a slow start for both sides, the Nittany Lions got the scoring started with under five minutes left in the first period, and they didn’t stop there, scoring again just over three minutes later.

An impressive performance from Penn State goaltender Oskar Autio led to the Sharks getting only one goal, leading to a victory for Guy Gadowsky’s team.

How It Happened

There were no surprises in Guy Gadowsky’s lineup to start the game, as Oskar Autio got the start in goal for the Nittany Lions as expected.

The game started with a lot of back-and-forth action that resulted with no legitimate chances for either team. The Nittany Lions mustered just one shot on goal through the first three minutes, while the Sharks weren’t able to get any.

The action picked up a bit as we approached the 13-minute mark, with both teams crashing against the boards. Two minutes later, Penn State got a good scoring look from Simon Mack, but he just missed the chance, and the game remained scoreless past the halfway point of the first period.

Heading into the first TV timeout at the 7:50 mark, it was a lot of the same for the two teams, with a lot of back-and-forth action that resulted in nothing. A few minutes later, LIU’s Billy Jerry got a decent look, but Autio swallowed it up nicely to keep the Sharks scoreless.

With 4:27 left in the period, the Nittany Lions got their first power play after a high sticking penalty on LIU’s Ethan Martini. Just six seconds into the power play, Kirwan scored a goal assisted by Danny Dzhaniyev and Mack to put Penn State ahead 1-0.

The Sharks took another penalty for interference, which put the Nittany Lions back on the power play under 10 seconds later. Penn State didn’t quite score on the power play, but it scored immediately after. This time it was Chase McLane putting the rebound in the net after Kirwan narrowly missed his attempt. Penn State went into the first intermission up 2-0.

The start of the second period was home to the same vacillating play we saw to start the game, as neither team got much of anything going. With just over 15 minutes left in the period, a mini brawl broke out centered around Penn State’s captain Paul DeNaples. DeNaples went to the penalty box, which gave LIU its first power play of the game.

The Nittany Lions killed the penalty and were back at full strength with 13:12 remaining in the period. Up to the TV timeout with 7:26 remaining in the period, both teams failed to put quality opportunities together, resulting in the game staying at 2-0.

With just under three minutes remaining in the period, some chaos ensued that resulted in a long review. LIU was called for an interference penalty, but after further review, Kevin Wall was ejected for an illegal hit to the head. Since the interference penalty was still upheld, the teams skated 4-on-4 for two minutes, and then the Sharks took a 4-on-3 advantage into the third period because of the Wall ejection.

The Nittany Lions killed the penalty at the start of the final period and returned to full strength with 17:57 remaining. Penn State had a golden chance with just over 11 minutes remaining when Tyler Gratton broke loose all by himself, but his backhand went wide of the net.

LIU went on the power play with 10:40 remaining, but once again, the Nittany Lions successfully killed it to keep it a 2-0 game.

The Sharks finally got on the board with 6:17 left in the game. Nolan Welsh got one through Autio to bring LIU within one in crunch time.

However, that’s all LIU would get, as Penn State and Autio shut down the Sharks the rest of the way. Additionally, Connor McMenamin put the icing on the cake with a goal in the final minute to give Penn State a 3-1 win.

Takeaways

  • Welcome back to Pegula Ice Arena, Nittany Nation! Led by the Roar Zone, the crowd was alive and loud all game long in the first game at Pegula with fans in 589 days. The team talked at media day about the importance of having fans back in the building, and it was certainly on full display Sunday afternoon.
  • Early power play success was key for Penn State in its win over LIU. The Nittany Lions scored their first goal of the season on the power play, which helped set the tone for the rest of the game. While their second goal didn’t come on the power play, it came within seconds of one ending.
  • Have yourself a day, Oskar Autio. The goalie was a brick wall all game long, as he gave up just one goal for the Nittany Lions in their season opener. He was credited with 23 saves on the day in what was an encouraging season opener for the senior.

What’s Next

Penn State will be back on the ice tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena for the second game of its two-game series against LIU. The game will be broadcast on BTN+.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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