The Penn State Ice Lions (22-4-1) were busy this past weekend, beating Rider, Saint Joseph’s and UM-Baltimore.
The Ice Lions 4-3 victory over Baltimore will keep them in their second place standing in the ACHA southeast rankings, giving them an automatic bid to the national tournament in March.
“It was a great test against a quality team that is a yearly contender for an autobid,” coach Matt Morrow said in an email. “It felt great to be able to come away with a solid victory.”
The team came out of the long weekend 3-0, extending its winning streak to 13 games.
“I was very impressed that our preparation for our first game of the weekend and our last game of the weekend were essentially identical, you couldn't really tell that the guys had played [120 minutes] prior to the UMBC game,” Morrow said.
The automatic bid will allow the team to bypass the regional tournament, and with one game left in the season, the Ice Lions are ready for post season play.
“It's important moving forward that we celebrate our successes, but that we continue to raise the bar for what we expect from one another, coaches included,” Morrow said.
The team will play its final game of the regular season on Sunday against Monmouth in West Long Branch, N.J.
Hershey, Pa. - Penn State was too much for Ohio Friday night, despite the Bobcats scoring first.
Nittany Lions’ coach Guy Gadowsky thought “here we go again” when the puck was deflected and had goalie P.J. Musico going the opposite direction. The Lions would not let allow another goal in the 6-1 win.
“We didn’t actually play a poor first period,” Gadowsky said. “Anytime you’re playing well and you have the first one scored against you, you have that mindset.”
Two unanswered goals from freshmen Casey Bailey and David Glen in the first period gave the Lions the lead for good.
Gadowsky added that it was important that the team had the lead heading into the first intermission.
“It gives you a little better feeling going into the second period,” Gadowsky said. “It’s unlike Michigan State [where] we played well but were down.”
The Lions then had their best period in the second. Penn State scored four goals in the second period with Kenny Brooks, Michael Longo, Mark Yanis, and Bailey’s second of the night.
Despite neither team scoring in the third period, Penn State’s old club rivalry with the Ohio Bobcats didn’t go anywhere as the hits came from all directions from the start of the opening faceoff.
Musico stopped 13 out of Ohio’s 14 shots while Nittany Lions finished the game with 37 shots on goal.
The two teams will face each other again at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Three Stars: Third - David Glen, Second - Kenny Brooks, First - Casey Bailey
Three Pennsylvania teams and one from Vermont occupied the Wells Fargo Center ice Saturday.
Penn State never trailed in its 4-2 win against the Vermont Catamounts following the Philadelphia Flyers' home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Philadelphia Saturday night.
Junior Taylor Holstrom put the Lions ahead early after he knocked down a clearing attempt and hammered home his fifth goal of the year.
Later in the first period, freshman David Glen scored his 11th goal on a snap shot from the slot after receiving a backhand pass from junior Justin Kirchhevel.
With 10:17, Kirchhevel tried a wrap around that appeared to be stopped by the left pad of Catamount goalie Brody Hoffman. However, Kirchhevel and the crowd celebrated as if they scored. Even though the red goal light didn’t come on, the play was reviewed and officials ruled that the puck did cross the goal line. It gave the Nittany Lions a three-goal lead.
Vermont came back with a powerplay goal to keep them within two goals minutes after Holstrom's goal.
Casey Bailey netted his 11th goal of the season after a scramble in front that knocked Hoffman down. The play was also reviewed but quickly deemed a good goal. The goal gave Penn State a commanding lead.
Skoff also made some difficult saves that kept Vermont off the scoreboard at critical points. Skoff made 34 saves on the night.
The Nittany Lions will now focus on taking on future Big Ten foe Michigan State for two games in East Lansing, Mich. next weekend.
Even though the stats won’t go toward their final total, Penn State can say they have completed a comeback despite getting outshot 49-30. The Nittany Lions scored five answered goals in the 5-2 win against the United States Under-18 National Development Team.
At 8:47 of the first period, Michigan commit Tyler Motte scored on a wide-open net after Matt Skoff left a rebound in his crease.
As the siren-sounded at the end of the first period, Casey Bailey and Connor Clifton were both penalized after a scuffle behind the net.
Another Michigan commit gave Team USA a two-goal lead. Tyler Motte snapped a shot past Skoff’s glove.
The Nittany Lions quickly answered less than two minutes later when George Saad scored to keep the game one goal apart.
The game then became much more physical. Eight of the total penalties called in the second period came after the Penn State goal.
The Lions got the game-tying goal after Kenny Brooks was able to find the net at 10:35 .
