The Penn State men’s hockey team played their last games at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion and the women’s team started a four game road trip to finish off their season this past Friday and Saturday. The men faced off in an exhibition series against Oklahoma and beat the Sooners 4-1 and 3-0 in their games while the women matched up against RIT for their second series this season and lost both games by scores of 3-1 and 4-0.
Friday night’s game for the men’s team saw them go down 1-0 very late in the first period. With 51 seconds left in the frame, OU took the lead off of forward Jordan Greenberg to head into the first intermission. However, Penn State would storm back to score four unanswered goals by four different Nittany Lions. Michael Longo started off the scoring for Penn State just over the halfway point in the game. Mark Yanis and Kenny Brooks both added even strength goals and Taylor Holstrom netted a power play tally to secure the 4-1 win for the Nittany Lions. PJ Musico got the start in goal for Penn State and saved 31 of 32 shots. Penn State also dominated in the shot count as well, putting up 41 shots on OU goalie Colin Fernandes.
In the last game at the Greenberg for the team, the men shutout Oklahoma and scored three third period goals in front of a sold out crowd. Both teams went scoreless in the first two periods but Penn State lit the lamp three times in the third frame, twice with a man advantage. Curtis Loik started off the scoring 3:24 into the period with an even strength goal. The next two would come 14 seconds apart on a five minute major power play by Kenny Brooks and Michael Longo, both goals were their second goals of the weekend. Matthew Skoff stood tall in net and saved all 26 Sooners shots, to which the Nittany Lions had 51. Both wins came in an exhibition series and do not count in the official standings so Penn State still sits at 12-13-0 overall for the season.
Over in Rochester, New York, the women’s team faced off against RIT for the third time this season on Friday night. RIT scored three unanswered goals on the Nittany Lions, one in each period and each one coming about seven minutes into each frame. However, Penn State would break the shutout off a power play goal by Taylor Gross, her fifth of the year. That would be the Nittany Lions’ lone goal on RIT netminder Laura Chamberlain as the Tigers would hold their lead for the rest of the game. RIT outshot Penn State 45-22 in the game and PSU goalie Nicole Paniccia saved 42 of the Tigers 45 shots on the night in the loss.
In Saturday night’s game, Penn State could not avoid the shutout and dropped their third game to RIT this season in a 4-0 loss. Four different Tiger players scored, three in the second period alone, and all on even strength. Nicole Paniccia was back in net for the Nittany Lions and stopped 41 of 45 Tiger shots for the game. Penn State only had 20 shots on goal for the entire game and overall went -20 combined. The third period was the Nittany Lions best period, actually outshooting RIT 11-10. The two weekend losses put the Nittany Lions record at 7-22-2 overall heading into the last two games of the season.
Both teams are now heading into the last two games of the regular season this upcoming weekend. The men will finish up their season away against known hockey powerhouse Wisconsin, who are 13-10-7 this season. Game one on Sunday will be played at 8:00 p.m. and game two on Monday will be played at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised on the Big Ten Network. The women will play two conference games against Robert Morris, another rematch series from when the two teams played at home in October. Those games are also away, in Neville Island, Pa., and the puck drops Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The women will then head into the CHA playoff series, which starts in the beginning of March. Stick with me next week as I recap the men’s team for the last time this season and the last women’s regular season games. I’ll also recap the women’s playoff journey as well, for however long they are in it. Make sure to check me out on Twitter as well!