Sload’s OT Goal Gives Penn State 3-2 Win Over Maryland on Senior Night
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Christian Sload had a huge senior night for No. 16 Penn State on Thursday, scoring the game winning goal in overtime against conference foe No. 17 Maryland.
It was Sload’s lone goal of the night, as the Nittany Lions downed the Terrapins, 3-2, in extra time. Sload was accompanied by Brandon Hackenberg and Kyle May, who each scored their first goal of the season.
Sload could have had the game-sealing goal in regulation, but with 33 minutes left tied 2-2, his shot from about five feet away from the net was successfully blocked by Niklas Neumann’s face.
“That chance I missed earlier in the second half, I knew I couldn’t let this one slip up,” Sload said. “I just knew I had to bury it.”
Maryland entered the game with the ninth-ranked defense in the nation. The Terrapins typically hold opponents to under one goal per game.
Maryland’s offense was firing on all cylinders right out of the gate, putting up two goals in the first 13 minutes of the game. The goal scorers for the Terrapins were Eli Crognale and Justin Gielen.
However, it was Penn State that dominated the rest of the way, scoring three unanswered to come back from a 2-0 deficit for the first time since 2008.
“So, we went down 2-0, but we felt like we were playing better than them,” Hackenberg said. “We had more chances, and like we gave up on their first two chances, so you’ve got to tip the hat to them for converting them. We knew we were playing well. It was just a matter of execution, and we got into their penalty box and put the ball in the back of the net.”
Penn State defeated Maryland, the defending national champion, for the first time since 2005. The win was especially sweet for the upperclassmen, who were part of the team last year that lost to Maryland 3-2 in double overtime.
This was an important game with Big Ten Tournament seeding implications on the line. The winner of this game would have a one-game advantage in the Big Ten and would be the current second-ranked team in the conference.
The Nittany Lions are currently playing at an elite level, going 4-0-1 through their last five games and looking to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament in hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
“I think what they showed you tonight is their belief in each other and what we’re trying to achieve as a team,” head coach Jeff Cook said. “I think the ability to come from behind and win the game against a marquee opponent, a program that has multiple national championships under their belt, proves to us that we can compete at this level.”