Icers Win in First Game of Series against Mercyhurst

Story posted February 10, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Pat White

The top ranked Icers (24-3-1) extended their winning streak to 10 games after defeating the Mercyhurst Lakers (19-8-3) 7-1 on Friday at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

The Icers started out strong, putting 12 shots on Mercyhurst goaltender Bryan Danczak in the first 10 minutes of the game. Mercyhurst would not register a single shot until the 12:00 mark in the first period.

However, the Lakers struck first after Doug Stanton scored on a shorthanded breakaway early in the first period. Stanton snapped a wrist shot through the five hole of Icers goalie P.J. Musico.

Penn State head coach Guy Gadowski said he was not concerned about the Mercyhurst goal and was confident his team would respond.

"We were changing quickly and playing really well," said Gadowski. "And then we gave up that goal, but I didn't feel like, 'Oh no.' Responding so quickly, I think that gave everybody a calming feeling."

The Icers would indeed answer back just 34 seconds later when Icers forward George Saad corralled a rebound in front of Danczak on a power play for the goal.

The Icers' physical play allowed them to dictate the tempo in the second period. Defenseman Brandon Russo said controlling the tempo is an important part of the team's gameplan.

"We're going to beat them with our tempo," Russo said. "The quickness of our transitions, the quickness of us getting up the ice, the quickness of our passing, our shooting: tempo is a big part of our game."

Soon enough, Brian Dolan found space at the top of the right circle and blasted his second goal of the season on a slap shot. That goal at the 3:53 mark gave the Icers a 2-1 lead, and they would never look back.

Paul Daley and Jacob Friedman added goals in a period which saw the Icers pepper Danczak with 34 shots. Friedman's sixth goal of the season was his first since Dec. 3.

"It felt good to get the monkey off the back," Friedman said. "I've been working hard. Through my experiences, if you keep working hard, something's got to go in sooner or later."

 Gadowski said he has been encouraged by Friedman's work in practice.

"The thing about it is, if you watch our practices, I think he’s consistently one of our hardest workers,” Gadowski said of Friedman. “He actually scores as much at practice as anybody. Hopefully this opens the flood gates a little bit.”

The third period would see a continuation of the Icers' domination. Nate Jensen tallied his fifth goal of the year on a Tommy Olczyk pass. It was particularly significant for Jensen, who played for Mercyhurst just last season.

Mike McDonagh scored his ninth of the season while playing on a line with Olczyk and Justin Kirchhevel for the first time.

"They make everyone look great," McDonagh said. "They are two fantastic players. Whoever's out there with them is going to be able to do some special things. They make it really easy."

 The Icers scoring explosion ended just the way that it started when Saad scored his second of the game to end the game 7-1.

Saad would eventually add his second goal of the game to give the Icers a 7-1 lead, which would end up as the final score.

The win also marked the return of forward Bryce Johnson to the lineup from an upper body injury. Russo said Johnson is an important part of the team.

"It was great to have him back out there," Russo said. "He adds more firepower to our team. He's an all around player who helps the team in every way."

P.J. Musico had  a solid game for the Icers, stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced. He limited Mercyhurst's opportunities by controlling his rebounds well.

The win extended the Icers' home winning streak to 16 games. They finished their series with Mercyhurst on Saturday afternoon.

Pat White is a junior majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email pmw5072@psu.edu.