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Penn State Men’s Hockey Sweeps Niagara In 6-2 Win

Penn State (5-1-0) kicked off homecoming weekend with another win over Niagara (0-4-0) and capped off a two-game series after routing the Purple Eagles last night in a 4-0 victory.

How It Happened

After senior goaltender Oskar Autio held a shutout in last night’s victory, Guy Gadowsky decided to shake things up and start sophomore goaltender Liam Souliere.

Penn State lost its junior forward Connor McMenamin to a game misconduct penalty just eight minutes into the game. However, shortly after the ejection, the Nittany Lions avenged their loss with a bar-down goal at 9:44 in the first period off the stick of sophomore forward Tyler Paquette. Notably, this was Paquette’s first goal at Penn State. Capping off a terrific power play after the penalty kill, Kevin Wall scored with the assist coming from two Edina, Minn., natives Phillips, and senior forward Ben Copeland.

At 18:06, Niagara finally ended its shutout of the two-game series when senior forward Albin Nilsson decided he had enough, scoring an unassisted goal. The first period came to a close with 55 seconds remaining in Penn State’s second power play opportunity of the game, but the team still held with a 2-1 lead at intermission.

Just over four minutes into the second period, the Nittany Lions had a three-person charge with no Purple Eagles ahead, but, unfortunately, Copeland didn’t score. However, a few moments later, freshman forward Ryan Kirwan had a beautiful unassisted breakaway goal to give his team a 3-1 lead at 4:58 of the second period.

Junior forward Tyler Gratton was called for an interference penalty that gave Niagara another unsuccessful power play chance. Almost immediately after the penalty kill, the Nittany Lions were called for two more back-to-back penalties. They successfully escaped without giving up any goals to the board. Toward the end of the penalty kill marathon, Penn State went on a power play of its own. A five-minute major for Niagara’s senior forward Jon Hill for hitting from behind carried over into the third period.

Souliere was spectacular in the second period, giving up no goals with 13 saves and 28 total saves. The penalty kill by Penn State was not only good, but it was outstanding. Niagara had several scoring chances in the second period that were diminished by excellent defense and goalkeeping.

The Purple Eagles made things interesting in the third period with an unassisted goal at 7:17 scored by redshirt senior forward Walker Sommer. The goal helped close the gap to a one-goal deficit for Niagara. Penn State regained its two-goal lead as Wall scored at 13:18 in the final period, his second goal of the night, making it 4-2.

Wall’s name was called again at 17:28 as he had a penalty shot opportunity after a hooking call that led to hats being tossed on the ice and a 5-2 lead for the Nittany Lions. The Purple Eagles pulled their freshman goaltender Jake Sibell, resulting in an empty-net goal from Paquette at 17:56, giving him two on the night. Dyck and sophomore defenseman Christian Berger assisted the goal. This goal capped off the 6-2 victory for the Nittany Lions.

Takeaways

  • The penalty kill for the Nittany Lions was fantastic tonight as Niagara went 0-6 on its attempts. It was an unbelievable effort by everyone on the team, but hats off to Souliere for not giving up any goals as the Purple Eagle power play became all too familiar tonight.
  • Apart from the penalty kill, Souliere had a phenomenal night. He had 33 total saves on the night. There were moments in the game when the momentum had shifted in Niagara’s favor, but that didn’t stop Souliere as he played like a true leader. Essentially, he was a solid brick wall.
  • The player of the game is going to be Kevin Wall. When Wonderwall is played several times, and there are hats thrown on the ice, it was understandably a big night for him. His successful penalty shot was electric. That was arguably one of the best moments in Pegula Ice Arena this season.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel to Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, October 30, and will take the ice in Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. in a rare matchup against North Dakota. The game will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Gabriel Herman

Gabriel Herman is a journalism major at Penn State from Minneapolis, MN. He writes about several sports-related topics. If you want to discuss great moments in Minnesota sports history, you can reach him at [email protected]

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