Penn State takes Game 1 against Arizona State
Friday night the Penn State men’s hockey team defeated the Sun Devils of Arizona State 8-3, in the first game of a two-game exhibition series at Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
Coming into the game, the Nittany Lions held a favorable record versus the Sun Devils holding a 13-1 record in 14 contests during the team’s stent competing in the American Collegiate Club Association. While Arizona State (18-0-0) has remained a club team competing in the ACHA and Penn State (6-5-0) has moved on to bigger things, the trend has remained the same in the contests between the two.
The Nittany Lions maintained puck control for much of the first period, but at about the mid-point of the period the Sun Devils fore-check gave the team some much needed momentum. After a defensive lapse for the Nittany Lions the first goal of the game came on a wrist shot from Arizona State forward Dan Styrna. The Sun Devils maintained heavy pressure, until a crosschecking penalty at the end of the period would bring new life to the Nittany Lions.
Penn State capitalized on the power play opportunity when a streaking Luke Juha received an across-ice pass from teammate Michael McDonagh for the equalizer. Juha’s goal knotted the game at one goal apiece with just over a minute remaining in the period. While the Lions had tied the game, the feeling heading into the locker room for the first intermission was one Nittany Lion forward Michael Longo described as a bit of a wake-up call.
“I think it was definitely a wake-up call,” said Longo. “Right after we got back into the locker room, the captains called us in to say we aren’t playing our best and we need to do a lot better than we are doing now, refocus, get back to our systems, get back to the basics and play our game.”
Coming out of the locker room for the second period, the Nittany Lions had done just that. With just over two minutes gone in the second period, Penn State captain Tommy Olczyk capitalized on a loose rebound off a shot by fellow line mate Longo to give the Lions their first lead, 2-1. After the Olczyk goal, it didn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to extend their lead as freshmen Kenny Brooks and David Glen both scored even strength goals, making the score 4-1 with just over five minutes gone in the second period. From that point on, it seemed as if the Nittany Lions were in total control.
After a shaky start, Penn State began settling into a rhythm at both ends of the ice controlling the tempo and the puck for much of the game. The rest of the game would be highlighted by Nittany Lion freshman, Glen, striking for two more goals to give him a hat trick in the exhibition victory.
Penn State will wrap-up its two-game exhibition series with Arizona State Saturday evening in Greenberg Ice Pavilion with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m. EST. Glen stated after the game that he expects the Lions to be more successful as they now know what to expect from their opponent.
“We kind of know what to expect,” said Glen. “Coming into this game we really didn’t know what was coming and I think that now we know we really have to work hard and focus on our own game. Take care of our own game before we focus on the opponent. I think if we come out hard and produce the same amount of shots I think that we will be successful.”
Sean Flanery is a senior majoring broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.