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No. 12 Penn State Men’s Hockey Drops Late-Game Heartbreaker To AIC 6-4

No. 12 Penn State men’s hockey (4-1) failed to complete the sweep against AIC (1-4) as it fell 6-4 on Saturday at Pegula Ice Arena.

Despite a tough time between the pipes, Simon Mac, Chase McLane, Danny Dzhaniyev, and Reese Laubach converted goals to attempt a comeback but fell short and registered the Nittany Lions’ first loss of the season.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions started goaltender Liam Souliere once again as Penn State attempted to go for the sweep against AIC. A new starting five stood in front of Souliere featuring Matt DiMarsico, Xander Lamppa, Christian Sarlo, Christian Berger, and Tanner Palocsik.

The game started off physically, and there was almost a fight between both teams. AIC got the first power play of the game about three minutes into the first period after Penn State’s Ryan Kirwan was flagged for interference. AIC capitalized on the power play and got on the board first as right defender Matt Rickard scored the first goal off a face-off.

Penn State responded four minutes later as defender Simon Mack sent the puck toward goal from the blue line and beat AIC goaltender Alexandros Aslanidis to tie up the score at 1-1.

Eleven minutes into the game, the Nittany Lions had the opportunity to take the lead as they got their first power play of the game after Dzhaniyev got hit from behind by AIC’s left defender Tomi Leppanen. The power play was deemed as a major penalty and stood for five minutes.

The Nittany Lions had many chances to score, but most of their chances were missed or saved. After about four minutes into the power play, the Nittany Lions’ man advantage ended as they were called for a penalty of their own. This created a four-on-four situation for about a minute. Both teams managed to kill each other’s power play.

With three minutes left in the first period, AIC’s forward Julius Janhonen struck down the second goal for the Yellowjackets to make the score 2-1. With about two minutes left, the Nittany Lions received another power play as AIC’s forward Blake Wells got a two-minute minor penalty for slashing.

The Nittany Lions couldn’t capitalize on this great opportunity to tie the game as they missed a good number of chances. Just after AIC killed off the penalty, forward Austen Long made the score 3-1 with 16 seconds left in the first period as the Nittany Lions.

The second period started off fast as both teams had quality chances which forced both goaltenders to make quality saves. The Nittany Lions made a turnover in their own zone which was intercepted by AIC’s Grayson Dietrich. After the interception, Dietrich’s shot was saved by Souliere.

After that, the period was very quiet as neither team got any quality chances.

Another chance for the Nittany Lions came as Laubach and Sarlo led a four-on-one opportunity in AIC’s zone, but Dylan Lugris’ shot went wide as Penn State failed to capitalize on its opportunities.

With about nine minutes left in the second period, AIC took advantage of all of Penn State’s missed chances. It scored its fourth goal of the game when Alexander Malinowski hammered another shot home to make the score 4-1.

Just when it looked like the game was over, the Nittany Lions responded back. Chase McLane got the puck back after Penn State lost the face-off and scored to make the score 4-2.

After Penn State scored, AIC tried to respond, and it looked like it did when it scored its fifth goal on a shot by John Lundy. However, after further review, it was determined that the puck didn’t cross the line and the score stayed the same. This led to a goaltender change for the Nittany Lions as Noah Grannan was subbed in for Souliere.

This goalie change seemed to bring a spark to the Nittany Lions as the team looked much better during the game. With four minutes and 47 seconds remaining, the Nittany Lions scored their goal on a shot by Dzhaniyev to make it a one-goal game.

Grannan made his first save of the season with about two minutes left in the second period. The period ended with the Nittany Lions trailing 4-3 going but carrying all the momentum.

The start of the third period was all Penn State. Its offense was in AIC’s zone most of the time and their defense didn’t allow AIC’s offense to have any shots on goal.

During the first ten minutes of the third period, both defenses stood tall as there weren’t many high-quality chances for both offenses. With 10 minutes and 21 seconds left, Logan Jenuwine had the first goal-scoring opportunity for the Yellowjackets in the period. His shot forced Grannan to make a great save to keep it a one-score game.

The Yellowjackets looked more involved on offense as they got into Penn State’s zone a good number of times. They created a good number of chances that forced Grannan to stay attentive.

With about four minutes left, Penn State put its foot on the gas and got more aggressive on offense and the aggressive strategy paid off. Dylan Gratton sent a beautiful pass to the crease and Laubach was there to tap the puck which tied up the score at four all.

However, just when it looked like this game was destined for overtime, the Yellowjackets showed their resilience and retook the lead with two minutes and 13 seconds left. Casey McDonald scored the Yellowjackets’ fifth goal to end all of the momentum for the Nittany Lions.

After this, Penn State did everything it could to tie the game up again. It went empty net with a minute and 50 seconds left and created many opportunities on offense. However, AIC’s defense stood tall, and right defender Brian Kramer scored on the empty netter to give the Yellowjackets the 6-4 upset win over Penn State.


  • Momentum was a huge factor in this game as both teams took advantage of it when they had it. The AIC Yellowjackets took advantage when they got the first power play of the game and scored the first goal. They never allowed Penn State to take the lead again.
  • Both goaltenders made a huge difference in the outcome of the game. AIC’s goalie Alexandros Aslanidis made 36 saves from 40 shots and Liam Souliere only recorded 10 saves off 14 shots. Noah Grannan registered seven saves off of eight shots.
  • The Nittany Lions were beaten in face-offs against the Yellowjackets. They won 35 face-offs compared to AIC’s 41. This proved to be critical as several led to goals from both teams.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will attempt to rebound from their first loss of the season at home against Alaska Anchorage at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, at Pegula Ice Arena.

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About the Author

Fernando Martinez

Fernando is a sophomore. He's majoring in broadcast journalism with the intention of minoring in Spanish and Sports Studies. Born in Mexico City, and now lives in Paoli, PA. He is a big soccer, football, and basketball fan. His favorite teams are FC Barcelona, the Cowboys, and the Lakers. He suffers a lot from watching the Cowboys choke in the playoffs that he has been diagnosed with 49ers PTSD. You can follow him on Instagram at fernando9015.

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