Men’s Hockey drops game two to Arizona State

Story posted December 2, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Tom Zulewski

Despite outshooting the Arizona State Sun Devils (19-1, ACHA) 37-30, the Penn State men's hockey team (6-6) came out flat and lost 3-1 Saturday night at Greenberg Ice Pavilion to an ACHA Division 1 club hockey team.
After the game, Penn State head Coach Guy Gadowsky praised the Sun Devils.

“I think you have to give credit to Arizona [State],” Gadowsky said. “They played great. I thought they definitely wanted to be here and really wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. I think desire is a big value in sports, so I think that’s the difference.”

After having a total of three power plays in Friday night’s contest, the Nittany Lions received three power plays in the first period of Saturday night’s game. Unfortunately, Penn State came up short on all three. The Nittany Lions' best chance came at the 10:42 mark of the first period where Arizona State forward Jordan Young crossed check Penn State forward Kenny Brooks from behind, giving the Nittany Lions 46 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time.

Both goaltenders looked strong in the opening period. Arizona State goaltender Joe D’Elia turned aside ten Penn State shots, including two on the power play. On the Penn State side, goaltender P.J. Musico turned aside 16 shots, including three on the power play. Musico had an adventurous time handing the puck, however.

On the offensive side Penn State struggled in the first getting any sustained pressure in the zone. Arizona State would get on the board first, 38 seconds into the second period after a Nate Jensen turnover at the blue line sprung an Arizona State 2-on-2 rush that culminated in Faiz Khan’s seventh goal of the season.

Arizona State dominated play for much of the second period. The Sun Devils neutral zone trap gave Penn State’s breakouts fits all night. Penn State registered a total of 9 shots in the period, however that stat is misleading because only a handful were of the quality variety. The second period was arguably one of the worst periods of hockey Penn State has played all year.

Penn State defenseman Luke Juha credited Arizona State on their neutral zone trap style of play.

“I found that we didn’t have enough speed coming in through the neutral zone and they were catching us,” Juha said. “They did a good job of it and we couldn’t build much momentum off of it.”

Penn State started off the third period with 1:16 of power play time, but failed to score on the man advantage. A little over two minutes later Arizona State would increase their lead to 2-0 on Kale Dolinski’s 20th goal of the season. Two Penn State defenseman collided on the play opening up a shooting lane for Dolinski who slipped the puck through P.J. Musico’s five hole.  

After a Taylor Holstrom tripping penalty put Penn State down a man five minutes into the third period, the Nittany Lions received some much needed life in the form of a shorthanded goal by Curtis Loik. Penn State captain Tommy Olczyk stick handled around two Sun Devil defenders to set up Loik for the goal. Dominic Morrone would have tied the game at two, although he tried to glove the puck out of the air and into the net. Good call by the referees waiving off the goal. 

With a little more than six minutes remaining in the game, all the momentum Penn State received with the Loik goal was gone after Kale Dolinski tallied his second of the game on a breakaway after a costly turnover at the blue line from Max Gardiner sucking all the life out of rink and putting Penn State away for good.

"One team really wanted to be here and were very hungry for their opportunity," Gadowsky said of Arizona State. "Another didn't."

The Nittany Lions travel to Holy Cross next weekend to take on the Crusaders and return home to Greenberg Ice Pavilion on December 15 as they take on Robert Morris.

Tom Zulewski is a senior majoring in Journalism. To contact him, e-mail trz5013@psu.edu.