Penn State’s first ever Division I men’s hockey game was sold out at the Greenburg Ice Pavilion Friday night, which was roaring with fans eager see to Penn State play American International. About 1,300 were in attendance. The sell-out crowd was on its feet all night giving praise to the home team and harassment to the visitors.
“It is exciting to see them get hitting out there,” said Ryan Moore, a telecommunications student.
The entire night, Penn State fans heckled Yellow Jacket goalie Ben Meisner. Meisner took more and more vulgar insults all night. The insults actually got creative when the fans starting using Mighty Ducks, a popular Disney hockey movie, references.
“Hey Goalie…Goalie you suck,” a few fans screamed.
Meisner did not respond to the insults. However, he did respond after the game.
“The crowd was real hostile,” said Meisner.
The crowd represented the flow of play early, as Mark Yanis of Penn State got over aggressive receiving a roughing penalty early, giving AIC a power play. The Yellow Jackets took advantage of the power play when Nathan Sliwinskiti got a pass from Adam Pleskach to score in front of Penn State’s net. Sliwinskiti slid the puck past the left side of Lions’ goaltender Matthew Skoff. The early goal sparked a heavy offensive and physical reaction from Penn State that resulted in 20 shots on target.
The second period started with American International pushing hard on offense keeping possession of the puck. Penn State finally got a substantial offensive play when Joseph Lordo found Casey Bailey on the AIC’s goaltender’s backside to tie the game.
Of course, this sparked more insults toward the Yellow Jackets goaltender.
“It’s all your fault. It’s all you fault,” chanted the home crowd.
The Yellow Jackets had only six shots on target the entire third period. Penn State had numerous attempts on goal but could not capitalize early. It was not until about 10 minutes into the period did Taylor Holstrom score on a long range shot from the center of the ice. Holstrom’s late score tied the game 2-2. The period closed physical but uneventful in terms of scoring, and the first Division I game in the Greenburg Pavilion went to overtime. The team received a standing ovation upon returning for the extra frame.
The thrilling conclusion had fans in the Greenburg Pavilion, particularly in the student section, on their feet. Penn State got three shots on target in overtime each was denied by Meisner. Jon Puskar of the Yellow Jackets takes a hard shot that sailed over the shoulder of Skoff, giving A.I.C. the overtime victory.
Despite the loss, head coach Guy Gadowsky seemed enthusiastic after the game. He did display some frustration with having some many shots on target resulting in only two goals. However, Gadowsky did attribute that to the success of Meisner. Penn State’s coach said he was happy with the overall offensive attack.