With 1:13 left in regulation Saturday afternoon and his team trailing by one, Penn State coach Scott Balboni called a timeout and gathered his players.
As music blared from the Greenberg Ice Pavilion loudspeaker, the Icers on the bench and the six skaters on the ice -- including defenseman Steve Thurston -- just leaned in to the huddle.
Three seconds later, Thurston delivered on a shot from the point that tied the game and propelled the No. 2 Icers to a 5-4 shootout win against No. 19 West Chester.
"There wasn't any panic," Thurston said. "I think everyone knew that all we had to do is put a good shot on net, get a rebound, get a goal. We got that, so that's all we needed."
Early in the third period, it didn't look like Penn State (23-2-1) would need more than the required 60 minutes to secure its eighth-straight win. Midway through the third period, the Icers led 3-1 after goals from Nick Seravalli, Dan Loucks and Taylor Cera, who was in his second game back from a high ankle sprain.
The Icers were also carrying the play for most of the afternoon, including holding a commanding lead in shots on goal the entire game.
But for a seven-minute stretch in the third period, West Chester (13-12-2) took control. With John Jay in net in place of Teddy Hume -- Balboni said it was a scheduled day off for Hume -- the Golden Rams scored three times in a span of 6:06 to take a 4-3 lead.
The last goal, credited to Rams forward Steave Meade, bounced off the backboards toward the goal and took
another bounce before it trickled into the net.
"I thought I was playing well up until the third period," Jay said. "It's tough getting into a groove when you don't have that many shots coming at you. In the third period, they got a string of a couple goals where there was a couple of them I should've had. One of them was off a bounce. I didn't think I played great but got the win."
Penn State's 21-game home winning streak was in doubt until the timeout and the proceeding faceoff, when Tim O'Brien won the draw and pushed it back to Thurston at the point. Thurston fired a shot that navigated through numerous bodies in front of the net and over the shoulder of West Chester goalie Matt Murnane to tie the game.
"After we got that goal, we knew that we were gonna win, whether it was in overtime or in a shootout," Thurston said. "We had the game back in our hands, it was our game to win. We knew we were gonna pull it out in the end."
Jay did his part after that, keeping West Chester at bay during the overtime period and stopping the first two West Chester shooters, while Dominic Morrone scored for the Icers.
And when Pat Johnson's chance trickled wide of the net, the Icers escaped with their ACHA and home winning streaks intact, despite the fact that Penn State was pretty pleased with the way it played.
"I actually thought we played well today," Balboni said. "We had a good solid effort in a weekend where we could've had a big letdown coming off of two big [Ohio] wins, so I thought we had some good effort."