Lions Sweep AIC With Strong Play From Freshmen
Penn State (4-1-0) took on the Yellow Jackets of AIC (0-5-0) this weekend for a two-game series on its home ice at Pegula Ice Arena. In its first trip to Pegula, AIC was unable to block out the intensity as the Nittany Lions won both Friday and Saturday to complete the series sweep.
Friday night was all about the impressive freshman class of the Nittany Lions as they accounted for half of Penn State’s scoring.
On a night where the Nittany Lions broke their single-game scoring record in their history as a Division I program, freshman Chase Berger got the ball rolling early scoring just a few minutes into the first period.
The Nittany Lions were able to tack on two more goals in the period as Tommy Olczyck connected on a pass from Luke Juha and Berger netted his second of the period with less than three minutes to play.
Penn State kept up their high-speed offensive pace in the second period, scoring three more goals from Curtis Loik, Erik Autio and freshman Andrew Sturtz.
The Lions went up 7-0 on a goal 42 seconds into the third period as Kenny Brooks was set up nicely by his linemates Berger and Loik for the lines sixth goal of the game.
“They’re great! They’re really good to me. They give me a lot of confidence and allow me to make plays even though I’m a freshman,” Berger said of his linemates. He added that he and his linemates are very comfortable playing with each other already.
AIC was finally able to gain some momentum by scoring two goals in the first half of the third period. The first goal came off the stick of Lucas Bombardier and the second at the hands of captain Chris Porter.
Sturtz quickly turned the tables about a minute after AIC’s second goal with his second goal of the night.
Between Sturtz and Berger, the freshman accounted for half of PSU’s goal’s in their historical night.
“The production that they’ve been getting is a little surprising,” said Penn State Head Coach Guy Gadowsky. Coach Gadowsky added that he was very impressed with the play of the freshman.
Penn State goalie Matthew Skoff gave up one more goal towards the end of the third period to Johno May, but held up nicely in between the pipes for Penn State stopping 22 of 25 shots that came in his direction.
The AIC goaltenders didn’t fare as well as starter Alex Murray gave up five goals on 30 shots and was pulled halfway through for Jacob Caffrey, who gave up three goals on 27 shots to finish out the game.
The explosive offensive play throughout the game was more than enough for Penn State to take the first game of the series 8-3.
Saturday afternoon was a little bit of a different dynamic. Penn State scored seven unanswered goals to start of Friday’s game, but AIC struck first in game two going up against a Lions team who decided to go with Eamon McAdam as their netminder.
Jackson Dudley opened the scoring just two minutes in for AIC and Travis Douglas added to the lead three minutes later on the power play.
The AIC lead was short lived as Penn State quickly answered with three goals to finish off the first period.
Dylan Richard connected with a power play goal of his own to cut the AIC lead to one goal.
Eric Scheid, returning from a lower-body injury, struck next with his first goal of the season after deking his way to an impressive goal.
Berger netted his third of the series in the final seconds of the first to give Penn State their first lead of the game.
The only goal of the second period was a top shelf beauty off the stick of Sturtz for his third of the series.
As AIC continued to battle, they cut the Penn State lead to just one with a key goal from Shawn McBride.
With the game close and AIC on their third power play on the night, Olczyk found himself on a one-on-one with goaltender Hunter Leisner for a short-handed goal.
With the Olczyk goal, Penn State finished the game with a 5-3 win and a 2-0 sweep of AIC.
“We got down 2-0 and we just got back to our game plan and things started to go in our favor,” Scheid said of Penn State’s turnaround.
The Lions will return to Pegula Ice Arena on Oct. 29 to take on St. Lawrence in another two-game weekend series. Be sure to tune in to ComRadio’s coverage for all the action.
Mike D’Avella is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.