No. 16 Penn State Men’s Hockey Survives Long Island 3-2
No. 16 Penn State men’s hockey (1-0) traveled down I-80 to face Long Island University (0-1), hanging on to secure the first win of the campaign 3-2.
A physical first period set the stage for a serious tilt. Neither team gained a foothold on the scoreboard until Penn State’s Matt DiMarsico punched in a buzzer-beating goal to end the first frame. A rollercoaster second period saw Long Island claim the lead for itself, but another last-minute goal from Ryan Kirwan saw the game enter the final period tied at 2-2. Then, a tense third period finally broke Penn State’s way as the Sharks’ Noah Kane was ejected late in the game, giving the Nittany Lions the advantage they needed to seal the game at 3-2.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions skated to the season-opening face-off with newly minted assistant captains Christian Sarlo and Xander Lamppa joining the speedy Danny Dzhaniyev on offense. Dylan Gratton and Jimmy Dowd Jr. started at the blue line and Liam Souliere stood between the pipes.
Long Island took advantage of its home barn as the game got underway, tilting the ice towards Souliere and the Nittany Lion end. A high forecheck coupled with ferocious hitting helped the Sharks seal off their attacking end but a compact Penn State defense didn’t give up any easy opportunities.
Penn State finally found its footing five minutes into the game as the Long Island captain, Jack Quinn, took a hooking penalty at the half-wall, giving Penn State its first power play. A patient effort saw the puck swing around the blue line and face-off circles but after four shots on goal, the man-advantage expired.
Long Island got a power play of its own nine and a half minutes into the first frame after Alex Servagno tripped a Sharks winger entering the zone. The high-octane offense ramped up from Long Island, who put six shots on goal. The final shot of the power play from Noah Kane was from prime real estate in the low slot, but Souliere managed to deny the senior the opening goal.
With the teams returning to even strength, Long Island returned to its physicality first mantra. Penn State would clear its end and breach the attacking zone with a stretched pass, but a late hit was sure to come from a back-checking Shark. This cycle would continue to the final minutes, when Lamppa tied up with Austin Brimmer at the face-off dot. After some words and shoves, the blue and white looked fired up for the first time in the tilt.
The Nittany Lions got some decent shots on goal and finally seemed like themselves as time eclipsed the one-minute mark. The chances piled up into a full-on onslaught as Long Island defenders piled up in front of the net to freeze the puck, but Carson Dyck managed to pull it out to set up freshman DiMarsico for a clap-bomb, career-first, go-ahead goal with just three seconds on the clock. Penn State took its 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period started similarly to the first, but this time both teams looked ready for the physical battle ahead. Both sides finished their checks into the boards, content with letting the puck bounce from end to end.
Long Island would break the lead three minutes into the period, though, as a heavily screened shot from Preston Brodziak had the right speed and placement to beat Souliere and knot the game up at 1-1.
The Sharks doubled down with 15 minutes on the clock, gliding into the unsettled Penn State zone with speed. Riley Wallack skated right up to the goalmouth and though Souliere got a piece of the puck, the shot carried across the goal line to put Long Island in the lead 2-1.
The Nittany Lions handled the puck well through the next five minutes, hogging possession and trying to poke their way into the zone. A stretch of five unanswered shots for Penn State came up fruitless but re-solidified the blue-and-white offensive.
A tough call was handed to Penn State with 10:18 on the clock as the bench was called for too many men. A scrum at the bench door prevented Servagno from stepping off the ice, but the referees held firm on their decision and DeMarsico served a two-minute infraction. During the advantage, Long Island saw quality opportunities in and around the slot, but a dialed-in Souliere kept the power play unit off the scoreboard.
After the penalty kill, the game boiled over behind the Sharks’ cage with 8:33 to play in the period. Chase McLane was surrounded by Sharks and cross-checks flew. Players were escorted back to their benches and no penalties were awarded. Scrappy play ensued, but now Penn State looked more comfortable under the pressure. An extended offensive possession saw four shots in a minute, but goalie Brandon Perrone stood strong and denied a tying goal.
The Nittany Lions poured on the pressure in the final moments, winning clutch face-offs after forcing Long Island to ice the puck. Feeling near inevitable, Penn State cashed in with 28 seconds in the period as Kirwin slapped a bouncing Dzhaniyev pass over Perrone’s pads to set the score 2-2. The score held as time expired in the second period.
Penn State looked at home with the puck as the third period began, controlling play and entering the zone with ease. An 8-2 shot advantage was almost converted four minutes into the frame when Sarlo corralled a bouncing puck in the low slot at full speed but his backhand connected with the post. Simon Mack got the rebound but couldn’t put it on the net.
With 13:51 to play in regulation, Quinn returned to the box with another tripping penalty when he tried to fish the puck away at the blue line, instead tying up a Nittany Lion skater. The power play fired on all cylinders, putting the puck on goal early and often in possession. A selfless effort from the Long Island penalty kill put plenty of traffic in front of the cage with both the defense and goalie absorbing each of the nine shots fired their way. The advantage expired goalless for Penn State.
Immediately following the release of Quinn, Kane put a dirty hit on freshman Reese Laubach. It was initially called a two-minute minor for elbowing but after review, the officials upped the sentence to a five-minute major and ejection for a hit to the head. Now with extra time on the advantage, Penn State took a cautious approach to its power play. Perrone stood on his head to deny the offense for 10 shots and nearly five minutes, but with one second left on the power play, a Dylan Lugris deflection put the puck past the goal line for the 3-2 score with 5:11 on the game clock.
The celebration didn’t last long though as Carter Schade was called for hitting from behind, gifting Long Island a power play with four minutes to play. The Nittany Lions held firm and cleared the puck easily on the penalty kill, effectively neutralizing the Sharks’ advantage and returning to even strength.
Long Island pulled its goalie with 1:59 on the game clock, desperate for the game-tying goal. A tense period of six-on-five hockey ended without a single shot for the Sharks as Penn State completed its season-opening win on the road.
- Penn State outshot its opponents 32-18, a testament to its third-period surge. Solid goaltending from Long Island kept the offense from running away with the game, but the Nittany Lions’ ability to create chances is there early in the season.
- This game was akin to a demolition derby. Penn State did well to keep its head amidst the physical play, letting its opponent’s over-aggressive hitting be their downfall. The timely major penalty secured the win for the blue and white.
Penn State will travel to northern New York to face Clarkson University next Friday, October 13. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
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About the Author
Just how good was that Dom DeLuca pick-six against Delaware?
Mulvaney was emotionally vulnerable with the audience while offering plenty of words of advice.
“As unfortunate as that is, it gives someone an opportunity to step in.”