Nittany Lions Ruffle Up Purple Eagles’ Feathers, Dominate In 8-2 Victory
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Host Penn State (3-0 , 0-0) opened a two-game set
with the Niagara Purple Eagles (1-2 , 0-0) with a convincing 8-2 victory at
Pegula Ice Arena.
While the Nittany Lions would ultimately win in convincing fashion, it did not
appear that way at the start. On the second shot of the contest, Niagara
forward Reed Robinson would score off a rebound from a shot by defenseman
Niko Kovachis. Penn State netminder Chris Funkey stopped Kovachis’ shot
with a pad save, which would leave an open goal for Robinson for an easy tap
in at the 1:09 mark. Robinson’s goal was his first of the season, and he was
also assisted by forward Dylan Mills.
Penn State came out methodically, but after Robinson’s goal, a new sense of
urgency emerged from the squad. At the 12:28 in the first, right wing Brandon Biro
capitalized on a turnover in the neutral zone by Niagara, skating up the left
side of the ice and ultimately dumping off the puck in the middle of the
offensive zone for center Ludvig Larsson. Larsson finished top shelf for
his first goal of the season, tying the game up at one a piece.
The fireworks would only continue from there, with Penn State totaling 63
shots on the night and forcing Niagara goaltender Joe O’Brien to make 55 saves in
“Penn State hockey is about high-volume shots, we’ve seen the results
these past couple of years, so why change it?” center Evan Barratt said.
Penn State scored seven more goals in the contest, with its third line
being the most productive, and head coach Guy Gadowsky was quick to point out
their success. Liam Folkes’ line was “excellent, did a great job of carrying the
puck [and is] a high producing line” Gadowsky said.
Penn State would go into the second period up 2-1 after a goal by Chase
Berger, his second of the year. At the 1:42 mark, Gadowksy’s appraised third
line quickly showcased its talent, with left winger Alex Limoges chipping in his
second goal of the season off a few deflections in front of the net. Limoges was
assisted on the play by defenseman Paul DeNaples and right winger Liam
Less than three minutes later, the third line would strike again, with Barratt
finishing off a rush up the right side by Folkes. Folkes would be unable to
complete the play, but instead dished off to left winger Limoges, who would found Barratt for his first goal of the season at 4:31, giving Penn State a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Perhaps the most intriguing play of the night came in the second period at the
8:04 mark, when left winger Nate Sucese pursued a loose puck in the Niagara
defensive zone. Niagara goaltender Joe O’Brien pursued the puck, and instead
of packing off, Sucese continued his pursuit, checking O’Brien and ultimately
drawing a minor penalty for charging. While this play is uncommon, what
would soon transpire between the two teams was unprecedented. A skirmish
would nearly turn into a full out brawl, and three Penn State players would
serve two-minute minor roughing penalties -- two on Sucese, one of which was
served by Adam Pilewicz, and defenseman James Gobertz -- while defenseman
Chris Harpur and center Nick Farmer would do the same.
Penn State would continue its scoring with goals by the likes of defenseman
Alex Stevens, Liam Folkes and Ludvig Larsson, but the most notable of the
remaining goals came off the stick of Adam Pilewicz, a defenseman taking the
role of defenseman.
Pilewicz’s goal was the first of his career, and it was “a great goal for his first one,” Gadowsky said. Pilewicz took the puck up
the left side on a breakaway, scoring on a wrister over the head of O’Brien.
What would turn into a chippy and physical game would ultimately play to the
strengths of the more athletic and fast Penn State hockey club. Coach Guy
Gadowsky’s club got out into the open ice and converted frequently, even
though they were only one of six on powerplays.
“I thought we had a lot of great looks," Gadowsky said, not seeming concerned with his
powerplay unit in the least, especially given his teams’ offensive showing.
Penn State and Niagara will meet again tomorrow at Pegula Ice Arena for a
3:30 p.m. start, finishing off this two-game series.
Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact
him, email email@example.com.