Strong Special Teams Leads Nittany Lions to Sweep Over Nanooks

Story posted 6 days ago in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 7 Penn State secured their first series sweep since Oct. 29 thanks to two power play goals to defeat Alaska-Fairbanks 2-1 Wednesday night.

The Nittany Lions found themselves down early in the first period after Anton Rubtsov was left all alone out in front.

This would mark just the fourth time this season the blue and white were not the first team to score in a game, with their previous record in those games being 1-2.

However, that record would change after Wednesday’s match, as Ryan Kirwan found the back of the net just four minutes later on a power play for Penn State.

That tally marked Kirwan’s sixth of the season and second of the series, after going eight straight games without a goal.

The power play would find the back of the net once more, this time off the stick of Ben Schoen halfway through the third period to give the Nittany Lions the 2-1 lead and that’s the way the game ended.

Christian Sarlo had an assist on the game-winning goal from Schoen, giving him a point in seven of the last eight games, including a three-game point streak.

With the two power play goals, Penn State’s power play continues to improve over the last few weekends, with four total power play goals in its series against the No. 16 Michigan State Spartans.

The man advantage unit has steadily gotten better after going a disastrous 1-for-20 over a six-game stretch earlier in the season. It now bumps up to 17.6% on the season, while a perfect penalty kill all series long moves that percentage to 78.6%.

The third period proved to be the difference maker in the contest, as the Nittany Lions would not only score the one and only goal in the period, but they would outshoot the Nanooks 17-8 in the final frame.

Junior goaltender Liam Souliere had another stellar night in night, stopping 33-of-34 shots to pick up his 11th win of the season. He becomes just the fourth Nittany Lion goaltender to record double-digit wins in a season, and has the fourth-most wins all time in net for Penn State, moving past Eamon McAdam.

The blue and white also move to 8-0-0 in non-conference play, their best non-conference record in program history, adding to the long list of program records from this season alone.

Penn State will now get a chance to enjoy the holiday break, before they travel back to Pegula Ice Arena to take on the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes in the final series of a six-game homestand.


Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jsb6137@psu.edu.