Penn State Completes Sweep of Oklahoma

Story posted February 16, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Ryan Ruff

As Penn State’s time at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion came to a close, Penn State (12-13) stood strong on their “senior night”. After scoring four unanswered goals last night to beat Oklahoma, they opened tonight’s game looking for a repeat performance.

After an aggressive open to the first period by the Penn State, Oklahoma was forced to back-skate and dump the puck down into the Lion’s zone, granting them numerous icing calls. Curtis Loik, David Glen, and Kenny Brooks were able to win several key battles along the boards.

Winning the fights along the walls became routine for the Lions, which led to several scoring chances. However, there was a glimmer of hope for the Sooners to get on the board when Jordan Greenburg sprung free on a breakaway.

Greenburg was pressured into working to his backhand by the hot pursuit of Nittany Lion defender Mark Yanis. Fortunately for Penn State, Matthew Skoff was able to slide over and deny Greenburg the goal.

Shortly after, Taylor Holstrom was denied another great scoring opportunity as Oklahoma net-minder Colin Fernandes made a sprawling save. Holstrom’s shot came from point-blank range and proved to be the Lions greatest scoring opportunity throughout the period.

With the Lions carrying the momentum into the second period, Guy Gadowski’s players were primed to score the game’s first goal. The opportunity for the Lions came midway through the period when Michael McDonagh received a pass from George Saad on a 2-on-1 chance.

The pass made its way to the blade of McDonagh’s stick; however, the shot was ripped into the outside of the net.

As the period moved into its half way mark, Oklahoma finally came alive. The Nittany Lions were able to outshoot the Sooners 20-9 in the first period.

However, with 15 minutes remaining in the second period, the Sooners were granted a power play from interference by Mark Yanis. Oklahoma was able to generate four quality shots on Skoff, as well as a significant scoring chance. Skoff was able to shift across the crease on a sneak attack from the Sooners and deny the puck from entering the net.

Entering the third period the Sooners were on the power play from a Rich O’Brien penalty. Nevertheless, the Lions killed the penalty with ease and re-established the momentum.

During even strength, the Lions were continuing the pressure in their offensive zone. Yet another scoring chance was created from the failure of the Sooners to exit their own zone.

Curtis Loik carried the puck into the high slot and fired the puck past three Oklahoma defensemen and Fernandes. Similar to Friday night’s game, the first Lions goal fueled the ensuing period.

At the half way point of the final period, Sooner Nic Power slammed Peter Sweetland into the boards and was called for boarding. Instead of a two minute minor, the Lions were granted a five minute power play.

With hopes to extend their lead by two, the Lions worked the puck throughout their offensive zone and found Kenny Brooks on the backdoor. Brooks’ rising rocket sailed past Fernandes’s mask and into the twine.

On the continuous power play from the Sooner major, Gadowski’s power-play scheme set up another goal. Following a shot from the point by Conner Varley, Michael Longo stood tall in the crease, slamming the puck between the legs of Fernandes. This was the last goal scored by the Lions and eventually led to their win.

Regarding the departure from Greenberg Ice Pavilion, Penn State’s head coach won’t forget the time his team spent in what is now it’s former home.

“The fans and the energy they have created here,” said Gadowski. “That’s the stuff I’ll remember. I am so excited to be in the new Pegula Arena. “

The Nittany Lions will head off to Madison, WI to face the Badgers next weekend. The Lions will fight for the weekend sweep of the exhibition series and look to close out their first division one season against Wisconsin.

Ryan Ruff is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact him, e-mail rpr5069@psu.edu.