Eamon McAdam got his first home start in goal this season as Penn State lost a close 3-2 game to UMass Lowell as the River Hawks completed the two-game series sweep on Friday night. Redshirt sophomore Eric Scheid and freshman David Goodwin both scored for the Nittany Lions in the loss at Pegula.
UMass Lowell got off to another quick start in the second game of two, taking the early 1-0 lead 4:26 into the game. McAdam made two good saves but a scramble in front of the net caused him to get out of position in the crease where River Hawk center Joe Gambardella was able to bang home the puck for the score. Five minutes later, Penn State was awarded their first power play of the game on a UMass Lowell elbowing call.
On the power play, Luke Juha fired a puck from the left circle that was kicked around in front and off of Eric Scheid’s skate and into the net past UMass Lowell goalie Doug Carr to tie the game at one each. The tally at 10:25 in the first frame was Scheid’s fourth this season. However, it only took the River Hawks 53 seconds to take the lead back, as a big rebound off the back boards behind McAdam shot in front of the goal crease and was promptly stashed behind the goalie’s skate to make it 2-1.
The River Hawks gained their first power play of the night with 2:46 to go in the first after Mark Yanis went to the box for slashing, and UMass Lowell wasted no time on the man advantage. Less than a minute in, Adam Chapie took a juicy rebound off McAdam’s pads and wristed it stick side to make it 3-1 going into the first intermission. Despite the two goal lead for the River Hawks, the shots were almost even at the end of one – with UMass Lowell outshooting Penn State 13-12.
The intensity picked up in the second period, as did the quality chances for both teams. McAdam arguably made his best save of the period at 13:10 on the penalty kill after a Casey Bailey tripping penalty. On a one-timer shot from the left circle, McAdam slid over his right pad to stop the chance from getting through with a man down.
There was a slight delay for ten minutes after an errant shot nicked the glass right in front of the student section that caused the Pegula staff to come and replace the cracked panel.
Once the delay was over, Penn State picked up the pace and started to generate more chances, spending more time in the UMass Lowell zone and peppering Carr with shots for the team’s best period of the two game series. After two periods, the shots were still almost dead even, with Penn State trailing 29-30.
McAdam improved tremendously as the game went on, securing second chances and pushing rebounds away from River Hawk attackers. The teams went on a 4-on-4 near the beginning of the third period after Taylor Holstrom took a boarding call 4:17 into the frame then 46 seconds later, the River Hawks took an interference penalty to even the playing field. Nothing came of either man advantage, or the 4-on-4, as both teams tightened up defensively. With 7:43 left, UMass Lowell committed a rare turnover on a clearing attempt that David Goodwin snagged to deke a backhander past Carr to put the Lions within one. McAdam was pulled with less than a minute to go in the game to try to even the score. Though Penn State got its chances, the best within the last 13 seconds after UMass Lowell called a timeout, the Nittany Lions were unable to net the equalizer.
The close game carried over to the statistics, where Penn State was only outshot 44-37 and goalie Eamon McAdam saved 41 of those 44. Both teams went one for one on the power play in the first period. For the game, Penn State went one for two on the extra man advantage and UMass Lowell went one for five in 60 minutes.
The two losses this weekend bring the Nittany Lions record down to 3-5-1 through the first month of the season. Penn State will have a two- week break, coming back home to play Union at the end of the month on Saturday November 30 and Sunday December 1. Both games the weekend after Thanksgiving have a 7 p.m. start time in Pegula.