No. 12 Penn State Men’s Hockey Pulls Off 3-2 Come-From-Behind Victory Over AIC
No. 12 Penn State men’s hockey (4-0) took down AIC (0-4) 3-2 Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena in the Nittany Lions’ home opener.
Guy Gadowsky’s group battled through all three periods against the Yellowjackets. Senior goaltender Liam Souliere saved 10 shots from the Yellowjackets, and goals from Ryan Kirwan, Aiden Fink, and Tanner Palocsik gave the Nittany Lions their fourth goal of the season and first at home.
How It Happened
Penn State came out strong on home ice, but the Yellowjackets quickly took control of the puck. Senior goaltender Liam Souliere was quickly tested with a slapshot by AIC’s Jordan Biro. Penn State was given multiple breakaway opportunities that couldn’t be completed due to AIC’s defense.
Captain Christian Berger was set up by Matt DiMarsico for a scoring opportunity but was quickly saved by Yellowjacket goaltender Nils Wallstrom.
The Nittany Lions’ offense ramped up midway through the period with a shot by Dylan Lugris followed by shots by Xander Lamppa and Dane Dowiak. AIC’s goaltender was prepared and stopped each shot, leaving the game scoreless.
AIC continued its physical attack with multiple hits on the Nittany Lions. The Yellowjackets also had multiple scoring opportunities, each saved by Souliere.
Penn State had the opportunity to get the first goal of the game with the puck in the crease, which almost crossed the line but was redirected by Wallstrom. Berger came back with a shot but it was blocked. The Nittany Lions continued to dominate the last couple of minutes but the game remained scoreless in the first period.
Penn State led 12-5 in shots on goal and maintained the offensive momentum despite the scoreless scoreboard.
Penn State won the opening face-off to continue its dominant game. Soon after the start of the period, Danny Dzhaniyev shot to the front of the net, but it was saved by Wallstrom.
The intensity carried over from the first period and both teams were desperate for their first goal.
Ryan Kirwan scored his fourth goal of the season to put the Nittany Lions on the board, making the score 1-0. He was assisted by alternate Lamppa in a massive counterattack to open scoring at Pegula for the 2023-24 season.
Who else but Ryan Kirwan? pic.twitter.com/lSBjXZBpFh— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 20, 2023
AIC took Penn State’s momentum, and less than two minutes later, tied the game with a goal by Jordan Biro.
The Yellowjackets’ intensity didn’t stop after their first goal. After a tripping penalty called on Jarod Crespo, AIC capitalized on its opportunity. Josh Barnes’ shot got past Souliere, allowing the Yellowjackets to take the lead less than five minutes later.
Almost midway through the second period, the score was 2-1. Each team’s offense was battling, desperate for every shot on goal.
Looking to tie up the Yellowjackets, the Nittany Lions went on the power-play due to a tripping penalty called on Alexander Malinowski.
The Nittany Lions couldn’t get more than one shot on goal during the power-play. The puck was cleared by AIC’s defense as time winded down on Penn State’s chance to recover.
Penn State’s offense still dominated with less than 10 minutes left in the period and led 22-9 in shots on goal.
Sensing Penn State’s urge to come back, AIC delivered lethal checks to the blue and white, including one on freshman Reese Laubach.
Carson Dyck was given a great scoring opportunity as a shot deflected off of Wallstroms’ glove as time dwindled down in the second period.
With exactly a minute left, Simon Mack shot from the blue line that was cupped by Wallstrom.
AIC’s Brian Kramer caused an interfering call, giving the Nittany Lions one last hope to tie the game late in the second period. The Yellowjackets’ defense held Penn State back from scoring, leaving them in the lead to start the third period.
The Nittany Lions started the third period with one minute left on the power-play. With a couple of shots on goal, Penn State still couldn’t find the puck in the back of the net, and AIC killed the power-play.
Given another chance, the Nittany Lions went back on the power-play after another tripping penalty was called on Malinowski.
Finding the equalizer, freshman Aiden Fink tied the game with a goal that soared right past Wallstrom and got his first goal as a Nittany Lion. He was assisted by Christian Sarlo and Dylan Gratton.
These guys are keeping it tight. pic.twitter.com/DDpdSYDCKW— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 21, 2023
Fink gave the Nittany Lions the goal they were desperately fighting for. The job was not finished, however.
The Yellowjackets continued fighting on defense, preventing Penn State from taking the lead.
AIC handed Penn State a chance to take the lead after the tripping penalty was called on Timofei Khokhlachev. Dylan Lugris came out hot with a shot firing right to the bread basket of AIC’s goaltender.
AIC killed Penn State’s chance and the Nittany Lions were still down 2-1 with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
Penn State’s offense stayed strong, advancing to 42-12 shots on goal with less than five minutes left.
The Nittany Lions completed their comeback deep into the third period. Tanner Palocsik let his puck fly past AIC’s goaltender to take the lead. He was assisted by Berger and Jacques Bouquot.
That’s a pretty good way to take the lead pic.twitter.com/GS4IXN0pcn— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 21, 2023
Penn State survived the Yellowjackets and got its first win on home ice in front of the Roar Zone and the folks at Pegula.
Player Of The Game
Tanner Palocsik | Defense
Have a night, Tanner Palocsik.
The graduate defenseman secured Penn State its first home victory at Pegula Ice Arena in what could’ve been a ranked upset of the Nittany Lions. As the group continues to develop following the loss of a few big names on the roster, having veteran converters like Palocsik on the ice will only serve the blue and white well.
The Nittany Lions will face off against the Yellowjackets for a second time at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, at Pegula Ice Arena.
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About the Author
Kolenitcki would be James Franklin’s sixth offensive coordinator at Penn State.
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