Joseph Lordo gave Penn State it’s first lead on a one-timer that was fed from Taylor Holstrom and Bailey. Tommy Olczyk put the Lions ahead by two at 13:12 of the third period with a backhander that tickled the twine. Brooks added an empty-netter to seal the victory for Penn State.
Skoff made some photographic saves while stopping 47 USA shots in the win.
Three Stars: 3rd Georgeo Saad (PSU), 2nd Joseph Lordo (PSU), 1st Matt Skoff (PSU)
Penn State fell to 8-10-0 after losing 4-3 at UCONN, Friday night.
Freshman forward David Glen retook the team lead in goals when he scored his ninth of the season, on the power play, to tie the game in the first period.
The Nittany Lions were able to take the lead early in the second period after a goal from junior forward Taylor Holstrom. UCONN was able to retake the lead after they scored two goals less then two minutes apart.
The Lions also got another game-tying goal from freshman defenseman Connor Varley, but the only goal in the third period was enough for the Huskies to get the victory. The Huskies improved their record to 6-8-2.
The game only totaled four penalties as the Lions were able to score the only power play goal, going 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Lions won't have time to dwell on the loss as the two teams will face off again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night.
PITTSBURGH -- It took Penn State 67:45 to get its first goal in the Three Rivers Classic, but once it did, the flood gates opened -- especially for the third line.
The Nittany Lions tallied five times in their win against Ohio State on Saturday at Consol Energy Center and third-liners Casey Bailey, Taylor Holstrom and Max Gardiner had a hand in all of the goals.
Gardiner notched an assist on Curtis Loik's goal at 7:45 in the first period while Bailey and Holstrom scored the next four goals. The three players combined to put up nine points on the afternoon and gave the offense the jumpstart it needed after getting shut out against Robert Morris on Friday.
"Getting shut out last night I think really made us hungry tonight to bang those pucks in around the net," Bailey said after the game.
The freshman from Anchorage, Alaska had perhaps the biggest night of the trio, scoring two goals and adding a pair of helpers.
His performance earned him recognition as the only Penn State player on the all-tournament team, but he was quick to emphasize the team's result postgame.
"Obviously it feels good just to get that win," Bailey said. "I mean anyone that contributes, it's big. But obviously to put those pucks in the net but also contribute assists feels great but just getting the win is the biggest part, for sure."
Penn State generated 11 fewer shots than it did against Robert Morris and was outshot by the Buckeyes by a 40-37 margin.
The Lions were able to cash in on a couple of juicy rebounds, though, and added a powerplay goal in a 5-on-3 situation after Gardiner got a puck deep on the near boards and dished it to Bailey in front for the goal.
Holstrom thought that penetration was crucial.
"Really just getting pucks on net and stopping in front of the net [was the key]," Holstrom said. "We did a lot of that tonight. We were able to get behind the [defense] and just bang a couple home."
PITTSBURGH -- If there's a team Penn State football fans have come to recognize as their primary Big Ten rival, it's Ohio State.
The schools have met on the gridiron 28 times and have split those meetings almost down the middle. Ohio State leads the all-time series 15-13 (including vacated wins) and many of the games have been played with significant Big Ten championship implications.
With that history as a backdrop, the two schools met for the first time as NCAA hockey opponents on Saturday in the consolation game of the Three Rivers Classic at Consol Energy Center. And after the Nittany Lions earned a 5-4 victory, opinions were mixed about whether the programs, both set to join the new Big Ten hockey conference next season, can build a rivalry on the ice to complement their football-rooted hostilities.
"Coming into Penn State, you know that rivalry's already there with the football team and the other organizations at the school," forward Casey Bailey said. "I think to start that up in hockey is huge for us."
The two schools' backgrounds in hockey are significantly different, though.
Penn State is in its first year of NCAA competition, while Ohio State has been playing at the top level since 1963. The Buckeyes have six NCAA tournament appearances and a Frozen Four on their resume, while the Lions have yet to sniff such accomplishments.
So while his player was prepared to dub Ohio State a rival, coach Guy Gadowsky was more reserved on the issue.
"I think rivalries happen through not just geographics but other things," Gadowsky said. "I think a little bit more has to happen for this to develop into a true rivalry."
In the mean time, Ohio State associate head coach Steve Rohlik respects what Penn State is trying to build.
"Guy does a fantastic job," Rohlik said. "Look at his track record. That team's going to be reckoned with from day one."
From left to right, Penn State players Taylor Holstrom, Casey Bailey and coach Guy Gadowsky talk about Penn State's 5-4 victory against Ohio State in the Three Rivers Classic on Saturday at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center.