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No. 18 Penn State Men’s Hockey Downs St. Thomas 3-2 In Overtime

No. 18 Penn State men’s hockey (6-0) survived an overtime thriller against St. Thomas (1-5) with a 3-2 win to stay undefeated heading into conference play.

Scoring in a quick burst and having to grind out a physical game against an unranked opponent, the Nittany Lions remained resilient and cashed in for an overtime finish thanks to Connor McMenamin’s second goal of the night.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions, riding momentum from their 6-2 routing of the Tommies on Thursday night, entered Friday’s contest with a full head of steam and a fresh goaltender in freshman Noah Grannan.

Penn State dominated early on, tallying the first three shots of the contest. The Nittany Lions got on the scoreboard toward the end of a physical first period with a goal from senior Connor McMenamin after a botched clearance from St. Thomas. Then, before the arena had a chance to sit back down, Ben Copeland slotted the puck over the pads of goalie Aaron Trotter to put the Nittany Lions up 2-0.

St. Thomas answered the run of goals, however, as Ryan O’Neill scored a power-play goal for the Tommies to send the game to intermission 2-1.

The second period started slowly with neither team generating many quality chances. This silence was cut quickly with a St. Thomas goal off the stick of Ethan Gauer to knot the game up at two apiece. St. Thomas almost took the lead at the end of the period after a shot from Jake Braccini rang off the crossbar, and the game went into the second intermission at a 2-2 deadlock.

The first half of the third period was a back-and-forth and physical battle, as hard-nosed hockey kept both offenses away from the slot, denying good looks at goal. Penn State was able to kill the slashing minor on Jarod Crespo and Ture Linden back to back, giving the Nittany Lions and the home crowd some much-needed momentum.

Penn State almost sealed the deal with time expiring as the puck took a wild bounce off the top of the net and landed in the crease, but Trotter and a pile of Tommies kept the puck out of the net, and regulation ended 2-2.

To start the three-on-three overtime period, the Nittany Lions asked a lot of Grannan, as he made four electrifying saves in front of the Roar Zone to keep Penn State level. After a stretch of tense and cautious play from the Tommies, Penn State began to attack.

The overtime thriller came to an end off a breakaway shot through the five holes of Trotter for McMenamin‘s second goal of the bout, winning the game for the Nittany Lions 3-2.

Takeaways

  • Penn State struggled after its quick first period, producing just seven and nine shots in the remaining periods of regulation, respectively. The Nittany Lions were able to revive their stagnant offense in overtime to score the game winner.
  • McMenamin finished two chances for goals, making for three points on the series against St. Thomas. His line with Connor MacEachern finished with the game high +/- of 2.
  • The Nittany Lions found space in the slot for more quality chances than their opponents with 14 of their shots coming from between the circles to St. Thomas’ 10.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel to Madison for a two-game series against the Wisconsin Badgers next weekend. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. on October 28 and 29.

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About the Author

Jack Scott

Jack is a sophomore aerospace engineer from Pittsburgh, PA. Sometimes, he enjoys the misunderstanding of his friends and family that Penn State Club Ski Racing may be a D1 sport and usually won't correct them. Jack is way too into Thundercat for his own good. Follow him on Twitter @joscottIV and Instagram @jackscott._iv

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