Nittany Lions Down the Sooners

Story posted February 16, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Pat White

The Penn State Nittany Lions put up four unanswered goals after trailing in the first period and defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 4-1 in an exhibition game at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky described the game as choppy, as neither team was able to establish any sort of energy or flow through the first two periods.

“There were 30 faceoffs in the first period and nothing got going,” Gadowsky said. “We’re trying to play four lines and guys didn’t get into a rhythm, get into a flow.”

Oklahoma, however, would strike first in the opening period when Augle Hoffmann rifled a pass from the left corner to the far post where Jordan Greenberg tapped the puck past PJ Musico.

Longo would tie the game at 1 on a wrist shot in the slot that beat Oklahoma goaltender Colin Fernandes high to the glove side. The senior, playing in his last two home games as a Penn State hockey player, was happy to score in one of his final games.

“It’s always fun scoring, but it’s even more special now that it’s coming down to the last two games,” Longo said.

Longo admitted that the win feels a little bit more special for him and the other former club players to play against a team they faced in nationals last year at the ACHA level.

“For us club guys, when we come back and play these [ACHA] games we get more fired up because we’ve played them before,” he said. “There’s a little bit of a rivalry there, especially knocking them out of nationals last year.”

Just five minutes later, Mark Yanis gave Penn State the lead, which they would never relinquish.

Yanis cut down from the left point and received a pass from Justin Kirchhevel in the slot. The Grosse Pointe Woods native unleashed a snap shot that beat Fernandes to the glove side.

Kenny Brooks extended the lead to 3-1 when he put the puck on net from the left goal line that snuck by Fernandes and Taylor Holstrom capped the scoring for the Nittany Lions on the power play, weaving into the zone and firing a laser high to Fernandes’ stick side.

Penn State dressed four defensemen for the second straight game due to injuries on the backline. Gadowsky credited his defense for playing every other shift and staying strong despite being shorthanded. He highlighted Yanis’ play for continuing to make plays whenever out on the ice.

“He scored a big time goal and had a presence out there,” said Gadowsky. “He’s been vocal and really showing a lot of leadership for a young guy…He seems able to make plays and make offense happen consistently.”

Gadowsky made it clear that he expects his team to come out strong in tomorrow’s game in the last few games at Greenberg Ice Pavilion before moving to the Pegula Ice Arena next season. He also wants to prove that his team won’t get “lulled into not being excited to play.”

Longo echoed his coach, saying that he wants to finish his career at home with a win. He also looked long term at the direction Penn State hockey is going.

“It might be a little emotional,” Longo admitted. “It’s definitely a special moment, but for the program they’re moving forward especially with the new arena. It’s going to be awesome to come back in the future and see what’s going on.”

While the offense did their job, goaltender PJ Musico also held up his end of the bargain, stopping 31 of 32 shots. Gadowsky described his play as a calming factor when the team wasn’t playing very well.

“It was big for PJ [Musico],” Gadowsky said. “He has been sick and we weren’t sure who was going to start. I thought he had to be sharp in the first period, so I was looking to see how he would respond [after the goal]. It’s great to see him get back on the horse.”

Penn State will go for the weekend sweep as they take on Oklahoma again tomorrow at 3:30 in the final game ever at Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

Pat White is a senior majoring in print journalism. To contact him, e-mail pmw5072@psu.edu.