With the crowd behind them, the Nittany Lions rally twice to win the “Wear White” game

Story posted January 22, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Justin Ciavolella

Down, but never out.

In front of a record-breaking attendance of 6,566 fans in its annual “Wear White” game, No. 6 Penn State rallied from behind twice to defeat Notre Dame and snap a three-game winless streak.

The Fighting Irish quickly silenced the crowd, which broke the previous record of 6,558 fans set on Friday night, when Trevor Janicke capitalized on one of Notre Dame’s four power-play chances.

Janicke’s eighth goal of the season was the only one that the blue and white yielded to the Notre Dame power play unit, but head coach Guy Gadowsky recognizes that his team needed to play cleaner.

“I think tonight we took a step back in terms of our mental discipline and what it takes to win hockey games,” Gadowsky said. “...power plays are massive.”

Notre Dame took the lead that Janicke gave it into the first-period intermission, but when the teams came back out, the Nittany Lions came roaring back.

Chase McLane led a charge down the ice and found Simon Mack cutting toward the net for the first goal for the blue and white. That extra boost that McLane and Mack had on that play was something that Gadowsky saw up and down his roster.

“No one looked down,” Gadowsky said. “...Everybody was flying, and it's great to see, it's wonderful.”

The Fighting Irish fought back though, getting a goal of their own just over three minutes later as Chase Primeau snuck a shot past Liam Souliere right as a Notre Dame power play expired.

Primeau’s second goal of the series was the fourth and final one of the two-game slate for Notre Dame. Souliere stopped every shot from there on out en route to a 29-save performance for his 16th victory of the season.

As the Nittany Lions could rely on the sure-handed Souliere, the offense was dealing with Notre Dame’s sure-handed netminder Ryan Bischel. Bischel stopped 42-of-45 shots in the loss, one night after making a career-high 52 saves.

With the period winding down, Connor MacEachern evened the score at two with his ninth goal of the season. That goal was one that forward Christian Sarlo said changed the feeling of the game.

“I think that goal is huge because we would have went in trailing, which definitely would have been a way different situation, kind of a different feel in the locker room,” Sarlo said. “I mean, that line, there’s three special players that always seem to step up when we need it the most.”

Sarlo had an opportunity to tie the game right before MacEachern did, but Bischel stuck out his stick, tripping Sarlo who had the right side of the net wide open.

“Just seeing that you got a chance like that, I think that kind of sparked me a little bit more,” Sarlo said. “I think our line was doing really well. We were generating a lot of chances and we just had to wait for one of them to go in.”

The New York native would get the last laugh however as with 5:37 remaining in the third period, Sarlo netted the game-winning goal. That goal brought the crowd to a fever pitch, where it remained for the rest of the game, which Sarlo made note of.

“I mean, you know, we have the best fans in college hockey and honestly maybe even hockey,” Sarlo said. “The turnout is always fantastic.”

Penn State will not have the crowd on its side for the next two weekends with away series slated against Michigan and Ohio State. But just like they did this weekend, the team knows the crowd will still be supporting them on the road.

“Their support is absolutely incredible,” Gadowsky said. “...so to see back-to-back nights setting attendance records it speaks to the great support that the students and the community have for Penn State University.”

Justin Ciavolella is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jtc5751@psu.edu.