Penn State Rides a Kevin Wall Hat Trick to Sweep Niagara
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kevin Wall scored a hat trick and Tyler Paquette lit the lamp twice as Penn State was able to complete the sweep over Niagara with a 6-2 win Friday night.
Even with Wall’s stellar night, the Nittany Lions had eight penalties as a team.
“We took some stupid penalties,” Guy Gadowsky said. “If you do that, that will bite you.”
Niagara was determined to reverse the script in game two and was able to do so with quality opportunities to test Liam Soulière. Despite those efforts, it came up empty.
The Purple Eagles led in shots 7-1 just a few minutes into the contest and Soulière came up with acrobatic saves, sprawling his body throughout the crease.
Connor McMenamin’s night ended early because of a five-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct, putting Penn State in a bind early.
However, it was not an issue.
Tyler Paquette cracked the scoreboard at 10:16 with a rising shot that went bar down past netminder Jake Sibell and Penn State grabbed a 1-0 lead while shorthanded.
Penn State then went on the power play because of a trip called on Luke Edgerton and another opportunity was present.
Kevin Wall added his third goal of the series on a wrister from the high slot and the lead increased to 2-0 at 14:39 of the opening frame.
Both teams played the dump and chase game for the remainder of the period until a bad Penn State turnover in the defensive zone led to a golden opportunity for Niagara.
Albin Nilsson made no mistake and picked up the loose change in front, getting the Purple Eagles on the board, making it a 2-1 game at 18:06 and that score held going into the first intermission.
The second period then saw seven combined penalties, including another game misconduct courtesy of Niagara’s Jon Hill hitting from behind.
Ryan Kirwan increased the Nittany Lion lead to 3-1 on a breakaway at 4:58 of the middle stanza, but that was about it.
At the conclusion of 40 minutes of play, there were 12 total penalties — seven on Penn State and five on Niagara.
Just 20 minutes remained and neither team, once again, could establish any sort of offense throughout the first few minutes of the period.
Both teams were desperately trying to make a play and the visitors were able to do so.
Walker Sommer snuck a shot past Soulière at 7:17 and just like that, Niagara had clawed its way back into the game, cutting the Penn State lead to 3-2.
Penn State countered with a dagger courtesy of Wall’s second of the night, cutting the top of the crease and tucking it home easily at 13:18 making it a 4-2 game.
Wall wasn’t finished just yet though.
On a penalty shot, Wall buried the biscuit to complete the hat-trick, giving PSU a 5-2 lead with 2:32 remaining.
“Wallsy did a lot of really, really good smart team things, especially in the third period,” Gadowsky said.
Then for good measure, Paquette hit the empty net for goal No. 6, which led to the final score of 6-2.
Soulière registered 33 saves on 35 shots faced and Wall had an impressive weekend with five goals.
Penn State will travel to Nashville next Saturday to take on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Bridgestone Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Christopher Hess is a fifth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.