Nittany Lions grab first win of season in commanding fashion against UConn

posted October 12, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Tim Behan

After a 2-2 tie against UConn in their season opener on Friday night, the Nittany Lions (1-0-1, 0-0-0) beat those same Huskies (0-1-1, 0-0-0) by a score of 7-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Although the offense exploded for seven goals, it was goaltender Matthew Skoff that caught the attention of coach Guy Gadowsky.

“He was the main reason we won, and he came up with three game savers early when it could have easily been 3-0,” said Gadowsky. “To go into the rest of the game even, we felt great and thought it was our night.”

Both teams traded scoring chances early in a fast-paced start. Skoff made a vital left pad save on a 3-on-2 to keep the game scoreless. After captain Patrick Koudys went to the box for interference at 3:41, the Nittany Lions put themselves into a bigger hole as Connor Varley received a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind.

The Huskies had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:18 and were unable to score due in large part to a couple of blocked shots by Dylan Richard. Penn State was able to kill the rest of the major penalty with no goals allowed on the 8 shots by UCONN.

When asked how the long penalty kill inspired the team, Casey Bailey said, “I think that changed the game for us, getting that right off the start. We had some big blocks from a lot of players and Skoff stood on his head in the first ten minutes”.

The momentum shifted to the Nittany Lions after the kill and they capitalized when David Glen powered a loose puck sent to the front of the net by Curtis Loik at 13:27. Penn State controlled the rest of play in the period and the shots were 13-11 in favor of UCONN after one.

The momentum was carried into the second period as Penn State sustained good pressure from their fore-check and created a goal when Eric Scheid put home his own rebound from a pass behind the net by Jonathan Milley to increase their lead to two goals at 0:43 of the period.

James Robinson went to the box at 3:42 for goalie interference, but that didn’t stop the Nittany Lion offense as Taylor Holmstrom scored shorthanded from Dylan Richard at 4:10. While on a 2-on-2 break, Holmstrom cut across the high slot and snapped one off the post and in to give Penn State a 3-0 edge.

Speaking on Holmstrom’s play, said Gadowsky, “He was the best forward all around last night. His commitment to the defensive side of the puck was great. When you do things like that, often you get rewarded so it was great to see him and his line have a tremendous game tonight”.

The Huskies got on the board a little under two minutes later when Spencer Nas scored off a feed from Ryan Tyson at 6:02.

Taylor Holmstrom and his line continued their strong game and scored again off the cycle when Casey Bailey found Holmstrom in the same spot in the high slot and he ripped it home again at 13:01 to put their lead back at three goals. In the same shift this line added another goal when David Goodwin’s pass intended for Holmstrom went in off a UConn defenseman’s skate at 13:27.

The Nittany Lions added another goal late in the period on the power play when Jonathan Milley parked himself at the back door and put in a loose puck from Goodwin and Juha at 18:52. Penn State led 6-1 after two periods and outshot the Huskies in the second period 18-8 for a total of 30-22 going into the third period.

The third period was much less action-packed than the first two where each team took one penalty and Penn State scored the one goal. It was Casey Bailey on a slapping a one-timer from the high slot that was assisted by Luke Juha. The Nittany Lions outshot the Huskies 12-7 in the third period for a game total advantage of 42-29.

The seven goals in one game tied the all-time record for most goals in a single game by the Nittany Lions. They will be back in action next week in Alaska as they face Alaska Anchorage on October 17th and Alaska on October 18th.

Tim Behan is a junior majoring in Telecommunications. To contact him, e-mail ttb5068@psu.edu.