No. 15 Penn State Men’s Hockey Edges Alaska Anchorage 2-1
No. 15 Penn State men’s hockey (5-1-0) defeated the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (3-4-0) 2-1 on Thursday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
Penn State scored within the first two minutes of the first two periods, which it used as momentum to control both periods. That momentum carried into the third period, and Penn State held off a late comeback bid by the Seawolves to win 2-1.
How It Happened
Penn State started with consecutive chances, the latter of which was barely denied by Jared Whale in front of the net. After the play, however, Dylan Finley was called for cross-checking. It didn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to take advantage, as Christian Sarlo hammered home a slap shot to make it 1-0 at 18:27 in the first period.
Christian Sarlo opens up the scoring for the Nittany Lions less than two minutes into the game!— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 26, 2023
The Nittany Lions continued to possess the puck, maintaining momentum as a result of the goal. They peppered Whale with shots, who scrambled to save each one while his defense mounted desperate attempts to clear the puck, but with little success.
Two separate breakaway attempts were stifled by the Seawolves. However, Penn State continued to outplay them with its speed and physicality. Maximilion Helgeson then gave the Nittany Lions a taste of their own medicine with a breakaway, but the shot went wide and away from Noah Grannan’s reach.
Whale continued to deny shot after shot from Penn State’s offense throughout the period. He kept the Nittany Lions to a 1-0 lead, stopping several dangerous chances. At the end of one period, Penn State was outshooting Alaska Anchorage 19-6.
However, Whale couldn’t stop Penn State from making it 2-0. Just over one minute into the second period, Danny Dzhaniyev went top-shelf to add an insurance goal to the lead.
LIGHT THAT LAMP DZHANIYEV— Onward State (@OnwardState) October 26, 2023
The Nittany Lions continued playing well by controlling the puck, again keeping Whale from getting much of a breather. He continued to keep his team in the game, denying shots repeatedly.
Then, halfway through the second period, the Seawolves struck back. Ben Almquist put the puck past Grannan on a rebound to cut Penn State’s deficit in half, making it 2-1.
Despite conceding the goal, Penn State continued controlling the better part of the game. The bulk of the Nittany Lions’ shots came in the first half of the period, but they continued holding onto possession for the majority of the period until the horn sounded to send both teams into the locker room.
Back-and-forth hockey was played for much of the third period. Both teams had chances, but neither one could capitalize. The Nittany Lions in particular had several close looks against Whale, but passes were broken up or wide.
Then, Caleb Huffman was called for hooking, giving Penn State its second power play of the night with nine minutes remaining in regulation. The Nittany Lions sent several shots flying toward Whale, with Ryan Kirwan having three consecutive unsuccessful chances. Despite Penn State controlling the puck throughout the advantage, the Seawolves cleared it to end the power play.
Even when the Seawolves regained full strength, the Nittany Lions continued controlling the game and slowly grinding out the clock. They continuously stopped Alaskan scoring attempts, while taking more shots on Whale. The final horn sounded shortly after, and Penn State won 2-1.
- Fast starts propelled Penn State to successful first and second periods. By scoring within the first two minutes into each period, the Nittany Lions fed off the momentum provided by the goal and controlled the majority of the game.
- Noah Grannan had a solid performance in goal, with X saves. Although there isn’t expected to be much of a battle between the sophomore and starter Liam Souliere, he’s proving himself as a reliable option should the coaching staff ever want to pivot for any reason.
- Penn State didn’t take a single penalty tonight. Based on previous showings throughout the season, tonight was a clear step in the right direction and arguably kept Alaska Anchorage from tying it.
The Nittany Lions and the Seawolves finish the series tomorrow with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena.
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About the Author
When paired with the Thespian Society by Penn State THON, the world changed for Theresa Illicete.
In their first overtime play of the season, the Lady Lions fell just short of a conference upset.
The Nittany Lions collected four pins and four other bonus point victories.